A little about me and my friends
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer
I was born a musician. Over the decades I have explored various musical instruments, both formally and informally. I am living testimony to the joy and fulfillment that can be had as a life-long learner. It was 1995 when I first saw a harp up close and said to myself, “I wonder how you play THAT?!?” Many lessons, exams and gigs later, I can now help others answer that same question for themselves.
With a background as an elementary school teacher, I find teaching harp and related theory a natural extension to my teaching career. The need for accessible material for my harp students has led me to become an arranger and publisher as well.
Earning my certification as a Therapeutic Harpist has helped me adopt a fresh approach to music making. It has freed me up to explore the harp in new and creative ways, and has allowed me valuable insight into those in emotional and/or physical distress. Harp music is the ultimate instrument for creating beautiful melodies and soothing harmonies. Some even describe it as heavenly!
I enjoy playing in and around the Ottawa area both as a solo instrumentalist and as part of duos. What is better than one harp? Two, of course! My friend Heather Flinn and I, as the Zephyr Harp Duo, enjoy learning a broad repertoire of music for our professional engagements. Our recent publication, Zephyr Duets, is a sample of the beautiful music we make together. Another friend and I, Marcia Phillips, form the Pavanna Recorder & Harp Duo. We play lively Celtic, renaissance, and folk tunes. Never was Greensleeves so authentically reproduced as when played by the Pavanna Duo, dressed in period costumes!
But it doesn’t end here. On my bucket list are other instruments to explore, more music to write, new people to meet. Thank you for visiting my friends and me on this website. Success and happiness be yours too!
My ‘harp sister’ has enjoyed a successful career as a music specialist in secondary school. Like me, she entertained the idea of learning a new instrument as our school careers were winding up. Like me, she considered learning the highland bagpipes but were lured by the delicate sound of the harp. These connections were unbeknownst to each of us, as we met only a few short years ago. We continue to uncover both similarities and differences in our lives, which makes for lively discussions and sincere appreciation of each other’s talents.
Heather is an excellent harp player, gifted teacher, and a dedicated promoter of the arts. She continues to lobby for arts in the schools through her position on the Arts Advisory Committee in Ottawa. Heather has been a member of the brass section of the Nepean Concert Band for many years, and steps in as a relief conductor when needed.
Heather and I continue to create new goals for ourselves, musically and otherwise. Our weekly rehearsals are filled with right notes, wrong notes, and lots of love and laughter. We thoroughly enjoy playing out together as the Zephyr Harp Duo.
My friend Marcia is such a skilled musician! She can play anything she sets her mind too, with the short list being woodwinds, keyboards, guitar and bodhran. She is also a vocalist, a session musician, composer, and music teacher based in Merrickville, Ontario. Marcia hails from Shropshire, England, lending to her love of folk and early music. Recently she has been exploring the world of jazz. When Marcia plays recorder and I add some harp accompaniment, one’s toes set to tapping as the music is bright, light and cheerful. It’s a winning combination, to be sure!
Don Peddle, Random Sound Musical Instruments
My friend Don Peddle encountered his first harp 18 years ago at a craft fair in Blacksburg, Virginia. He was totally fascinated by this instrument and decided to try building his own. His early efforts were displayed in his home and he immediately had order requests from friends and neighbours. He then began building other musical instruments such as the Dulcimer, Bowed Psaltry, Kalimba, Guitar, Hand Drums and various other percussion instruments.
From the beginning, Don experimented with modifying existing plans and developing his own designs. While building itself is very rewarding, his true passion is creating an instrument that is truly unique. In 2003 Don started Random Sound Musical Instruments and sells his creations through his website and by word-of-mouth. Since retiring from his day job in 2008, instrument building has become a part-time job and full-time hobby.
Don is Past Chairman of the Northern Lights Harp Fest committee, a weekend conference held in Ontario, Canada every two years for the advancement of the lever harp. Plans are underway for the next edition of the NLHF to be held in October 2017.