This Past week end we had a Harp Guitar Retreat. We call our home Harp Cliff Cottage as the house is perched upon a steep cliff and the property is shaped like a harp. When we have an event it becomes Harp Cliff Lodge. We took several tables and couches out of the house to make for more room. We pushed back to the walls the larger couches and had fun! Some times we will do this for a New Years Party when there is dancing on the smooth stained concrete floors. Other times it is a concert space in our house. This weekend we had 4 nights of house guests, students, fans and friends. We had two concerts. One Friday night inside and Saturday night outside! Four days of fun and lots of work, but it was worth it.
Here are our guests debriefing after the lessons and from the concert the night before.This is my new and dear friend Tasha! She is Nick's wife who had come to study the harp guitar for the weekend. What a great cook!!! I learned a Koren dish called "B Bin Bop" a health food rice dish. She also made a great Ethiopian garbanzo bean dish. Many thanks go out to Tasha who saved me this weekend with all her devoted work!!! Next year we are going to figure out an easier and less labor intensive way to feed everyone, like deli sandwichs and Pizza (No pans or clean up).
All my furniture was out side for an impromptu under the stars concert as it was so hot inside that we had to go outside for the performance. It was so fun.
My Laural's Kitchen Whole Wheat pound cake (from the 60's) and strawberries was a delicious dessert offering.
Cowboy Scott, the parking czar! Cowboy is building my Art Studio. He has become a wonderful new friend for John and I. He is so funny and he has a dozen horses. His stories are like listening to the horse whisper.
Aleksey is our friend from Russian who was so important to our event. He helped John and I so much and we couldn't have done it without him.
Even the sky was amazing swirling around like I have never seen it before. As I sat in my chair in the middle of the driveway I had never really seen the view from that very point. You don't often sit in the middle of your drive way especially as the place I was sitting was an incline. I am so Blessed by God with a beautiful home and wonderful husband not to mention great friends!!!!
Stories about the weekend of Concerts and students at our home.
Well it was 100 degrees for our last night house concert. So we moved all our furniture outside! Stuffed chairs, ottomans, benches, and folding chairs.
Before that we set the rain bird sprinkler on the hill across the driveway. Then washed down the drive way and cooled it all off. It was a natural amphitheater!
John set up a screen on the porch and the P.A. system and away it went! When the sun went down the wind started to howl!!! The birds dashed about and it was so fun.
We served lemonade, wine, and home made whole wheat pound cake with buttermilk and eggs. On top of that we had organic strawberries and whipped cream. Our friend Cowboy was the parking Czar and brought his homemade brew for the adventurous ones who wanted a good ale to go with the Celtic theme!
A Friend of ours and fan writes a review after each concert.........we always wait for her review...we rush home and read our email first thing.
It was just such a beautiful setting tonight for me; the forest as aDear John and Deirdre
backdrop to the audience and, in your direction, the gardens, the
screen with the Thin Places behind you and the sunset, then twilight
and dusky sky beyond those. I glanced up overhead once and saw the
first star I was able to spot tonight. Of course, I had to quickly
make a special wish. The birds and other night sounds filled it out
so wonderfully as you told the stories and played your music.
It was wonderful to hear the special stories and watch you play those
songs, again. You keep putting in details I didn't hear before in the
stories and I listen so carefully, as always, to each one. St. Columba
and his story is so touching; that was one I especially needed
to hear tonight, again. I sometimes relate to Yeats as he was so
idealistic when he was young and so disillusioned when he got older.
Then, I remember your emphasis on the statement on his grave and the
High Cross across the road---and the ability to chose between them.
Your Harp Guitar just rang out across the top of Harpcliff and I
wondered if you had close neighbors that would be able to hear that
beautiful music as they settled down for the evening. I hope so. If
they're lined up outside your door in the morning waiting to buy CDs,
you'll know why.
Wayfarer, Gazing On The Face Of The Sea and the most beautiful Hunter
And The Hare actually took us to the Thin Places so vividly. I like
the way you mentioned quite often, this time, during a story that the
setting was a Thin Place. It kept that theme running through the
concert as a reminder of what we were there to see.
John, you do more for people in your audience than, I think, you even
realize when you do this concert. We're reminded of a Force that is
so much bigger than ourselves and yet it is there for us to touch when
we need it---which is all the time. The way you present it in the
Bardic tradition excites us and the way you take us back to that far
away time allows us to mingle with those who became known as Saints.
We see that they were "ordinary people" and yet they did extra-ordinary
things by allowing God to guide them. We need that exposure to them and
their stories. You tell it with your unique style and your music and we
are so inspired, grateful and always renewed. We all need that and you
provide it for us every time.
I wanted to mention the effect that was caused on the screen by the
strong breeze when it first started up. You had just begun playing
"Yeats Country"and the High Cross was on the screen. The breeze
started billowing the screen and it gave the cross a ghostly,
otherworld quality. It was very effective; it did the same thing to a
couple other scenes now and then. Nature was giving you a hand,
When you finished playing "Gazing On The Face Of The Sea", the man
behind me murmured "beautiful"; I, also, heard someone else across the
group say the same thing. The rest of the audience most assuredly
enjoyed it all as much as I did.
"Shannon J. Murphy"
Thank you so much for the house concert and for opening your music and hearts and doors to your beautiful home to us..! Your outdoor stage was complete with whirling swaying trees when it got shivery! Yes, the birds in flight around the house were delightful. A wonderful summer evening indeed.
I feel like I am holding the evening cupped in my hands like a fragile eggshell - gazing at something intricate, beautiful, with more of a hushed feeling than words to describe how lovely. It's like something you want to let soak into you.