LET’S LEARN SOMETHING NEW                                                                       Halifax Central Library BMO Room Spring Garden Rd. 

Library Doors open Tune & Set Up                                                                                         Chairs will be available in the room. Bring your own music stand. 

 10 – 10:50 Thea Huard

Thea HuThea Huardard is a Celtic Harp player who is based in Halifax. She studied as an apprentice with Dr. Janet Harbison at the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell, County Limerick. She has a particular interest in Carolan and the historical music of the 1600-1700s. Thea specializes in teaching and ambient entertainment and has played at many events throughout Ireland and Nova Scotia.          Thea’s presentation will tell the story of the Irish harp, a dramatic history which spans over 2000 years. From its glory days entertaining chieftains to its near extinction at the end of the 18th century, the Irish harp has seen many highs and lows. Of course, no story about the harp would be complete without music! A set of tunes taken from the different periods of the Irish harp’s history will be performed and you will learn a new Carolan song.

10:50 – 11 Stretch & Tai Chi with Wendy Murray                                                          Wendy MurrayWendy is an award winning tapestry artist who built her first harp from scratch. Since then she has acquired two harps and has learned to play. She attends all the harp workshops and has spent many hours learning Tai Chi and Chi Gong. She lived in the Prince’s Lodge Music Room on Bedford Highway for many years and is an authority on its history and preservation.                                                                           

11 – 11:50 Ellen Gibling 

Ellen Gibling 2

Ellen is based in Halifax. She holds an undergraduate degree in harp performance from McGill University, where she studied with Jennifer Swartz. As an orchestral harpist, she has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia and the World Youth Orchestra of Jeunesses Musicales, and has toured with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Ellen is currently part of classical the flute and harp duo Conundrum, environmental improvisation ensemble New Hermitage, and orchestral pop band The Heavy Blinkers
Her Irish traditional duo with Erin Dempsey, Ragged Robin, released its 
debut album, Deep in the Tangled Wood, in 2016. Ellen is particularly drawn to Irish traditional music and chamber music, 
as well as performances that integrate multiple art forms and theatrical elements. She is the harp instructor at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. Ellen has been in Limerick, Ireland, 2018-19 pursuing a masters degree in Irish Traditional Music Performance. She has just returned  to Halifax for this Festival.

Ellen will teach new traditional music she learned during her recent year of study in Limerick, Ireland where she receieved a Masters in Traditional Celtic Harp Music. 

11:50 – 12 noon Get ready to open doors to PUBLIC. 

12 Noon LUNCH: The kitchen in the BMO room is for our use and Pavia Cafe is on two levels in the building for buying. Tim’s and others are just outside the door on Spring Garden Road. Bring your own food if you like.

12 – 1 OPEN HOUSE: the PUBLIC is invited to view and ask questions about the variety of harps in the Library BMO Room. Thinking of taking up the harp ? Here’s your chance to be up close and personal with the instrument. Your research starts here !                                                                                               Eastcoast Harpshop (Dusty Strings & Josephus)                                                 NovaHarps (Lyon & Healy & Salvi)  (not available this time)                                       With permission, you may test drive a harper’s instrument in the room.418432_352210981523946_1915048416_n

12:30 – 1pm  ABSOLUTE BEGINNER HARP CLASS                                                        Cheryl will guide you through your first Celtic tune on one of the harps in the room. This could be the beginning of your next adventure ! FREE !  

1 – 1:50 Alexis Milligan


Alexis, a native of Waverley, N.S., is busy in many theatre productions, dividing her professional time between Ontario’s prestigious Stratford and Shaw Theatres and Halifax’s own vibrant Neptune Theatre. She teaches and choreographs movement for stage productions and participates in her capacity as an actor, singer and dancer. As an enthusiastic harper, having studied for two years, Alexis applies her insight into performing with the instrument. 

Alexis’ class “Speaking in Silence” will be of interest to all of us who wonder how we telegraph ourselves before, during and after we’re playing the harp … what are we expressing simply with our gestures and body language ? A prerequisite to everything !


