Becoming a musician - how does it happen?
"For any musician passion is essential.
The passion to communicate emotion
and the human spirit through music."
I started playing the harp in 1985, just before the birth of my first child. We were living in Gore, a small agricultural town in the South Island of New Zealand famous for its ram/trout statues & country music festival. My used Webby harp arrived in a huge wooden case while we were still living in a motel (newly immigrated). I struggled to fit the curve of the soundbox with the curve of my abdomen and now, thinking of my son, can always remember how long I've been playing the harp.
Harp became my alter-ego, my balance to being a full-time mom with 2 kids 15 months apart. I persisted and played my first gig….. with the local hearing impaired group! We moved to Dunedin, a small city on New Zealand's southeast coast noted for its Robbie Burns celebrations and pipe bands. Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh and is the Celtic capital of NZ. I was soon active in the local New Edinburgh Folk Club and performed with various groups including Blarney Rose dubbed the "Irish Light Orchestra of the South".
I expanded my harp family in 1993 when I travelled to Australia to build a 36-string Paraguayan Harp in a workshop with Andy Rigby. Immediately following was the First Australian Harp Festival where, after stringing my harp for the first time with the help of Alfredo Rolando Ortiz I scarcely left the workshop rooms for meals.
In 1996 I won a Creative New Zealand award to attend the International Folk Harp conference in Olympia, Washington. Following this was a tour of the South Island with soprano Ana Goode, including a resonant performance in a winery cave! In 1997 our family re-emigrated to Canada with two boxed harps in cargo and my newly pressed tribute CD entitled Harping On.
My love is for multi-cultural music and rhythm and my compositions, arrangements, recordings and performances reflect that. I count myself lucky to have received extensive training on the piano when I was young and still had memory and quick comprehension! I draw on that training plus almost 30 years of experience playing the harp when mentoring others on this wonderful instrument.
Our family first settled in Sidney in 1998 and then moved to nearby B.C.'s capital city, Victoria, in 2003. During that time I produced two additional CDs (Apasionada in 2000 and Island Suite in 2003). In 2015 I moved to the semi-rural community of Cedar, near the Duke Point ferry to the BC mainland. I continue to perform, teach and sell harps albeit in a more relaxed fashion!
More teaching, more community work, retailing harps through West Coast Harps and maintaining a large repertoire on harp, hammered dulcimer and accordion ...with dabbling on piano when available.
I regularly teach community centre group classes for adults with harp lessons on their "bucket lists," With Ptarmigan Music and Theatre Society I present music workshops and sessions for schools and seniors.
For the past 5 years I've volunteered once a week playing harp at the Victoria hospice. I was recently interviewed by Shaw TV (3:18 minute clip with lots of harp music)
Banquo Folk Ensemble is my recreational music. Our quintet performs music from medieval to modern times on over 30 eclectic instruments. My instruments of choice are harp, hammered dulcimer and accordion: add to that small & uilleann pipes, recorders, cittern, violin, percussion, vocals and much more....