Are you ready to JAM? Prescott Folk Fest is Coming UP!

Are you ready to JAM?

Annually, Sharlot Hall Museum hosts its Folk Music Festival to the delight of fans from throughout Arizona and the neighboring states for two days of music and merriment.

I’ll be playing there on Sunday, October 2, with my buddy, Rick Boyle. We’re called Begged and Borrowed. Also, if you’re there on Saturday the 1st, check out my workshop: I’ve always wanted to Play the Harp. I’ll have 10 or more baby harps available for you to use to take your first lesson – loads of fun are in store!

More than 200 musicians… 90 performances… four different venues… all on the four-acre campus in downtown Prescott, Arizona, as we celebrate 38 years of folk music at this recognized and heralded festival set for Saturday and Sunday, October 1 & 2.

First Friday

Sorry this post is last minute and on the fly – I’ll be playing for First Friday  tonight. Arizona Center stop, 6 – 8 pm. Hope to see you there!

High Desert Harpers at the Musical Instrument Museum

We had a load of fun, playing at the MIM on the Saturday before St. Paddy’s Day. The museum had Celtic performances throughout the weekend, and there was a lot to listen to. Kudos to  Dé Máirt Ceol; their session was rollicking and fun!

My group, the High Desert Harpers, played twice on each of Saturday and Sunday. Here is one of our pieces; I’m on flute on this one. The Butterfly is a well-known slip jig.

It’s Easy Being Green

St. Patricks Day – the day all Irish musicians are waiting for – and it will be a busy one this year. Here’s a rundown of where you can catch some good music.

Front: Clara Arnold, Laura Goldstein.  Back: Shannon Schumann, Jacqi Musselman, Jocelyn Obermeyer

* Friday night – I’m playing with the Strand at Fiddler’s Dream Coffeehouse, at Glendale and 17th Street, in Phoenix.  Tucked away behind the Quaker church, you might miss it if you blink, but it’s a real gem in Phoenix. Admission is $6, coffee/tea/cookies are $1 each, and profits go to local food banks.

* Saturday – Again, with the Strand, I’m playing at the annual Phoenix Irish Festival, at the Irish Cultural Center in Downtown Phoenix. Worried about parking in downtown Phoenix? It’s on the light rail! $10 admission gets you in the gate for a full day of family-filled fun.

* Still worried about parking? Check out the MIM for “Discovering Ireland” all weekend. I’ll be rushing up to the corner of Tatum and Mayo (blvd, not county!) for appearances with the High Desert Harpers at 1:45, and again on Sunday at 11:45 and 1:45.

* Ironically, things settle down on the actual day. In honor of “Random Acts of Harping Month,” which is really in June, but it’s just too hot in Phoenix for that, so we do it in March, I’ll be playing at, well, random locations. That night, it’s a private event with the Strand.

* And Tuesday I will sleeeeeeep.

Community Music Night at Changing Hands

Join us at Changing Hands Bookstore this Friday from 6:30 – 8:30 for another Community Music Night. A variety of local musicians share the spotlight and “strum their stuff.” I’ll be playing two sets — solo, and with the Strand.

Come early and have dinner at the Wildflower Cafe next door. You’ll be glad you did!

http://www.changinghands.com/event/musicnight-jun13

http://www.wildflowerbread.com/

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

From the Glendale Folk Festival – Hana Halverson, accompanied by me.

The Strand at Third Place Cup Coffee 7/28/12

I’m playing with the Strand at 7pm this Saturday night at Third Place Cup Coffee, in Queen Creek. Come check us (and them) out. Hana Halverson’s lovely voice graces us as a special guest!

 A reliable destination for live music and entertainment in Queen Creek, Third Cup is a newly opened non profit.

21805 S Ellsworth Rd, Queen Creek, Arizona

The Strand at Sozo Coffeehouse Saturday!

Come hear the Strand perform at Sozo Coffeehouse this coming Saturday, 7/21, from 7 – 8:30 pm. We’ll be playing lots of traditional Irish, Celtic, and some American music. Rick Boyle on guitar, bouzouki, and vocals, Steve Pawlowski on guitar, bodhran, and vocals, moi on flute, whistles, harp, and vocals.

Sozo is “coffee with a cause,”  and donates a portion of all sales to local, national, and international charities. So not only will you hear some good music, you’ll do some good for the world, too.

Flagstaff Folk Festival

If you are sick and tired of the Phoenix heat, why not head up to Flagstaff for the 11th annual Flagstaff Folk Festival? I’ll be playing with the Strand in the main amphitheater at 11:30 on Saturday. Better yet, take the week off from work, stop in Flagg for the weekend, on your way up to the Grand Canyon. You know you want to!

