Sylvia Woods Harp Center
August 2020 Newsletter
Sylvia in poppies
One of the many good things that have been happening in the past few months is that harp players have been coming together "virtually" to create amazing collaborative videos. I'm proud to have been part of the Harps for Harmony project that used my Pachelbel's Canon arrangement. Check out this awesome video in the following article.

The rest of this August issue is a "blast from the past" way back to the 1980s. For example, this 1981 photo of me is the color version of the image used on the Folk Harp Journal cover in September 1983.

I hope you enjoy this trip back in time.

Harps for Harmony: A Global Collaboration
This past January, I received an email from Mary Dunsford of Harps North West in the U.K. She said they were planning to use my arrangement of Pachelbel's Canon as part of a global project. "We are inviting harpists from all over the world to send recordings of themselves playing any 4-bar part of your arrangement (in D) to create a video montage piece that celebrates the global community."

Mary asked if I would be part of this collaboration. I was happy to support the project, and I recorded and sent them my submission.

The video was completed in June and posted on YouTube. Mary said that 109 harpists participated, with 196 videos submitted. The youngest harpist was only five years old. You'll see me in the lower right corner of this image from the video, wearing my Hawaiian lei.
Here's more information about Harps North West from their website:
Harps North West is a registered charity whose main aim is to promote playing, teaching and appreciation of the harp. We offer lots of exciting opportunities for people in North West England to learn more about this beautiful and fascinating instrument.
1983 "Harp Center News"
1983 News
Thirty-seven years ago, in the fall of 1983, I created and mailed the first issue of the Sylvia Woods Harp Center News: "Dedicated to the Advancement of Humanity Through the Players and Music of the Celtic Harp." It was printed on 15" x 22" newsprint paper. This publication was the precursor of the mail-order catalogs that I sent to harp players worldwide from 1984 through 2012. The "newsy" aspect of this initial publication lives on in the e-newsletter that you are currently reading.

I'm not sure how many issues of the News I created. The only other issue I can find in my archives is Number 2 from Spring 1985.

Recently, I thought it would be fun to re-visit what was going on back in 1983. In this article, all words in red-type are quotes from this first issue of the News, and black-type words are my comments today.
Piglet with Harp
PIGLET PLUCKS: Any of you who subscribe to the Disney Channel on cable TV may be aware of a new harper in our midst. Yes, on a recent episode of "Welcome to Pooh Corner," Piglet played a small harp! He tried to teach Pooh, Owl, and Eeyore how to play, but Piglet was definitely the most talented of the bunch. Keep up the good work, Piglet, and let us know when you'll be giving your first recital!

This was the first article in the News. There were no illustrations. The plush Piglet shown here is one of my current prized possessions. It has a place of honor in the living room of my new home. I have always been a big fan of "all things Pooh." My employee Rachel Jones stayed up until 3 am one night in about 2005 to be sure she won this cute plush animal in the eBay auction as a gift for me. Thank you, Rachel!

Since I love Pooh, my 1998 harp arrangement of Kenny Loggins' House at Pooh Corner / Return to Pooh Corner sheet music and PDF are part of our sale this month.
The second article is an excellent example of "we've come a long way, baby!"

AN APPLE A DAY: Many students at the Sylvia Woods Harp Center now have a new additional instructor: an Apple II Computer. Yes, the computer age has finally come to the aid of the music student (and teacher). The program is called "Apple Music Theory." It is extremely easy to use, and it helps teach many important skills: music reading, notes, rhythm, and ear training. In many of the drills, the computer even plays music. What will they think of next?

Check out the Useful Music Apps page on my current website to see how far we have come!
Brandiswhiere LP
My Harp of Brandiswhiere LP (yes, it was that long ago!), cassette and book came out in 1982, so several articles were about this Suite for Celtic Harp.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Sylvia's highly acclaimed album, The Harp of Brandiswhiere, has recently won two major awards. The first was presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films for the "best fantasy album of the year." The second was a Special Popular Award given by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). If you haven't heard this beautiful suite, don't hesitate. Order your copy TODAY!

CRITICS CORNER: Sylvia's album, The Harp of Brandiswhiere, has been getting rave reviews from many magazines and newspapers, as well as celebrities. Here are some of the things they've been saying.

"With gratitude and thanks for her lovely, lovely record - - which touched my heart!" - Ray Bradbury, author

"The best parts of Woods' album are the simplest -- the haunting and theme-establishing Legend, the singing tones and virile nature of Dialogue with a Brook, the breathy calm of Lament and Morning Calm. Gypsy Mirage and Gourenspur are evocative tone poems that would have fit into The Dark Crystal." - Richard Harrington, The Washington Post

"This suite ranks as her finest moment, and it is essential listening for anyone following or taking up an interest in contemporary harp music." - Ken Hunt, Swing 51 Magazine, London, England

"The best of the bunch is Sylvia Woods. The music is serene, and the story is certainly captivating." - Marc Bristol, The Mother Earth News
Shawna 1983
I included an interview with 17-year-old Shawna Culotta, who had started taking lessons with me six years earlier. Here's my favorite section of her interview.

HCN: Have you played in any harp competitions?
SHAWNA: Yes, I played in the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann national competition in New York, and won first place.
HCN: Congratulations! Did competing help your playing?
SHAWNA: Definitely. It made me feel like I was a musician.
HCN: How does it feel to be a good musician?
SHAWNA: It feels like being a bad musician, except a lot better.

