November 29, 2007
Twelve years ago we started Harping for Harmony Foundation with a very grand vision - to promote harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music.
On the global level, my original idea was to support and encourage travel by harpists to war-torn areas. I have set the example, over the years, with travel to El Salvador, Haiti, Russia, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela. We also supported travel by former board member John Kovac to Cyprus. We also provided funding for Patrice Fisher's projects in Guatemala, and for Lis Joosten's project in Honduras. We helped Guatemalan carpenter Rigoberto Hernandez get a successful start making harps.
The Millennium Harper Awards project represents our record of local efforts. The idea was to recognize the pro-social efforts of local harpists in many places. Through this program we distributed many hundreds of small ceramic lapel pins, and we gave away 40 small harps.
We maintained weekly harp circles for several years at the Ronald McDonald House. More recently we have reduced our commitment to a monthly harp circle, at Church of the Brethren.
We sponsored Valentine's Day concerts two years in a row, but did not continue.
At a recent board meeting, we reached a consensus that we would should be more active in our own locality and region, beyond our harp circle gatherings. However, we have not acted in that direction.
Various factors and circumstances have led to a reduced level of activity in the past two or three years.
I have increased my involvement with Venezuela, where traditional harp music is very much alive.
In my absence, in 2006 and 2007, others have continued our traditional involvement in the Ireland Festival in March.
growing crisis in world peace since 2001 has made the prospect of international travel more difficult than ever, while arguably increasing the importance of "harping for harmony."
The decisions to be taken now involve whether and how to continue in our mission. In simple terms, we can redouble efforts, hold steady, or give up.
To continue our mission, I suggest the following activities:
1) schedule a Morgantown concert for early next year
2) re-launch the Millennium Harper Awards
3) launch a new campaign to recruit and sponsor a harpist who will travel to a war-torn area.
We can hold steady for another season, if we do not wish to undertake one or more of the suggested activities.