HGG14: Sunday Workshops, Recital and Wrap-up

After Saturday night’s concert, the party back at the hotel lasted well into the wee hours.  I don’t remember going to bed or getting up – I only remember inexplicably finding myself at the crack of dawn attempting to give a 90 minute workshop.

We had 4 workshops planned this year, but Stacy Hobbs had to bow out at the last minute – once again due to Florida hurricane activity and his required presence for his insurance company job.  See ya this October, pal!  Meanwhile, our own hurricane-level activities began with back-to-back classes by Andy Wahlberg and Claude Laflamme.  I overlapped these gentlemen in a second room.  Here we are, bright eyed and bushy tailed, dispensing obvious wisdom:

I have no idea the point I was making here

And rapt attendees:

OK, Schreiner’s napping…the rest are on pins and needles.

OK, you five have to tell us what Claude just did here!  I know…”you had to be there”…

While my group got killer hand-outs.  Look – even my wife’s learning something!

Meanwhile, in a third room, the morning open mic session unveiled new songs and music, first by Steve Farmer.

Among others were the Gooderham father and son team of John and Derek.  My dad was never quite this cool, nor could either of us have pulled off the shorts.

After those events, we opened up the walls for a well-attended slideshow, my “Year in Review.”  After 14 years, I’m finally getting some attention.  The respectful group sits politely…

…and watches as two grown adults try to operate a laptop.

After lunch out and about in the charming town of Milford, we convened back at the church for our Sunday afternoon concert.  We call it a “recital” as it is more casual and less structured, with many new and seasoned players asked to perform.  Besides last night’s features (shown last blog), we were treated to:

Ed Dowling, playing fingerstyle roots harp guitar on his Worland nylon-string arch-guitar.

Brad Hoyt on his Sedgwick AVC.

The solo debut of another performer and harp guitar: Tony Barnard from the U.K. and his new Sedgwick.

The always delightful Dan and Bets (or in this case, Bets and Dan).  He: vintage Dyer; Her: the octave violin “Fidzilla.”

Frank Doucette, now living in Vermont (we miss him), with Wingert HG#1

We were thrilled that Muriel Anderson (who had a Fri/Sat commitment) could join us for the day.  I love that our photographer, CHGP Chuck Thompson managed to catch her blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mid-song lever-flip.

Mark Farley made his concert debut playing John Doan’s “Farewell” on his all-nylon-string Woodley White harp guitar.  Congratulations on your beautiful performance, Mark!

Pete Bradshaw, master of modern steel-string classical harp guitar, a genre he essentially invented.

I love it when we include a spur-of-the-moment, unrehearsed duet.  This year, Stephen Bennett joined Kinloch Nelson in his wonderful “Oops, I played the 45 record at slow speed, but it’s cool!” arrangement of “Apache.”

Another magnificent grand finale!

The takeaway from all this?  It’s a weekend of musical and personal camaraderie, friendship and love.

And so:

You do not want to miss the Harp Guitar Gathering’s 15th Anniversary in Southern California.

Seriously.

We have epic plans in the works.

In fact, folks are starting to plan one and two week California vacations around it…

…with the whole family!

(we’re working on the pets part…)

I’d like to continue now with the close of HGG14, so I can emotionally move on (again, seriously!):

And so, we cleaned up after the concert (thanks for all who helped), sped back to the hotel and enjoyed our final banquet.  We didn’t get many photos of evening (we were all too pooped, hungry and thirsty!) – but again, much merriment and music ensued on the group’s final night.

(Above photos were all by Chuck Thompson, the following are all from Linda and/or Joe Morgan)

After Monday’s breakfast (with some attendees having disappeared during the night back to their humdrum lives), those long and painful goodbyes began and never seemed to end.  Here’s Steve & Vickie Farmer, Bob & Carol Hartman, Bets & Dan, Ed & Sally Dowling, with Linda Morgan in front.

After an even longer (and painful) Board Meeting (sadly, this Gathering and non-profit doesn’t run itself), the stragglers did various errands and ended up at the Bennett’s for some well-earned rest.

It was lovely end to the event just relaxing on their patio, overlooking Nancy’s marina.

She gave us a walking tour, but it was getting a little late for a boat tour.

Lovely at night, as well.

Tuesday morning, having said our farewells to Frank and Benoit, we had a final day for something special.  The Bennetts had offered to take us to see the new home they’re building near Litchfield, an hour or so north – seemingly in the middle of nowhere, or in this case, a little slice of heaven.

The exterior looks pretty nice from the back yard…

…yeah, and this is their back yard.
I know – it must suck to be them.

The inside is shaping up to be magnificent!

Arguing with Joe over who will get which room…

…Jaci apparently already picked hers.

We ended with a little surprise (and much delayed) birthday party for the youngster in the group, who last year reached a milestone with the rest of us (and no, I don’t mean Ozzie the dog).

The Bennetts, Morgans and Jaci & I – and a cast of thousands – will hopefully see you in October for another milestone!

  1. Steampunk Stace Says:

    Nice blog series G – been following it from the start! It was quite the challenge coming to grips with not making the past two gatherings after such a long run! Thanks for memorializing the EPIC FUN here! Always wanted to see California – (and will move there should they secede the Union), so until then amigo! Cheers and thanks for sharing! SPS

  2. Stephen Bennett Says:

    Good fun! But I’m really much younger than the photos of me seem to show. Really. Off to the store to look at hair dye now.

  3. Joe Morgan Says:

    I hope you bought enough dye to share with me and Gregg….

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