Chapter Events 2014-2015

Silicon Valley Chapter named AHS Chapter of the Year

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Harp Society designated the 2013-2014 year as "Year of the Youth", a year in which we provided special opportunities for our young harpists, who are the future of our chapter and the American Harp Society. While concentrating on the young, we also continued to provide opportunities for our adult members to socialize with each other, learn together and play music with each other. It was a busy year, but also a year of variety and excitement, and a year of building the local harp community.
For all of our diverse events and offerings to harpists, our chapter was honored once again by the American Harp Society as Chapter of the Year. (We shared Chapter of the Year honors with the Seattle Chapter in 2010.)

American Harp Society Concert Artist, Alexandra Mullins, Gave a Stunning Concert on March 21, 2015 in San Jose

Called, "a rare and brilliant harpist", Alexandra Katelyn Mullins, 20, a junior at Indiana University studying with Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald, and recently prizewinner in the the USA International Harp Competition, gave a wonderful solo performance in San Jose on March 21. Alexandra has performed throughout the US and Europe in many venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She has received awards, including Frist Place in the Advanced and Young Professional Divisions of the American Harp Society, First Place in the Lyon and Healy Awards, First Place in the 18th Petar Konjovic Serbian International Harp Competition, First Place in the Jacobs School of Music Concerto Competition, as well as numerous regional awards. Performances have included appearances with the Charlotte Symphony, the IU Orchestra, and the Radio and Television Orchestra in Belgrade in 2014.

Participation in AHS competitions since 2005 has contributed greatly to her success as a musician, and she is thrilled to serve and perform in the capacity of Concert Artist for the next two years. The AHS Concert Artist Award is the highest level award granted by the American Harp Society. Alexandra's former and current teachers and coaches include Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, Dan Yu, Sivan Magen, Dr. Maria Luisa Rayan-Forrero, Bette Roth, Christine VanArsdale and Jaqueline Bartlett.

Alexandra Katelyn Mullins in Solo Concert
Saturday March 21 - Immanuel Lutheran Church

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St. Patrick's Day "Harp Live" Performance

On March 15, 2015, harpists from the Silicon Valley Chapter of the AHS gathered at C.B. Hannegan's Irish Pub in Los Gatos, CA. for a special St. Patrick's Day Harp Live. A special room was set aside for the musicians, with tables where listeners could sit and enjoy the pub fare while enjoying Irish music on the harp. The crowd was standing-room only, and everyone gave rave reviews of the event.
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Renowned Paraguayan Harpist, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, in Concert, February 2015

Renowned Paraguayan harpist, Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, visited Northern California in February for a series of concerts and workshops.

On February 7, he conducted master classes and gave a concert at Harps Etc. in Walnut Creek.

Alfredo also performed his own "South American Suite for Harp and Orchestra" with the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose on Saturday, February 14, at Le Petit Trianon in San Jose.

Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble Performance at SJ Museum of Art

Our own Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble (Y.E.S.) performed holiday music at the San Jose Museum of Art from 5:00-8:00 pm on December 18, 2014. By all accounts, the performance was outstanding and the ensemble has already been invited back to perform in the future. The "Christmas in the Park" event took place just outside the museum, making it a very festive time of year to celebrate in downtown San Jose. The performance was the third annual ensemble performance by SVCAHS at the SJ Museum of Art and the first for our Youth Ensemble. The ensemble also delighted guests of a private Christmas party in December. For information about the ensemble's upcoming concert appearances, please visit:
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Summer Concert Series sponsored by SVCAHS in 2014

