Over the years, many of us have attended various harp fests, all US based, at various times since 2003. Don Peddle suggested we should have one in Canada, in Ottawa specifically, and should call it the Northern Lights Harp Fest. With a volunteer committee struck, a chairperson appointed and lots of hard work, the first NLHF was held in Ottawa at the Residence Inn in October 2009.
With one year of experience behind the committee, plans were made for another fest in 2011. The search for a larger venue brought the NLHF to the Delta Inn in downtown Ottawa. With the resulting success from that event, the committee began to make plans for 2013. The Travelodge at Carling and Kirkwood in Ottawa had proven to be an excellent venue with larger concert, vendor and workshop rooms, free parking, and a very reasonable room rate. Our 2015 event stumbled a bit when the Travelodge cancelled their contract 5 months before the event but our luck stayed and we were able to secure the NavCentre in Cornwall and it was a roaring success!! Here we are today planning for 2017!
The committee has gone through some changes recently with the departure of Don Peddle and Margaret Lepage. Kathleen Parker, a local musician eagerly accepted an invitation to join us. We are as ever a cohesive, hard-working team who takes their various tasks seriously, but are determined to have fun at the same time. To you, the participant, we extend an opportunity to grow, learn, connect and network with other fellow harpers.
"Together we learn, together we play, together we make the world a brighter place for each other and our audiences, however small."
Set your sights on the 2017 Northern Lights Harp Fest and join in the fun.
Your committee awaits you!
Please note: The NLHF is a not-for-profit event and is supported solely by fees from registration, vendors, advertising, and sponsors. The committee members are all non-paid volunteers.
Sharon BairdSharon bought her first harp in 2007 after watching a Youtube clip – she managed to track down the song, but then had to buy a harp to play it. Since then she has purchased numerous additional instruments after watching Youtube clips and has finally come to the realization that Youtube is a pricey way to spend spare time!
Since retiring from IBM Canada in 2009, she has become very busy in the musical realm. She in an in-house volunteer for the Kemptville hospice, and plays her harp weekly at an Ottawa hospice. She is the pianist at a local church, and leads a ukulele choir in the choir loft. Sharon plays her harp in the Tartan and Tea ensemble with a flautist and is a busy member and librarian of the Village Voices Women’s Choir based in Vernon.
Sharon joined the NLHF committee for the 2015 edition, and is trying her best to fill Don Peddle's shoes with just some of the tasks that he used to run with.
Joanne’s favourite story about how she got introduced to the world of harps can be summed up with: "Well, the banjo was too expensive!" (She’ll share the details of this story if you ask her.) The joke turned out to be on her – having now accumulated 9 harps, she's discovered that the banjo wasn’t that expensive after all! With her husband ensuring that for every new harp that comes into the house, a new hobby vehicle gets parked in the laneway, both Joanne and Don find lots of ways to occupy their spare time.
Joanne is an active harpist in the Ottawa area, working as a teacher, arranger and freelance performer. With her friend Heather Flinn she performs as the Zephyr Harp Duo. Other performance groups with whom she plays and sings are Pavanna (harp and recorder) and the Celtic Friends Trio. She also co-ordinates the Ottawa Harp Circles, open to harpists of all ages and abilities.
Joanne is delighted to be on the NLHF committee for the 2015 edition. She is determined to have as much fun as possible while learning as much as she can from the internationally renowned artists who have agreed to be this year’s presenters. Let the fun begin!
Chantal started to play the harp in 1998 as a personal challenge all triggered by a badly tuned harp in a local store and a husband saying "come on you can play it, nobody ever makes a bad sound on a harp"... The rest is history. She played with Lyra Angelica from 1999 to 2009 and is now playing various events as background music. Chantal works full time as an IT Security Analyst, is a new member of the Canadian Showtime Chorus (International caliber barbershop singing group) and runs the "Fleur de Lyre Music" Online store harp sheet music. Her role with the committee is everything computer related!!
As a geek, she can be a bit distracted and scattered but the committee keeps her in line and they are very patient with her wild ideas!
Kathleen ParkerKathleen is the newest member to the NLHF roster.
Kim ReynoldsKim always wanted to play three instruments - the piano, the harp and the cello. The piano came early, the harp much later and well, she loves the harp so much, the cello may just never get its shot. Kim works as a museum education professional. She first got her hands on a harp while working at Fort Henry in Kingston. One day her boss brought a friend's lap harp to work; she surreptitiously gleefully kidnapped it for the summer. She attended the first NLHF with her first harp, a lovely walnut lap harp. By the time NLHF 2011 came around, she attended with her second harp, a 36-string Riversong she named "Belle" for its ring. She is thrilled and excited to be helping with the 2017 edition of the NLHF and wondering if she'll ever go to a harpfest with the same harp twice!