Harp Weekend, Rehearsals, and Socks, Oh My!

No, the space gypsies did not return me to my home planet – I’m still here, despite my long absence from my blog. I returned from an intense, inspiring and instructive four days at the Southeast Harp Weekend blown about by the edges of what was still Hurricane Sandy, and fell into three weeks of extra rehearsals and practice for the upcoming end-of-semester concerts.

The Harp Weekend ended up being totally perfect for where I am with my harp and what I want to learn. Not only were the instructors in my classes excellent players, they were also excellent teachers. I’m already using new ideas from Dee Sweeney’s Music From the Soul class when I play at the hospice unit, as well as Nadia Birkenstock’s approaches to learning a new piece of music. I’m experimenting with Kim Robertson’s Musical Sandwiches as segues between my arrangements of Christmas carols.

The outer bands of Hurricane Sandy arrived in Asheville on Sunday afternoon, bringing spitting rain and a temperature drop of 20 degrees within two hours. I drove home in wind gusts following a glowing column of rainbow light until the sun dropped behind the western mountains. We had two days of potent wind gusts at home but no serious rain, snow or damage.

I left Harp World and reentered normal time and space facing extra Consort rehearsals, harp ensemble repertoire still not up to tempo, and recorder ensemble repertoire not yet mastered. Three weeks later, the recorder ensemble repertoire is in pretty good shape – there are a couple of entrances that still throw me, but with two more rehearsals before our concert, I think I’ll be ok. The recorder pieces for Consort are in my fingers; it’s the harp piece that continues to prove that I cannot actually count to four.

The harp ensemble concert is next Monday, and my brain/eye/finger/two-hand coordination is maxed out several beats below our performance tempo. My friend and I have a secret pact to divide up the left and right hands for the two most challenging pieces, creating one whole harper between us. I’ll play a good bit of one-handed harp on the remaining tunes, with selected left-hand notes added in when there is no danger of my right hand crashing and burning.  Last year the prospect of one-handed harping created an engraved invitation for the Inner Critic to come calling. This year I remain grounded in gratitude to be playing what I can play, and that’s slammed the door in IC’s face.

Second Socks

Knitting socks is now my before-sleep decompression activity. My brain slowly winds down with the meditative repetition of looping one strand of yarn over another strand. I finished my second pair a couple of weeks ago, and started another sock that will be a Christmas present (so no pictures yet.) These socks are knit with self-striping yarn, so while they look complicated it was the yarn that did all the work.

I am looking forward to reducing my practice and rehearsal time so I can catch up on all the blogs I’ve not read, and all the comments I’ve not replied to. Alas, that probably won’t happen for another couple of weeks. And now I hear my harp and metronome calling, demanding that I get those descending passages of Angels We Have Heard On High lined up with the metronome’s 100 beats-per-minute clicking.

In case I don’t find my way back to the computer next week, I’d like to wish everyone a bountiful Thanksgiving Day. May we all enjoy sharing the gift of gratitude!

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11 thoughts on “Harp Weekend, Rehearsals, and Socks, Oh My!

  1. I’m so glad you’ve found so much peace with your playing and knitting. 🙂

    Your socks are gorgeous! I’m getting ready to post some pictures of everything I’ve been knitting lately. My sock loom has been busy! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, C.B.. I’d forgotten how much I love working with yarn. And I have new knitting friends as well. All thanks to your blog post. I’m looking forward to seeing your latest creations. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  2. Your SEHW experience sounds wonderful mi so hope i will be there next year. Would love to meet you.
    I really love your statement about being “grounded in gratitude” to be playing what you can. I shall use that too! I am at a stage in my learning where I am really enjoying it. It’s like I’ve turned a corner
    On the subject of socks I am going to get one of those looms. What type of self striping yarn do you buy?

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    1. We must definitely plan for Asheville next year! I would love to meet you, too.
      Gratitude got me through the harp ensemble concert last night in good form. There’s no room for self-criticism if I am focused on gratitude! More on that later.
      The yarn for the latest socks is Red Heart “Heart & Sole with Aloe” and the color is “Christmas”. My local AC Moore had it, along with the sock loom. Beware, you too could become a sock-knitting fanatic!
      I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Nanci!

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      1. And the same to you too Janet! Thanks for the info on the yarn…I guess I could be worse than a sock fanatic 🙂 Glad your concert went well..yea!!

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  3. I was in Ashville’s back yard last week, Janet … spent an afternoon exploring Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. On my way down the I-75 enroute to Fort Myers from Ontario, Canada (’til November 30th). Love your second socks. My loom is now out of the box and calling to me! Hope to make it a winter evening project. Congrats on finding exactly what you wanted at the Harp Weekend!

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