On June 20, the Japanese Harp Trio "Cafe de la Harp" performed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in San Jose. The concert was a benefit supporting children and schools that lost musical instruments as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Our own Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble also performed several pieces with the Japanese Trio at the concert.
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On June 20, Noel Wan gave a solo harp concert at Trinity Cathedral in San Jose in honor of the late Beverly Hargis (Linda Wood Rollo's mother), to benefit the SVCAHS Scholarship Fund.
Noel is a 20-year-old SVCAHS chapter member who graduated in May 2014 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was a Bronze Tablet and Edmund J. James Scholar with highest honors. Noel is now attending the Yale School of Music on full scholarship for her graduate studies in harp performance, studying with June Han.
In May 2014, Noel wowed the judges and was awarded the Grand Prize at the 38th Annual Carmel Music Society Competition. She was awarded $5000 and the opportunity to perform in 2015 as part of the Carmel Music Society's subscription series. The competition was open to instrumentalists between the ages of 18 and 30 who were born, live or study in California, Oregon or Washington.
On July 13, Liza Wallace gave a house concert in Los Gatos. The concert was wonderful, and was appreciated by harpists and non harpists alike. As a soloist and ensemble musician, Liza brings a new dimension to the harp's role in contemporary music, striving to expand the possibilities for this unique instrument in Jazz, Folk, Latin, and World Music. She grew up immersed in the vibrant musical culture of the San Francisco Bay Area and is now based in Los Angeles. Liza's music draws from the rhythmically passionate music of Venezuela, Brazil, and Cuba and the melodically enthralling music of North American Jazz and Folk traditions. Her compositions and arrangements synthesize these styles, creating a diverse musical experience meant to inspire laughter, tears and dance!
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Harpist Cindy Chen presented a solo concert August 3, 2014 at Trinity Cathedral in San Jose. All donations benefitted Rosyclouds, an organiation that provides instruments and music lessons for poor young people in Taiwan.
Cindy is a Taiwan-born harpist who attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and then studied harp with Susann McDonald at Indiana University. She performed at the World Harp Congress in Paris. Cindy pursued her masters and doctoral studies in music at USC before returning to Taiwan. She currently performs with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and chamber ensembles, and teaches at the National Taiwan University for the Arts.
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David Lawrence Ren, a member of our SVCAHS, gave a stunningly beautiful concert on Saturday, May 31 at Le Petit Trianon Theatre in San Jose. The concert was entitled, From Autistic to Artistic - A Miracle through Music. David performed first on the piano, playing compositions by Bizet, Ching-Ju Shih, Beethoven and Chopin. He also played the ocarina, a small wind instrument, on compositions by Schubert, Gluck, and Bizet. He then performed on Sonya Yu's beautiful new harp. He performed these compositions: Dance with Obstacles, written for David by Sonya Yu, The True Meaning of Love, by Migyao Jian, arranged by Sonya Yu, Spanish Dance No. 1 by M. De Falla, transcribed by Grandjany, and La Mandoline by Parish Alvars. His performance was excellent and on both instruments, his technique and execution were brilliant.
Under the guidance of Ms. Sonya Yu, David has won many harp performance awards, including Gold Winner of the Yvonne La Mothe Schwager Harp Competition, May 2013, and Second Place Winner in the US Open Music Competition Instrumental Solo, Senior Event, February 2014. David, an autistic man, is able to compete with normal harp players! It is clear that harp has helped him live a fuller life with autism. 
David feels that spreading word about the harp is very important. Thus, he would like the money he donates to the chapter to go towards supporting FCSN (Friends of Children with Special Needs) and the Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble. The ensemble, lead by Ms. Sonya Yu, is active in the community, having performed at many public events and participated in community service. David hopes that his support can help the ensemble widen its audience, and to promote the fact that learning harp can be helpful for special needs children by holding workshops and fundraisers. 

A Christmas Sampler of Harp and Organ Music

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Members of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American harp Society performed "A Christmas Sampler", seasonal music for Harp and Organ on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at Trinity Cathedral in San Jose. Performing were harpists, Dr. Lynn Bailey, Dr. Brian Swager, Linda Rollo, Gwen Halterman, Sue Dinwiddie, and Debbi Ricks, as well as organists, Dr Bailey, Dr. Swager and Michael Joyce. Mary Ann Fiene accompanied on the cello and Ken Dinwiddie accompanied on the flute.
Special thanks to Martha Bailey for coordinating the concert. Recordings of these performances, as well as selections from previous SVCAHS events can be found at

September 7, 2014 Fall Kickoff Event with Motoshi Kosako
At the Home of Dr. David and Linda Rollo

More than 50 people attended our Fall Kickoff event on September 14 at the beautiful Saratoga home of David and Linda Rollo. We were thrilled to be able to bring jazz harpist, Motoshi Kosako, to perform at the event, and also give a demonstration on harp improvisation. Motoshi has recently performed at the AHS Conference in New Orleans and World Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia, and is on the July/August 2014 cover of Harp Column magazine. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed his performances, as well as the great food, swimming, and interactions with fellow harpists and harp lovers.
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"String Fever" Harp Ensemble Concert

5th Annual Event featured our new
Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble

