Both the 2020 American Harp Society National Conference in Orlando, Fl. and the 2020 World Harp Congress in Cardiff, Wales have been postponed. 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 originally shared, “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.” Since then, the congress opted to postpone even further, to 2022. “We appreciate that the majority of artists will need the summer of 2021 to catch up on significant work lost during this difficult period and we are aware that the extra cost of attending a conference next year might be financially difficult for many.” The new dates are July 22-29, 2022. They share that the event will be “bigger and better” and that there will be opportunities for new ideas and new proposals to be considered. “It is not an easy decision to make, especially as the Congress has already been postponed one year, but these are unprecedented times, and the wellbeing of our delegates must be the deciding factor.”