Tegucigalpa Harp School Cuarto Creciente

Tegucigalpa Harp School Cuarto Creciente, "New Moon": March 17, 2005

On March 17, 2005, The Harping for Harmony Board of Directors approved a project that will establish a harp school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The school will be known as Cuarto Creciente, "New Moon."

Lis Joosten, of Tegucigalpa, will receive $2000 in assistance, to establish the school, to obtain instruments and to promote harp building. Harps are not well known here, but Joosten's own harp has attracted wide attention. As a social worker and long-time resident, she has been working with a guitar-maker to produce a prototype for local manufacture. In this effort she has received encouragement from Patrice Fisher, who has established a similar project in neighboring Guatemala.

Other projects approved for 2005 are El Molino Harp School and Summer Braille Music Institute.

All funding is contingent upon donations.

(Following are excerpts from Lis Joosten's complete proposal)

Harp is not a well-known instrument in Honduras and cannot be studied at any music school. The national symphonic orchestra uses piano or guitar to fill the harp parts. I have been living for about ten years in Honduras, doing social work through local development projects and co/founded the artist organisation Arte Acción, which reaches out to youth and kids from excluded areas. Besides anthropologist, I am harpist, and have been performing playing Celtic, Latin and Classical harp with groups, orchestras and operas which has been very well received.

Often people ask me if I would give harp lessons, but the problem is the lack of instruments for them to practice on. So I contacted John Lozier of the Harping for Harmony Foundation, who provided me with the contact with Patrice Fisher. Patrice luckily had already planned a trip to Honduras to make an Ecos Latinos documentary of this beautiful and diverse country together with her husband, Carlos Valladares. We became friends immediately and her support and enthusiasm stimulated me to start a small harp school in Tegucigalpa the capital of Honduras. We visited a local guitar maker, don Jesús, with a copy of harp plans from Musicmakers and hardware from Blevins harps.

Don Jesús is really willing to try to build this harp and phones me every other day to come and look at his progress...it is very hard to build a harp with just a picture and some pieces of paper if you don't really know the instrument. My Aoyama Irish harp is rather different which confuses him even more. Today, he was almost putting the back part as soundboard and cut a soundboard of wood one inch thick. In the meantime, one message posted through internet has led to five students for the harp classes that I'll start in early March, with the help of ARTE ACCION our artist organization. Patrice Fisher donated a set of methods which will be very useful and provides me with a lot of tips.

The national music academy is also interested and has offered me a space to teach...I just need them to get the instruments to enable the students to practice, because the guitar maker is not going to be able to quickly produce high quality harps soon. But the start has been made and I hope to be able to report on real facts and progress in a couple of months.

The school will be called CUARTO CRECIENTE, referring to the first stage of the moon after new moon, which is the period in which ideas and dreams are realized or materialized. We hope to grow little by little, full the room and be able to play harp in a full circle soon.
Besides teaching I am thinking of starting a harp therapy programme for elderly people as well as for sick children. For that I would like to get access to a lap harp that is easy to transport and share with people of all ages and circumstances. (may be a cardboard Waring harp or a Sassafras harp)

In the meantime, all kind of help is welcome. We need harps (different sizes), strings, hardware, music stands, anything to be able to give Honduran musicians the opportunity to study and play harp.

General Objective: Promote harp music in Honduras though the Tegucigalpa harp school and facilitate access to affordable instruments for harp students in Honduras
Specific objectives: · Promote harp building in Honduras · Facilitate access to instruments (lease/buy) · Train at least 10 students · Start a harp therapy pilot programme
Target Group: I will start teaching to individuals that respond to the small promotion campaign (youth and adults). In second instance, as soon as I got at least 3 harps, I will be able to offer classes for kids in excluded areas, elderly, sick kids as well as provide services to the national music academy.

Contact Lis Joosten by email: arpalis@yahoo.com.