Both the 2020 American Harp Society National Conference in Orlando, Fl. and the 2020 World Harp Congress in Cardiff, Wales have been postponed until 2021. Originally scheduled for this June and July respectively, the coordinators for these two events have made the difficult decision to postpone as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Harp Society’s Board of Directors President Lynne Aspnes says, “The AHS leadership began following the fast–paced developments of the COVID-19 outbreaks in the US early in March, relying on the reporting from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Like so much of the rest of the world, our focus was on being as factually informed as we could be with the goal being to make decisions that would best serve the AHS membership. Ultimately the choice to reschedule this national event to 2021 was based on taking into consideration the safety and well–being of the conference attendees, preserving the focus of presenting outstanding artists in a live performance setting, and being able to offer attendees a vibrant marketplace in which they could explore the harp, harp music, and performing enhancements in many forms.” Dates have not yet been announced for the 2021 conference, but Aspnes shares that in the meantime, the lineup of presenters will be providing online content that will be added to their website on a regular basis.
Kathy Kienzle, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the World Harp Congress shares, “The decision to postpone the congress was made thinking of our performers, presenters, and harpists attending. Most of them are freelance harpists who are losing a lot of income because of the pandemic. We were concerned that many of them would not be able to afford to go to Cardiff and participate. We also thought about those who already purchased airline tickets and might be able to transfer them to 2021 at no cost. It’s possible they would not receive a refund if they cancelled their flights.” She says that because they made the decision back in March, they have been able to keep almost all of their original venues for the new dates, now August 6–12, 2021. “It is sad for us to not be joining with harpists from all over the world this summer, but it will make the Congress next summer even more special, when we can see each other again.”