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From the Noticeboard

Christmas Bird Counts

Four counts scheduled for PEI between December 14 and January 5 Christmas is not only a time for fa [ ... ]

Community School needs you

Charlottetown Rural Community School is looking for volunteers to come out and teach a course and al [ ... ]

Proving that it's Never Too Late to Learn

by Treva McNally

Harpist Jill Harris

I have always liked music. I took many years of piano lessons as a child but hadn't played for a long time and found that I missed making music. As a result, in the last year or so I had been thinking about getting a keyboard or a similar portable instrument which didn't require rearranging the furniture. An article in The Guardian last year about playing the harp had caught my attention as a possible instrument to try, but I had been busy and hadn't followed it up.

Then this summer while visiting Woodleigh Replicas with my daughter, we arrived during a medieval fair featuring a woman in a long gown playing the harp. The woman was Joan Woods, the woman who been featured in the paper last year, and when I told her how much I liked the sound of her harp, she sat me down to try it. I plucked hesitantly and the most incredible sound came out . . . I was hooked! We exchanged phone numbers and in September, she called to tell me she had an Irish harp available and was I interested in taking lessons? Definitely "yes."

This first week of practicing on my beautiful Limerick rosewood lap harp with its rich tones has been one of ups and downs. I discover that although fingers that had once been nimble were now arthritic and stiff, I still remember how to practice and read music. Fingering on the harp is opposite to the piano but when you make a mistake, it doesn't sound as bad. Practicing takes effort but experiencing the improvement is exhilarating. Friends have been incredulous ("Why in the world would you want to play the harp?"), supportive ("When will you be ready to play for us") and good natured ("When do you get to buy the long dress?")

Since Joan started The Island Harp School nine years ago, the number of harps on PEI has grown to more than thirty, ranging from little lap harps to beautiful big concert models, and there are now more than fifty people playing them. When I listened to a senior student, Jill Harris, make beautiful music at the Harp School's open house and found she had been playing for only six years, I was filled with hope. If I keep practicing, maybe I'll see you at the medieval fair next year!

[If playing the harp is something you might like to try, you can reach Joan at 569-3178.]

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Some Upcoming Events

Downstreet Dance

Dance studio teams up with Charlottetown Jazz Ensemble December 16
Downstreet Dance Studio  Th [ ... ]

Light Up the Dark

Seventy-five performers to take to the Homburg stage December 14
Homburg Theatre Light Up the Dar [ ... ]

Home for the Holidays

Justin Shaw comedy show December 21
Kings Playhouse Home For The Holidays Comedy Show featuring Jus [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

9th UPEI Chancellor

Honourable Catherine Callbeck installed The Honourable Catherine Callbeck has been installed as the [ ... ]

18th Music PEI Week and Awards

Credit Unions of PEI returns as sponsor for events in January Music PEI has announced the return of [ ... ]

A gift of Island poetry: J. J. Steinfeld

Curated by Deirdre Kessler There Are Questions I Would Like to Ask How can you imagine gunfire and [ ... ]