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On Saturday May 17, 2014, the Silicon Valley Harp Ensemble performed at our chapter's fifth "String Fever" harp ensemble concert. This year's special guests were our newly formed Silicon Valley Youth Harp Ensemble (also called Y.E.S., for Youth Ensemble Success), under the direction of Sonya Yu and Linda Wood Rollo.
Tiffany Jia, Kiki Kang, Haley Park, Kartika Santoso, Sophia Shan, Naomi Sun and Emily Twu on harps were joined by talented flautist Aditi Mahajan and vocalists Nicole and Elise Adamson. The youth ensemble performed
Triptic Dance, Little Waltz, Angry Birds Theme, Two Guitars and Dona Nobis Pacem. Several of the arrangements were done by Sonya Yu and Linda Wood Rollo, and the additions of the young vocalists on Dona Nobis Pacem, as well as flute on two of the selections was charming.
The adult ensemble consisted of Martha Bailey, Annamarie Bettisworth, Meredith Clark, Bob Fonda, Gwen Halterman, Liehwang Hwang, Dan Levitan, Anna Lorenz, Tamara Mead, Celeste Misfeldt, Alexandra Romanoff, Crystal Steinke, Brian Swager, Linda Wood-Rollo and Sonya Yu. Brian Swager also added organ accompaniment and Lynn Bailey conducted the ensemble.
The adult ensemble performed the first and fifth movements of Handel's
Water Music Suite, a Scott Joplin Montage for harp, Salzedo's Chanson dans la nuit, Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5, a jazzy Cindy Horstman arrangement of Wade in the Water, Paul Simon's Cecilia, Flower Duet by Delibes, and a Puccini Medley. The finale was Salzedo's Tango and Rumba, with Dan Levitan and Meredith Clark featured on the Rumba. Video recordings of each piece can be viewed on our Youtube channel.

2014 Student Education Sessions

On February 9 and March 16, SVCAHS again hosted the popular Student Education Sessions, part of the AHS curriculum. Seventeen students participated this year. They performed first for adjudicator Meredith Clark, and then 4 weeks later in a public recital at the beautiful Maryknoll Seminary in Los Altos Hills. The recital was given to a packed house, and the students' performances were outstanding.
We are so grateful for Sonya Yu, who again headed up all of the administrative work of putting on the Sessions. Sonya would like to express appreciation to Mrs. Rollo, Debbi Ricks and Ken and Sue Dinwiddie for their help with the event. She would also like to thank Vivien Lin (Naomi Sun's mother) who provided the harp transportation, and Kiki Kang, who offered her brand new 85 CG for the use in the recital. David Ren's mother, Jennifer Chen, was the photographer. You can view her beautiful photos from the following link:
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Harp Live! Sessions

On Sunday, April 6, members of the SVCAHS and BACAHS (Bay Area Chapter of AHS) joined together at the beautiful Moss Beach home of Gwen and Chuck Halterman. The weather was ideal and the music and snacks were as varied was the harpists and guests. The Halterman home has a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, and the sun on the water was breathtaking. Harp Live performances are varied and different on every occasion. At this one, we learned a little about riffing on Amazing Grace from Laura Simpson. Harp Technician Karen Gottlieb was on the spot to help Beverly Gaines fix her harp that had fallen the day before. Linda Rollo played tantalizing parts of her new volume 4 of Spanish Music for the Harp. Debbi Ricks played a medley of Misty, Jamaica Farewell and Never on a Sunday, and Ken and Sue Dinwiddie played a jazzy rendition for flute and harp.
We also got the chance to play on some Heartland carbon fiber harps, as well as Gwen's two harps. We met three new friends who live and play harp right in the Half Moon Bay area. And you just never know who is going to show up, like special guest, Malcolm McAfee, widower of the late, great harpist, Marcella DeCray.
Harp Live is a wonderful, friendly experience and we invite you to join us for the next one. Check on the upcoming events page for future Harp Live dates

Several other wonderful Harp Live gatherings were held throughout the year at homes from Los Gatos to Palo Alto.

"Pedals, Pipes and Strings" Harp and Organ Concert

On Sunday, January 26, 2014, a program of Harp and Organ Duets was given by SVCAHS harpists and members of the American Guild of Organists, at Trinity Cathedral, in honor of the late Anne Adams.

Playing harp were Debbi Ricks, Celeste Misfeldt, Martha Bailey, Linda Wood Rollo, Dr. Brian Swager and Gwen Halterman. Gwen's sister, Mary, contributed the beauty of the cello with harp and organ. Organists accompanying harps were Dr. Brian Swager, Rev. Dr. Lynn Bailey, and Michael Joyce, organist and choir master at Trinity. Compositions by Pergolesi, Richter/Stearns, Franck, Schubert, Manz, Bach/Gounod, Holy, Busser, and Grandjany sent beautiful vibrations throughout the cathedral.

Thanks to all who performed and put in an enormous amount of effort and rehearsing. Thanks, also, to Debbi Ricks, who provided her harp for everyone to play.

The program was enthusiastically received by a sizable audience. All of the performances were filmed and uploaded to YouTube. They can be viewed on our SVCAHS YouTube channel at:

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