1:50 – 2 Stretch & Tai Chi with Wendy


2 – 2:50 Cheryl Reid O’Hagan 

_DSC5362Cheryl, BA music (piano) Mount Allison University, took up the Celtic Harp in 1990 and has been devoted to performing, teaching and promoting the Celtic Harp in Nova Scotia. She was brought up chording on the piano with the fiddle at home in St. Stephen, N.B. and her passion for getting to the roots of things led her to the research done on the Scottish Harp by Allison Kinnaird, Ann Heymann and the Irish harpist Grainne Yeats. She has taken Gaelic classes and travelled to Harp Festivals to learn more about the instrument. She’s the authorized dealer for Dusty Strings harps in the Maritimes and often sells consignment harps.                                                                 Work: HRM classroom music teacher – Kodaly & ukulele, Royal Conservatory of Music teacher piano, voice, theory, gold medal harp teacher. Highland Games, Ceilidh Trail School, Re-Jigged                                                                                          CDs: The Darkest Midnight, Sunnyday, Maeve                                                      Eastlink TV Doc “Sailing on Strings”, Harp Ring video Arran Boat Song                    CDs with others: Scott Macmillan, Rita MacNeil, Camerata Singers, B&R Cape Breton Heritage Recordings, movie scores                                                              Played with: Stadacona Band, Symphony NS, Buddy MacMaster, Rankin Sisters, Scott MacMillan, Dwayne Cote, Ashley MacIsaac, Aeolian Singers, Amythyst Dancers, St. Brigid’s Band, Fancy’s Flight, the Rumi Ensemble.                                    Founded Eastcoast Harpshop 1997, NS Harp Ring 1998, NS Harp Assoc. 2017, NS Harp Festival 2018    

Cheryl will teach how to modulate or change keys within or between songs.  A way of making arrangements more interesting, powerful and emotive (The Prayer or Amazing Grace) and accomodating different vocal ranges when accompanying singalongs (Jingle Bells, Hymns or Carols), going from a fiddle tune in one key to a tune in another key . So this is what a bridge is for !

3 – 3:50 Brenda Bowen Cox Brenda Bowen Coxgrew up in Northern Indiana where she learned to play the piano, organ and classical guitar. She received a B.Sc. in Deaf Education with a minor in music and later a Masters in Deaf Education and Audiology. About thirty years ago, Brenda began an ongoing quest with harps and in the 1990’s founded the Harpers’ Circle of Kentucky. She performed with the popular Celtic Band “Ceol Cridhe”alongside her husband, a fiddler. The band’s 2002 cd is “Like a Heartbeat”. The pair spend winters in Arkansas and summers in Cape Breton. In 1997 Brenda graduated as a Certified Music Practitioner from the Music for Healing and Transition Program in Houston. Since then, she has worked at bedsides in hospices and hospitals and has initiated therapeutic programs at various sites.

Brenda’s class will focus on music she finds successful in therapeutic settings. Her books are “A Peaceful Harbour” for Therapy or Relaxation, “A Cape Breton Bouquet”, “AnotherBouquet” and she has written and arranged several songs which are available as sheet music. http://www.brendabowencox.com


4 – 5:45 Just for the Love of It Harp Circle Your ring onshoreHARP CIRCLE  Cherish the Old, Embrace the New ! Learn new or new to you group music. Some people have been playing these songs only recently and some forever, so this will be interesting for everyone. 

Arran Boat Song  video  Ch. arr.                                                                                              https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2j3ErSqZklEbrCGXpoXQBg

Song of the Water Kelpie (new proposed video Ch. arr.)    

Lauda – Praetorius   2 parts (Cheryl arr.)

 Reverie  Gillie Robson 

Wild Mountain Thyme (Ch. arr. )

Tell My Ma Medley Tribute to the Downeast Fiddlers  St. Anne’s Reel D+ (Ch. arr.)

The Donegal Lass (Ch. arr. dance arrangement for Elizabeth) 

Butterfly Jig, TamLyn (Glasgow Reel) (for Diaga Dance)

Rights of Man (Hornpipe for Diaga) 

favourites & on the spot requests !


