Welcome to The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat

September 22-25, 2016

The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat is entering its 12th year of offering several days of multi-level harp workshops and instruction. Harp events are set in the midst of a full Celtic Festival in Southeast Colorado.  

The 2015 Harp Retreat can be summed up in three words: wolves, pipes, and wires.  Participants had the opportunity to put Sue Raimond's teachings into practice at Mission: Wolf.  The experimental workshop of pipes and harps was a resounding success and enjoyed by players of both instruments.  Cynthia Cathcart taught us all wire harp techniques and repertoire and, while explaining the history of this instrument, debunked some commonly held beliefs.

Not too many people are referred to as Legends during their life times.  Maire Ni Chathasaigh is a living Legend in the Harp World and the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Harp Retreat is fortunate in having her return for the fourth time as our primary Harp tutor.  Many of our participants have experienced Maire’s teachings, suggestions and knowledge and feel they owe a lot of their progress to her.  Maire will be teaching the Retreat Class; there will be 10 hours of instruction spread out over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This offering is for the high intermediate through Professional players.  The class size will be limited to ensure individual attention.

From Brittany we are delighted to welcome Esther Mirjam Griffoen.  Esther will teach the Intermediate Class an all day Friday offering.  She will present the music of Brittany, a first for the Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat.

Esther will also present the Thursday workshop “Storytelling (with harp) for Alzheimer’s Sufferers.”  This full day offering is open to all level players.


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. 


Building on the success of the 2015’s experimental workshop of pipes and harps, these two instruments will again have an opportunity to play together during the 2016 Festival.  

The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat is most grateful to Victoria Lidmark for her generous donation to promote the interests of the Retreat.  More can be seen about Victoria on our 2016 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.