Following the last presentation of the afternoon in North Idaho College’s Rehearsal Room, we moved over to the wonderful Schuler Performing Arts Center to prep for the main concert. I must say, this is the nicest auditorium we’ve yet been in, and never have I been so impressed by the technical staff. Just superlative on every level throughout the evening.
And what an evening!
The empty stage and auditorium just before the doors open…
(the large black-draped mound is Jeff Titus’ secret rig)
First out to the soon-to-be-rapt audience was yours truly, with my “The Entire 250-Year World History of the Harp Guitar boiled down to 10 minutes” pre-show. I then introduced this year’s hosts:
Anthony (Tone) and Dave Powell, who would emcee the rest of the evening
First up was their friend from Spokane, radio host Leon Atkinson, with his new Tonedevil nylon-string harp guitar. Leon did a classical instrumental piece, then a jazz standard with vocal. He does it all!
All the way from Florida, Steampunk Stace (the artist formerly known as Stacy Hobbs) does his thing on his vintage Dyer.
This year, we featured Dan (Pease) & Bets (Swarts) in our “Harp Guitar as Second Fiddle” presentation and later let the irrepressible Dan and his love entertain the masses. There was much laughing- and clapping-along.
Speaking of “vintage Dyers” and “irrepressible,” Andy Wahlberg got another standing ovation for his harp guitar (and personality) pyrotechnics
Only one man can follow Andy, and that’s the master, Stephen Bennett (playing his Kathy Wingert harp guitar)
Jeff Titus lives in his own wonderful world of Fred Carlson harp-sympitars. He first played “Oracle”…
…and then the Gathering debut of “Taproot,” with hammered sympitar strings and MIDI-triggered percussion. A study in dedicated creativity.
Jeff then introduced his friend from northern California – some brand new harp guitarist named…Alex de Grassi?! The two first riffed on Alex’s “Paint it Black” in 7/4 time.
Yes, Alex has “drunk the Kool-Aid,” attending his first Harp Guitar Gathering with his his Holloway Style 8 harp guitar to debut two impressive brand new harp guitar pieces written specifically for the event. Can’t wait for him to record these!
Claude Laflamme from Quebec is always a treat, and this year was one of the few playing a harp guitar with super-trebles.
Another treat, Pete Bradshaw flawlessly performed a new classical repertoire piece on his steel-string Wingert harp guitar
Next, our special featured player Jon Mendle from San Francisco performed a wide variety of classical guitar and lute repertoire on his Alan Perlman arch guitar, with his exquisite playing inspiring another standing ovation.
A couple of last rousing harp guitar, mandolin and fiddle tunes with the Powells and friend Arvid Lundin, then it was time for:
The traditional Grand Finale!
I count 33 players onstage, but I know there were a couple more hiding somewhere…
Note that a few of the folks didn’t have a harp guitar with them (some don’t own or play one yet) – but there are plenty to borrow. So all you harp guitar players and hopefuls out there – come to a Gathering and join us onstage!
Photos by Linda Morgan (more to come!)
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