Hey everybody! Just wanted to let ya’ll know….
Especially if you’re a Celtic harpist (but all lever and pedal harps are encouraged!) there’s a really cool thing called a feis. I’m a harpist and an Irish Dancer, and a feis (pronounced “fesh”) is an Irish festival. Usually the dancing is Saturday and there are music competitions on Friday evening, instrumental, singing, etc. I’ve been fesing for a year and a half and have only encountered two other harpists, and both were just beginner dancers (I’m novice/prizewinner). The competition requirements are minimal–don’t exceed three minutes, pick an IRISH song (not English, not Scottish, if it’s not from a definitely Irish source, err on the side of caution and don’t play it, because the judges REALLY don’t like non-Irish songs), and play at least two verses (just a tip).
Some really beautiful Irish songs the beginner Irish harpist can look for:
Star of the County Down
anything by O’Carolan (famous blind Irish harpist)
Be Thou My Vision (pretty hymn, look for “Slane” or “Sloan” under tune names)
Suil Arun (Shule Aroon)
etc. To find feisanna near you, check http://www.northamericanfeiscommission.com. The only all-harp Irish competition I know of is the Dublin Ohio Cleveland Feis. You don’t have to be part of a dance school to play at most feises. I’d enjoy some competition…hope to see any harpists at a feis!