Celebration is worth the effort, but it does take effort. I've just
returned, rather exhausted, from two weeks of family celebrations. First
week: son's wedding at Mather Redwood Grove in Berkeley, CA. Second week:
nephew's wedding in Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington. Family
members visiting from as far away as Moscow, Russia. Other family members
recently back from Albania. Nostalgia. Overindulgence. Colliding egos.
Sticky considerations of protocol and succession. Priceless moments: the
little flower girl, my grand-daughter, conducting her own impromptu
blessing of the newlyweds. Important, essential social work. I had the
privilege of harping for both weddings; and both receptions had local
celtic combos! Fabulous.
Personal growth, too. I had the excellent fortune to meet, face-to-face,
with some fine folks whose first acquaintance was made on these listservs.
Time and circumstance prevented many other contacts, but we are not
dismayed; the time will yet come, and soon. I know, because everywhere I
go, I find the vision and spirit of harping for harmony is already there
and welcoming. So now I'm fishing for opportunities to travel and perform
more widely about my region (West Virginia) and across the country.
For several years now, I've been following the ebb and flow of discussions
on these two listservs. The topics may not seem to overlap, but they do,
in me and at least a few others I know. An occasion to write the same
message to both is rare; it occurred to me just once before. I write now
to celebrate celebration: the occasion when people with very real
differences come together to affirm their common ground. And celebration
calls for music: for laughter, for tears, for restful renewal, depending on
We have cause for celebration here at West Virginia University College of
Agriculture: the awarding of a big SARE grant called SYSTEMS OF TRANSITION
FROM CONVENTIONAL TO ORGANIC AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, to the tune of
$217,247 for three years. The whole story involves a really fine
collaboration between a couple of very dedicated faculty people and the
Mountain State Organic Growers and Buyers Association. (I'm not involved
except as cheerleader; I'm fully involved dividing my efforts between
part-time forage extension research and part-time harping for harmony.) I
want to tell this much to my SANET-MG friends to provide some background
for a POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT which I am posting separately to SANET-MG. I'm
looking forward to celebration of this organic research farm project as it
gets underway in the spring.
How do I make this message relevant to both harp and sustag lists? My
vision is expressed in the idea of harping for harmony. Music in the
service of peace and sustainable development. How, you ask. Well, I
believe that paradoxically, folks often avoid thinking about peace and
sustainable development because we face so much discouragement. Music,
especially harp music, has the power to encourage and lift up our spirits,
to stay positive in the face of dire circumstances. And thereby to
strengthen us to learn, and know, and communicate hopefully. Because there
ARE many hopeful signs, not the least of them being the fantastic
capability I have to communicate folks like you around the world.
Okay, so down to the point so I can go home for dinner. I'm looking for
gigs. I'm hoping to travel from West Virginia to San Francisco in October,
for a class reunion, but I need gigs to defray the cost. Can you help?
Assuming that I am able to make the trip, the kinds of gigs I want are
three kinds: 1) good LUCRATIVE gigs of any kind, like weddings, receptions,
parties, teaching workshops; 2) social mission gigs: collaborations with
local harpists to benefit a charity, whether local (domestic abuse shelter,
harps in the schools, jail ministry, etc.) or international (Belfast Harp
Orchestra, land mine removal, etc.); or 3) sustag related (farmers
associations, ag schools, consumer-supported ag projects). Once I get the
funding together, I can do mission-related freebie gigs anywhere that
Check the Harping for Harmony Foundation web site for more info:
1) Month of October, anywhere between West Virginia and San Francisco,
your good-paying gig will help make this trip possible.
2) Any other time soon: anywhere near West Virginia.
3) Any time: anywhere.
Okay, thanks for being there. Harp on. Verbally and/or musically,
according to your calling.
harper for harmony
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