Local harpists offered a "Leap Day" concert at 7:30 PM on Friday, February 29, 2008, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Morgantown, WV. Among the performers were Howard Emerson, Cindy Lewellen, John Lozier, and the Almost Heaven Harp Circle. Only on leap day, according to dubious legend, a woman may make a proposal of marriage.
The concert benefits the mission of Harping For Harmony Foundation (HHF), to promote harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music. Tickets are $10 for adults, or two for $15, and free for children under 12.
Howard Emerson is best-known in Morgantown as a professional music practitioner on the staff at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Cindy Lewellen is a teacher of piano and harp, and music director at Morgantown Church of the Brethren. John Lozier, founder and Executive Director of Harping for Harmony Foundation, performs music from many lands, with special attention to harp music of Venezuela and Latin America in general. The Almost Heaven Harp Circle, made up of harpists of all ages and skill levels, meets monthly at the Church of the Brethren.
The harp, a most ancient instrument, exists in many forms and traditions. Three very different kinds of harps will be heard and seen at the February concert. Emerson performs on the traditional celtic wire-strung harp. Lozier will perform on a Venezuelan "arpa llanera." Lewellen and the Almost Heaven Harp Circle will feature the increasingly popular "neo-celtic" harp that is strung with nylon or gut strings.
Proceeds from the concert and other donations will support new and continuing programs of HHF. Formed in 1995 as a West Virginia charitable organization, HHF has undertaken various efforts in support of Peace, Childhood, Livelihood, Health, and Democracy, through live-musical services. Among current projects are the Millennium Harper Awards and a collaboration with Venezuela.
The Millennium Harper Award program, created in 2000, has given away 40 small harps since the millennium year. This award recognizes harpists around the world for their completion of a "worthy quest" involving live performance, local public service, and personal growth. In 2008, HHF plans to raise $2000 to cover the costs of as many as 10 Millennium Harper Awards.
In Venezuela, HHF has supplied two harps for young traditional musicians, in a continuing collaboration with a Venezuelan nonprofit organization. Directed by singer-songwriter Adolfo Cardozo, who is also professor of agriculture, the Venezuelan nonprofit is engaged in promotion of sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and ecotourism. In 2008, another harp will be purchased, and other services will be provided, through a grant of $1000 to Cardozo's organization.
Other projects of HHF since its formation in 1995 involve support for harp teacher Lis Joostens in Honduras; training and support for harpmaker Rigoberto Hernandez in Guatemala; and travel support for Patrice Fisher to Guatemala and for John Kovac to Cyprus. Recently, John Lozier has traveled with his harp several times to Venezuela, after earlier visits to El Salvador, Russia, Haiti, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, and Mexico. In Morgantown, HHF has been teaching aspiring harpers through workshops and through the Almost Heaven Harp Circle which was started in 2000. The harp circle meets at the Church of the Brethren at 7 PM on the third Thursday of each month. Newcomers are always welcome, and extra harps are always on hand.
More information: http://www.harpingforharmony.org
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