SEPTEMBER 27-30, 2018

Welcome to The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat

September 27-30, 2018

The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat is entering its 14th year of offering several days of multi-level harp workshops and instruction.  

Thanks to the contributions of our instructors and participants, the 2017 Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat was a wonderful mix of multicultural and multidiscipline instruction, learning and companionship.  Even with this year’s extended schedule, the five days flew by. Led by Kelly Stewart, Jaimee Joroff and Sue Raimond, 2017’s sessions covered topics such as:

      How to make a tune sound Scottish, and what judges look for at Scottish harp


       Traditional Welsh music, including methods for adapting triple harp techniques to

           traditional harps;

       Understanding and enjoying Celtic music through perspectives of song, dance,

           motion and other media. 

      Animals’ relationship to music, with an opportunity to practice these unique musical

           skills with the Mammoth Donkeys at the Sierra Winds Donkey Rescue facility.

       Using the harp in nontraditional ways.

Attendees also participated in a harp and bagpipe workshop and Harp Circle led by Julie Norem-Hawley.  

We thank David Kolacny for his myriad forms of continued support for the Retreat.  In a small gesture of appreciation, we bestowed titles on David and Debbie so that they are now Laird and Lady of Blackwood.


 2018  promises to be an exciting year for the Harp Retreat.  Our theme, 

" ACROSS THE DIVIDE," will feature music and techniques that transcend time and cultures.  All attendees will have an opportunity to work with both our instructors, Aine Minogue and Sunita Stanislow, who will share instruction of the advanced beginner-intermediate and intermediate-professional classes.

Aine will share her deep knowledge of traditional Celtic music, mythology and history to bring Irish traditions and tunes across time and help us make them our own in today's world.

Sunita will use Celtic tunes to help develop our individual techniques and repertoires.  One of her outstanding gifts, as a teacher, is to pass on specific comments that improve the playing of each participant.

As usual, the small size of the harp classes will guarantee individual attention for all attendees; additional private lessons with the instructors can be arranged.

In addition to our courses, the 2018 event will include two fantastic workshops (open to all levels), traditional events such as the Harp Circle led by Julie Norem Hawley and the Harp and Pipe Workshop, and a concert showcasing the many faces of the harp.  

In the Wednesday workshop, Aine will provide instruction on Meditation and Music, with the goal of bringing meditative practice into your harping technique and playing. She will begin by teaching meditation techniques (this is open to harpers and non-musicians alike).  The second half of the program will focus on beautiful traditional Celtic Airs that are suitable as meditative music.  Aine will guide us in thinking about how to combine meditative practices with our musical life, most especially playing the harp.  This workshop is also suitable for healing practitioners and those who play at bedsides.

       On Thursday, Sunita will share her experiences blending multicultural music traditions as she introduces attendees to Hebrew Music and Palestinian rhythms. Explore the exotic music from Israel and Palestine. Learn a few traditional Arabic modes and rhythms and add them to several beautiful melodies made famous by the Lebanese singer, Fairuz. Delve into the rich tradition of Jewish music from across the Middle East. Bridge the cultural gap with glorious melodies and rhythms.

This year we have three evening events.  Thursday will be  a hands on workshop ; Friday an intimate concert just for the harp participants and their companions; and Saturday is a formal concert at the Fox Theatre (in Walsenberg) with Aine and Sunita.

We look forward to seeing many of you in 2018. 

September 26, 2018
Aine Minogue

September 27-30, 2018
with Aine Minogue and Sunita Staneslow
Step into the musical mists of time.

Aine Minogue
Friday-Sunday, September 28-30, 2018
Beckoning traditional Irish music forward through the mists of time. 
Intermediate-Professional levels
Thursday, September 27. 2018
Music as a bridge: Israeli and Arabic Music
All levels
Friday, September 28, 2018
 Saturday, September 29. 2018
Celtic Music for Advanced Beginners-Intermediate
Further details will be posted

Julie Norem Hawley will graciously continue to lead our Harp Circle, a very relaxed experience for all level harpers.  She sends music to interested players in advance, conducts a few practice sessions during the festival, and then leads us all playing on the streets of La Veta. 


The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat is most grateful to Victoria Lidmark for her generous donation to and continued support of the Harp Retreat.  More can be seen about Victoria on our 2018 Tutor link.
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People are Talking!

"Beautiful location, wonderful warm community. Nancy hasn't just built an
amazing harp retreat, she's facilitated a true harp community that people
come 'home' to year after year. The Spanish Peaks festival is a joy for
musicians, students and visitors alike!"   Aine Minogue, teacher and performer

I came home from this year's retreat with Christina, Park, and Maire, absolutely filled with a sense of the living essence of music--in rhythm, tone, and effect, versus it just being the thing we do. Totally transforming. I'm a different musician now."

I have attended the Spanish Peaks harp retreat now for 8 years. Every workshop brings the best players from the Irish and the Scottish traditions. Each year, my understanding of the songs and the culture deepens. I really love the intimacy of our circle of players. We get to know each other in a smaller venue and we are able to converse with our teachers and get to know them too. Southern Colorado is absolutely gorgeous in the fall-the mountains and the skies. I would not miss it!

I played Maire ni Chathasaigh's version of The King of the Fairies (from the Rogha na gCruitiri Harpers' Choice book) last night at our harp recital for the first time in public. I have been working on it since 2011 and I realized it was directly due to you that I was able to do that. It was because of your Harp Festival and what you do to help all us with bringing in such phenomenal teachers and all the inspiration and amazing support and of course, the chocolate!

"This year, I learned so much from Christina, Park and Maire.  The instruction from each teacher was personalized yet geared for everyone.  During lunches and breaks I had ample opportunity to speak with each instructor and discuss ideas.  (I know I am a better harp teacher for attending.) I wouldn't miss this weekend for anything.