The Orphic memouries sounds like a fascinating piece. And it sounded like a wonderful concert. And there is something truly wonderful about seeing an ensemble so connected, it is so very moving and I often do feel it is a mysterious bond! Of both the ensemble members but the audience too!
As to the tuning and raising thing….yep I do that. But not 2 or 3 feet in the air above the neck of the harp – they must have “go go gadget arms” coz mine aren’t that long…..
It is mostly a habit, but you do try and strike the string quite quickly and firmly when tuning – get a clean and pure sound. If you strike each string differently, with different volume and at a different rate, yes, that will affect how the tuner picks up
Lucile Lawrence firmly stated that the hands should never go past the harp’s neck. Slightly in the first octave is unavoidable, but it should never be like an athlete or v for victory. That is not esthetic, that is tasteless.
You should take a look at that video of Betsy Morse playing the preludes from the Method for the Harp. The one where Lucile Lawrence explains each one first. I haven’t seen it in years, but my memory of it is that she throws both hands straight up over her head every time she raises. Sometimes she flings them straight out towards the column, but in both directions her arms end up absolutely straight(up or out).