Why Do You Need Live Music? Part I

David Ice - Harpist

David Ice (pictured above) is a fabulous Phoenix harpist. He is also an entertaining writer, and gets to the point in a way we can all appreciate. Here is an open letter to a bridal magazine, which he posted in the Harpcolumn (membership required to view forum posts)

As a vendor at the recent Bridal Fashion Debut bridal show in Phoenix, Arizona on June 10, 2012 I was given a copy of your magazine.

What distressed me was an article. In it the author states “if the DJ’s already there for the reception, you just have to adjust the time for the ceremony…..it’s cheaper than bringing a harpist or a guitar player in.”

The advantages of having a live musician—an instrumentalist—for the ceremony are huge, and I feel this has been totally neglected and our contributions ignored. Indeed, with the possible exception of the Phoenix Boy’s Choir, I can find no other ceremony musicians advertising in your magazine. And, given the above statement, I can guess why.

Why do I feel this way? Let me explain, and please, really think about what I’m saying.

Let us assume that a DJ is providing the ceremony music for a wedding ceremony. Now, I’m not picking on DJs at all. This is just the physical reality of how things are.

All it takes is one lost bobby pin and all the timings, rehearsals, and planning go out the window. The ring bearer starts to cry, and simply refuses to go down the aisle. (I see this more often than not!)

The DJ has 73 seconds of recorded processional music. And the kid refuses to budge. What is the DJ going to do? All he can do is hit REPEAT.

A live musician can do much better. For example, I can realize what is happening, and think to myself, “okay, go back to bar 17, play up to bar 26, then vamp on bars 23-26 until the kid starts moving, and then jump to the coda.” Voila….a processional that times out perfectly. If I need an additional 22 seconds of music—or 8—I can make it work. A DJ has no other option than hit REPEAT and fade out. Think about this. Play a CD….hit repeat at the end of a tune, and then fade it out at random. This is exactly what the audience will hear.

Conversely, you can rehearse a processional until you are blue in the face—but at the actual event, people are nervous and can practically run down the aisle. Your 73 seconds of music must now be cut to 42 seconds. A live musician can do it. The DJ has no option but to just fade it out—just like turning down your car radio.


And more often than not—we’ve ALL done it—you hit the wrong button or hit it too many times on your CD player, your iPod, your computer—and the wrong track plays. Another vendor told me about a wedding where the Canon in D didn’t repeat…what came on was the Theme from The Tonight Show. Oops. I’ve personally heard a DJ start the first dance for the bride and groom and hit the wrong button on his computer, and what came out the speakers could only be described in polite company as The F-Bomb Deluxe.

Similarly, having a family member sing to a karoke track can be hysterically awful. People get nervous and emotional, and it’s a rare wedding where something does not go wrong using a pre-recorded track. I was at a wedding on Sunday where the singer (a family friend) got nervous, and was soon 4 or 5 bars out-of-sync with the track. It was truly awful. A live musician can follow and accompany appropriately. But a mechanical recorded track marches on regardless of whatever problems the singer is having!

Another personal story: I had a bride ready to go down the aisle. I got the cue from her, and started Here Comes The Bride. A couple of seconds later, I looked up to see where she was. She was nowhere to be seen!!!

I started adapting and vamping. It was the longest 90 seconds of my life—did she get cold feet? Was she the proverbial “runaway bride”??

She finally reappeared. It seems she forgot her bouquet, and ran off to find it!

Had it been a DJ, he would have had no option than to hit REPEAT several times. And it would have been immediately obvious that something was wrong.

As it was, I was able to vamp a very long Fanfare and Introduction to the classic Wagner processional—while aging about 10 years in the process—praying she would reappear! But in the end it was seamless and nobody knew what had happened.

If a bride is spending huge sums for everything else to be perfect, why gamble on the ceremony music? Would you advise, “don’t worry about shoes, nobody looks at your feet anyway”? Music is the emotional glue that holds the ceremony together! Has there ever been a wedding guest who stated, “Every time I see a pink lisianthus I cry remembering your wedding” or “every time I see a Vera Wang #1729 I think of your wedding”?

But people will say, “Every time I hear that song, I think of your wedding.”
Since the music is so important, isn’t it equally important to make sure it fits, it is in sync, and it is as flawless as possible? DJs can only do so much. A live musician can do so much more.

Sincerely,

David M. Ice

I  mean, which would you rather have – this…

Or this?

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