As we were driving home from Harp Retreat 2018, very tired, but very happy and full of music, my teenage son said "Mum, the teens want to do harp retreat EVERY year, not just every other year".... I quickly came up with every reason why this wouldn't work ... the main one being .... "the novelty will wear off and they won't want to come every year" .... his answer to that was "...bring in an international teacher"
Yes. Brilliant! I had been looking for an excuse to bring in some of the amazing teachers that I had seen in action - here was the opportunity.
So... our first international teacher is Maeve Gilchrist https://www.maevegilchristmusic.com - a truly inspirational teacher and harpist. Tune in to her Harp Talk concert windows lessons and receive her newletters to keep up with all the exciting things Maeve does around the globe. And - she has the warmest, most lovely personality - we are in for an amazing weekend!
The Harp Retreat is a fun and somewhat intensive musical weekend based at the Port Waikato School Camp. It's beautifully remote and bushy - it's not flashy, but it suited us as a mixed group of 60 kids and adults, families, singles and couples!
The weekend fee includes accommodation, food and tuition starting at 4pm Friday (we advise getting there is good time - in 2018 there were traffic issues and some poor peeps were arriving in the dark (and rain if I remember correctly!) so maybe plan to leave home early that afternoon) through to Sunday 2pm.
The harp based activities range from group lessons/workshops with Maeve, or with myself, in ability groups (beginners will be separately taught from the intermediate/advanced group), ensemble work, a chance to play other harps and plenty of opportunities to chat, meet new harp friends and catch up with old ones! Maeve will also give us a mini concert and a chance to ask her questions in an informal setting.
As well as the harp related activities there is plenty of space, and bush, and the kids had a great time last year toasting marshmallows on the BBQ, attempting to cook pop corn on the open fire, and the teens had commandeered a table for raucous card games. We had an awesome team of parents helping out in the kitchen and around the grounds in general (we couldn't do it without them) and lots of beautiful musical sounds drifting around between classes too!
Who attends?? No rules - we have had harpies aged 5-75, lads and lasses, harpies who had only a lesson or two under their fingers (who will say it was very challenging, but will sign up again!) and advanced harpers who love being involved in such a fun and friendly community. Everyone is welcome!
Please note - the 'mature' harpists often say they want to hear more of the talented young fry and request a concert from them - this doesn't happen at harp retreat as they are also 'on retreat' and not in 'that frame of mind' and ... there are other opportunities to hear them play through the year.