5:45 Breakdown 

6:00  SUPPER where will we go ? 


9:00 – 9:55  Yoga & Guided Meditation with Harp Johanne McInnis

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Bedford Row Entrance

Johanne McInnis

Johanne, Canadian Jazz – Celtic – Classical Harpist was born in Charlesbourg, Quebec and has a unique and eclectic style influenced by the vibrant artistic culture of Québec, Montréal and inspiring voyages to Europe. She discovered her passion for the harp while visiting Mount Desert Island in Maine, USA. After studying music in Québec, Ontario and France, Johanne took jazz master piano classes with Oliver Jones, and  has studied the harp with Jazz, Celtic and Classical teachers and just completed a sabbatical year of Classical harp study in Quebec. Johanne has been living with her family in the Valley near Wolfville and has twenty five years of classroom teaching experience. After taking Yoga Teacher training, she founded the Harp & Yoga Wellness Festival, which takes place near her home on Kingsport Beach, N.S. during the summer. When time allows, she plays the harp at the Château Frontenac in Québec City and tours her show “Nature Speaks” with her Jazz trio. This year she is preparing music to be performed with an orchestra to complete studies for her Masters Degree in Harp.

Johanne, with six yoga poses, will lead us through a Guided Meditation with her voice and harp. Please bring your own yoga mat.                                                             

 11 – 12  The Triangle, Prince St. in the Seannchie Room upstairs.  Food is available for adults & children with a parent. 

 12 – 1:30 GET TO KNOW YOUR HARPISTS CONCERT                                        Experience the Festival Harp Circle in this intimate setting.   “FRIENDS PLAYING WITH FRIENDS FOR FRIENDS” –  an enjoyable time for all. Here’s the  line-up:  Ellen Gibling solo & with Erin Dempsey as Ragged Robin. Thea Huard playing O’Carolan. Young harpists Tara Ehler and Emily MacDougall. Harpe Diem. Cheryl & the Glass harp. Saeed. Johanne plays jazz.  Elizabeth dancing her favourite jig.  Diega Dance (Zeph Caissie) high-stepping young champions  – and more  ! 

 The public is invited to this for $10. upstairs at the door.                                      Bring the family and all your friends!

 Workshop Cheryl Play Learn Grow

Your ring onshore

Ellen Gibling behind stringsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADonna Bear CoveThea Huardcalnen photosA_DSC0447_resizeNSHR Wendy Murray 1JackieBrenda Bowen Cox_DSC0484_resizeFestival Players:  Ellen,  Johanne, Donna,  Thea, Cheryl, Alexis, Wendy,  Jackie, Brenda, Tara, Saeed, Bob                                             

Elizabeth MacDonald lives to dance and to share that passion with others. Originally trained as a Highland dancer and accredited teacher, she discovered traditional Irish dance in the late 80s, and has been building her knowledge and skills ever since, studying with dance masters in both Ireland and the US. Elizabeth is  credited with introducing Irish sean-nos step dance to Nova Scotia.  Elizabeth specializes in two older forms of Irish dance that, until recent years, were on the verge of extinction: the Irish set (or square) dances and sean-nos step from the Gaeltacht region of Connemara. She’s taught for many years in Halifax and for three years, led the set dance group in Brussels, Belgium. She’s led workshops and ceilithe at festivals across Eastern Canada, northern France and Belgium. Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (CCE) recognized Elizabeth’s contribution to Irish traditional dance by inducting her into the Canadian Hall of Fame. 

Elizabeth Beautiful   

UPSTAIRS  After the concert Slow harp session                                                                  2 – 2:50  Johanne teaches a jazz tune.                                                                                   3:10 – 4 Harp Talk & another Tune with Ellen – “My Year in Limerick and Thereabouts”         



2 – 4 Fast session  led by Fiddler extraordinaire Kevin Roach with Jane Lombard bouzouki & button box. Enjoy the Traditional Set Dancing led by Elizabeth. 

Kevin, Jane, Charlie, Cheryl

4:00 FAREWELL SUPPER   McKelvie’s (across the street) optional