International Harp School in Wells, BC

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 Harp & Cello School : AUG 14 – 18

Hi all! There is still time to sign up for the 2017 version of our internationally renowned harp school! We are very excited for it. The following email is entirely dedicated to information about this year’s Harp School – the instructors, the programming, and how to register.

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The Harp School has been a career and life changing experience for many harpers over the past 30 years. We are thrilled to announce an incredible line up of instructors coming from all around the world for our 31st Annual Harp School (& Cello too). Participants spend time in Wells during their week long course, learning unnamed (21).jpgfrom these instructors in sessions and self directed topics. In the mornings, delve into your level specific session, and in the afternoons choose from musical topics including ensemble. Enjoy special activities like the student BBQ, Breton dance workshop, instructor concert and the annual Céilidh. Come join us!




Caroline MacKay

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Caroline MacKay creates a space where the mystery of Harp and the magic of Voice become one. Tender Celtic ballads and spirituals, lively Latin rhythms, original works and Classical arrangements are part of her diverse repertoire. She has recorded 7 full-length CDs of original music produced by her Indie Label, HIGH SPIRITS MUSIC. For 20 years, Caroline has performed in a multitude of venues from great Concert Halls, Cathedrals and Festivals to intimate House Concerts, Galleries and Chapels


Tristan Le Govic

unnamed (7).pngOriginally from Brittany, Tristan Le Govic was only six years old when he began learning the Celtic harp at the Conservatoire of Traditional Music of Soye (Plœmeur). The attraction to music will never leave him.
During his studies he gained numerous prizes and nominations that emphasize the recognition of a talented and accomplished musician. Performing on international stages, critics pronounce him as one of the leading Celtic harpers today.


Sunita Staneslowunnamed (8).png

Sunita Staneslow has played in concert halls and pubs from New Zealand to Tel Aviv. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Sunita is classically trained although her passion is traditional music. She specializes in both Jewish and Celtic music and has become widely known for her creative and accessible arrangements for the harp. She is a frequent performer and instructor at major North American harp festivals. In 2013, Sunita taught at the Southeastern Folk Harp Weekend in Asheville, the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in New Jersey, the Capital Harp Retreat in Madison, the Harp in Worship Conference in Sioux Falls.

Mairi Chaimbeulunnamed (9).png

Mairi Chaimbeul is a Boston-based harp player and composer from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Described by Folk Radio UK as “astonishing”, she is known for her versatile sound, which combines deep roots in Gaelic tradition with a distinctive improvising voice and honed classical technique.

Màiri has toured throughout the UK and in Europe as well as North America, was twice-nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, finalist in the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musicians of the Year and twice participated in Savannah Music Festival’s Acoustic Music Seminar. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where she attended with full-scholarship, and was awarded the prestigious American Roots Award.

Morag Northeyunnamed (10).png

Morag Northey has lived a balance of excellent training and experience in Cello Performance and String Pedagogy. Her philosophy is actively represented through her educational choices: a Masters degree from University of Calgary with violinist, music icon, and dedicated teacher; Tom Rolston, an Undergraduate Performance Degree with well-published master teacher and pedagogue Phyllis Young, where she worked five years in the University of Texas at Austin’s world-renowned teacher training String Project.



Beginner / Novice with Caroline Mackay

This class is designed for Novice harps — that is, beginners with some playing experience. (It is not necessary to be able to read music, but it could be an asset.) A harp with at least 30 strings will be ideal. (With the permission of the instructor “very beginners” may be accommodated).

Intermediate with Tristan Le Govic

Breton music is part of the Celtic repertoire as well as Irish, Scottish or Welsh music. Join this group if you want to perform some typical Breton tunes, such as An dro, Gavotte or beautiful melodies, as played in Brittany nowadays.

No prior knowledge of Breton music needed. You may or may not have played Breton music before. We will start by learning some tunes step by step and then bring up arrangements and variations. Learners by ear and/or with the music are all welcome.

Intermediate with Sunita Staneslow

The focus of this class will be on flow and phrasing. We will deepen our muscle memory of intervals and chord shapes so that we can learn faster and play more accurately. Tone, dynamics and playing with more ease will be integrated into everything we play.

Note: Sunita’s Morning class is now full, but there is room for more intermediate’s in Tristan’s class.

Advanced with Mairi Chaimbeul

Let’s delve deep into some wonderful Scottish tunes. What is it that makes traditional music come alive? We’ll dig into making these melodies our own, exploring how to incorporate disparate influences from a range of styles and instruments, without obscuring the essence of this music.


Cello with Morag Northey

This workshop will be tailored to the participant’s level of achievement. Beginners to experienced are welcomed and encouraged.  Each session will begin with warm-ups to unlock and balance the body, free vibrations, and provide ease, accuracy and direction. Cellists will dive into technique, studies and pieces and tie-up the day with cello ensemble! Morag offers a very rewarding and memorable approach to furthering your love of the cello…forever positive“I am excited to work with any and all who come to play!


Ensemble for Beginner/Early Intermediate with Caroline Mackay

Caroline will bring two new Ensemble tunes, one bright and rhythmic, and the other one gloriously heartfelt and Celtic. These selections are simple enough, with shared parts, (your friends will be there beside you!) to be accessible for Beginners, yet complex enough arrangements to be interesting and challenging for the early Intermediates.

Harp Ensemble/Improv with Sunita Staneslow

Learn to create an accompaniment!  Send your ideas for tunes, I’ll bring some arrangements and together we will learn to adapt a part to your level. We will keep it simple yet creative. Explore special effects on the harp, improvise over a simple bass line and learn to play together. Playing in a group opens your ears and lets you be more daring—at the same time. Prepared to be bold and have lots of fun.

Intermediate/Advanced Ensemble with Tristan Le Govic

For the intermediate-advanced ensemble, Tristan will lead a couple of Breton dance tunes arranged especially for the group with different parts in order to fit all participant levels. If performing the melodic line has often the harp player preference, accompaniment parts with typical rhythmical patterns can also be very interesting without struggling!

Gaelic Ensemble with Màiri Chaimbeul

This will be an inclusive ensemble where we’ll work on a couple of Gaelic songs with beautiful melodies. We’ll create parts suited to each individual’s level and even learn some of the Gaelic words. We’ll explore the art of creating parts that fit in and around each other, and look at a few different accompaniment styles and how they impact the music.

Cello Ensemble with Morag Northey


Below is this year’s schedule.

The school Opens at 8am for coffee, tea (available all throughout the day too).

9am – 12:15pm – Morning session Beg/Novice (Caroline), Intermediate (Tristan & Sunita), advanced (Màiri), Cello (Morag)

12:15 – 1:45pm Lunch options available for purchase around Wells

1:45 – 3:45pm Afternoon session (except Wednesday which has the afternoon off)

School closes at 4pm (arrangements can be made for after hours access, with a $20 deposit students and receive a fob that will give 24 hour access)

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Regular Fee: $555
Deposit: $139 (non-refundable)
Harp Rental: $75 for novice harps, $100 for Int/Adv Harps, plus GST (contact IMA directly if you require a harp rental 1-800-442-2787)

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