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

9am Library Doors open Tune & Set Up                                                                         9:50  Wendy Murray Tai Chi (10 minutes to the hour)

Wendy Murray

Wendy 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. 

10am – 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 – 11am Stretch & Tai Chi with Wendy 

11 – 11:50 am 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 in Limerick, Ireland. 

11:50 – 12 Stretch & Tai Chi with Wendy

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.

12 – 1pm OPEN HOUSE During lunch the public is invited to view 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 !  

12:30 – 1pm  THE BLIND HARPER”S TEST”  Each participant will be blindfolded. Each harp will “speak”, and one by one,  you’ll be asked to write down which harp you think you heard. You can do this even while eating ! Then we’ll find out the results – did you recognize your own harp ?     

1 – 1:50 Alexis Milligan


Alexis, a native of Fall River, N.S. is busy in many theatre productions, dividing her professional time between Ontario’s Stratford and Shaw Theatres and  Neptune Theatre in Halifax. 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 – 2pm Stretch & Tai Chi with Wendy


2pm 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 passion drew 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 many Harp Festivals to learn more about the instrument. She’s the authorized dealer for Dusty Strings harps in the Maritimes and sells consignment harps.                                              Work: HRM classroom music teacher – Kodaly & ukulele, RCM teacher piano, voice, theory, gold medal harp teacher, Highland Games, Ceilidh Trail School, Re-Jigged                                                                          CDs: The Darkest Midnight, Sunnyday, Maeve                                                      Eastlink TV Documentary “Sailing on Strings”                                                            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. Inc. 2017, NS Harp Festival 2018    

Cheryl will teach how to modulate and change keys within or between songs. Going up… getting back down. What was Bach thinking ? 

3 – 4pm Johanne McInnis 

Johanne McInnisJohanne, Canadian Jazz-Celtic 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 having 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.  

Johanne will teach you two jazz standards using some of her jazz techniques.        

4 – 5pm  HARP CIRCLE  Enjoy Playing the Group Tunes: list to be compiled soon.


5:45 Breakdown (not the fiddle tune)

6:00 pm SUPPER 

The Triangle on Prince St.  opens at 11am, Seannchie Room upstairs.  Food is available for adults & children with a parent. 

11am – 12 Set Up & Practise

12 – 1:30pm FREE STYLE CONCERT NS HARP RING and Festival Players! Expect the Unexpected “FRIENDS PLAYING WITH FRIENDS FOR FRIENDS” Everybody plays – songs we know, try out the new ones, play solos, sing, test drive a new song –  an enjoyable time for all.

 The public is invited to this for a $10. cover charge. Elizabeth is going to dance to her favourite jig, the Donegal Lass, arranged by Cheryl especially for her to show her excellent footwork. 

 Workshop Cheryl Play Learn Grow

Your ring onshore

Ellen Gibling behind stringsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADonna Bear CoveThea Huardcalnen photosA_DSC0447_resizeNSHR Wendy Murray 1JackieAlys HoweBrenda Bowen Cox

Festival Players:  Ellen, Cheryl, Alys, Johanne, Thea, Donna, Brenda, Wendy, Jackie, Tara, Jeanne, Julie, Alexis                                             


Elizabeth BeautifulElizabeth 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 Eastern Region Music Hall of Fame.                                    

2 – 4pm  Harp Session upstairs             

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

Kevin, Jane, Charlie, Cheryl