September 21 - 25, 2022

Announcing Dates and Tutors for 
Planned In-Person Retreat Next September!!!
The Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat
September 21-25, 2022
Celtic and Germanic Connections
Featured Tutors:
Beth Kolle - Celtic and Nordic music

Nancy Thym - lives and music of Bavarian & German itinerant woman harpers of the 
18th & 19th centuries

Jaimee Joroff - "Listen, Love It, Learn It": tips and techniques to learn your favorite tunes.
3 levels of harp classes: advanced, intermediate and advanced beginner
Scroll down for information about prior Harp Retreats!

Endless thanks as always to Julie Norem Hawley for she does throughout the year creating and compiling music for the harp circle! 
2021 Harp Circle 
Julie Norem Hawley graciously 
continues 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 and Walsenburg.

Notes from the 2021 Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat  

Just when you think it can’t get any better… it  goes way out of the ballpark!

2021 was our first virtual retreat and it was a unique one.  Aine Minogue went deep into the research, checked with experts in the field and presented a scholarly history of the lowland Scots who had to leave Scotland, their settlements in Ulster and, the Ulster Scots journey to America and final settlement in Appalachia.  She introduced the music they left behind, the tunes they brought with them, and the variations of some of those tunes in Appalachia. 

During the retreat, harpers were able to play along with, among others, Lead Belly, Loretta Lynn and Kurt Cobain.   The information kept coming and so did the tunes.


Jaimee Joroff presented a session on “Tuning and Modes and Changing Keys” or

 "Cool it Mozart, we're keeping this simple."  She also created a Harp Trivia game at night, and tricked her intermediate group by using a few hand positions (without any music) and naming keys into suddenly realizing they were playing a Chieftain’s tune.


Aine and Jaimee gave the history and the back stories of tunes they presented.


Thursday was our harp and pipe day.  This was led by Julie Norem-Hawley and, in the morning by piper Robert Mitchell .  Julie led the afternoon session herself with the help of two of her Taos musical friends which added more instruments to the mix. She led all the harpers through the piping tunes.


Saturday evening Aine gave a presentation on keening and then we all saw a wonderful musical play by the Bardic Sisters.  Kathy Wimmer and Gwen Easterday played their harps and described the last day of O’Carolan.


Sunday morning was a return to Scotland and the Carolinas.  Bonnie Prince Charlie, Flora MacDonald, Robert Louis Stevenson, and even Outlander were all tied together.


The five day retreat ended with a meditation session led by Aine followed by Susan Spangler spontaneously playing a perfect ending for the meditation and the retreat.


We thank all the harpers who attended. Thanks to Zoom we were able to have attendees from Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, California and Wyoming.


For harp trivia, history, and fun, follow the 
Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat on Facebook. 
Click the Facebook icon to glissando to our Facebook! 
Visit our sister festival! 
Spanish Peaks Intl. Celtic Music Festival
Click the logo to visit their page. 
Friends of the Spanish Peaks International Harp Retreat

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.