Shawna's last name is now Selline. She was the featured composer in my August 2015 e-newsletter. Her Selected Pieces for Harp and Flute PDF is part of this month's 15% off sale.
Angel Bear Stamp
BEARLY ANGELIC: Our new friend, the bear angel, plays beautiful music on his heart-shaped harp. This bear is a rubber stamp who can brighten up your stationery, Christmas gifts, lunch bags, or anything you'd like to stamp. Help stamp out bare paper with our bear stamp!

And, before you ask . . . sorry, we no longer sell this cute stamp.
I encouraged people to join he International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen and subscribe to the Folk Harp Journal. I also announced the upcoming first International Folk Harp Convention in San Diego, August 9 - 12, 1984.
(See my article below for more information about the Folk Harp Journal.)
Since I had recently purchased a triple-strung harp from Jay Witcher, I wrote articles about the Welsh triple harp LPs I was selling by Nansi Richards and the group Ar Log. I also included my transcription of the Welsh tune Y Delynn Newydd (The New Harp) from Ar Log's first album.
(You can read more about Nansi, Ar Log, and the triple harp in my recent March 2020 e-newsletter.)
Y Delynn Newydd
Irish Coin Pendant
Additional articles were about other products for sale in the News, including T-shirts with an Irish Harp on the front, harp jewelry cut from actual Irish coins, my Teach Yourself, and Songs of the Harp books, and the Boss Chromatic Tuner.

I mailed the News to harp players in the U.S. There was an order form on the back. Customers had to pay by check, and include a "whopping" $3.00 shipping charge for their entire order! My, how times have changed in the past four decades.
1983 Folk Harp Journal - September issue
FHJ 1983
My photo was on the cover of the September 1983 Folk Harp Journal, and Roberta MacAvoy interviewed me for the issue. Here's an excerpt from this six-page interview where I talk about the state of the harp.

BERTIE: About the future of the folk harp: do you think it's a fad, or will it continue to become increasingly popular?
SYLVIA: It will definitely keep growing. I think we've just begun. Now it is in the infancy of a renaissance. The first step will be achieved when everyone knows that folk harps exist. We still haven't reached that point. If you stop your normal Joe on the street and say "What is a folk harp?" or, "What is an Irish harp?" or, "What is a Harper?", they'll look at you as though you're from Mars. They haven't any idea.
BERTIE: I know. People stop and ask me "What is that?" I tell them "It's a harp," and they reply, "No, what IS it, really?"
SYLVIA: That's right. We've all had those experiences. So the first step is just to let the people know that the instrument exists, and the second step is for every home to have a harp, just as they used to have pianos.
BERTIE: Do you think that's feasible? When there was a piano in every household, nobody in the family was expected to tune it.
SYLVIA: True, but still, that's the direction in which we're going, and we've only begun. I've had experiences of showing the harp to thousands of people in one weekend who have never seen a harp before, and making the harp accessible to them; letting them touch one and play on one. Most people don't know what they are, but once they've been introduced, a certain percentage automatically want to play. They say, "This is what I've been looking for forever." Either they've always wanted to play a pedal harp but knew they could never afford one, or they merely see it and remember something from somewhere, and are attracted to it, often for reasons they don't understand themselves.
BERTIE: Memories of past incarnations, presumably.
SYLVIA (reserving judgment): Could be. All through history the harp has always been magical and - well, special as an instrument.
BERTIE: Do you think our harps themselves are going to change a lot or improve a lot?
SYLVIA: Yes, I think harps will continue to get better. Those who are working at building them are improving constantly. I think in a lot of ways harps made today are a lot better than most of those made ten years ago. And with the technology of today, we can make them better. Of course, whether they're better now than they were centuries ago is another matter, I'm sure that they're quite different. But I think that from where we are now, they're definitely going to get better.

You can purchase PDF versions of back issues of the Folk Harp Journal for 99 cents each at
New PDFs on
Royal Harper
Some of our favorite arrangers have been using their "at-home time" to create new music. Here are a few of the PDFs that I've added to my site recently.

Rhett Barnwell - Gift of Love PDF - harp solo

Diana Stork - California Celtic PDF - solos or duets

I'm also happy to introduce a new composer, Stephanie Claussen.
Her Moss, Wood, and Thicket PDF is subtitled: "That feeling you get when you think about The Lord of the Rings."

Here's more good news! Denise Grupp-Verbon's popular Lever Drill and Pedal Drill books are now available as PDF downloads.

Do you need a break from practicing your harp? Why not start a beautiful new cross-stitch project!
Amy Clough has created two new patterns for you.
The Clarsair II PDF cross-stitch pattern
The Royal Harper PDF cross-stitch pattern

Please note: None of the products in this section are part of this month's sale.
This month's sale
This month's sale features music mentioned in the 1983 Harp Center News, and other music copyrighted in the 1980s. The code word is News
To get the 15% discount on the products below, enter the code word News in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by August 30, 2020. For more information, see the "How to get the 15% discount" section at the bottom of this newsletter.

CD or mp3s by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
Book or PDF by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
book or PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
PDF for flute and harp
by Shawna Selline
15% off with News code
sheet or PDF
by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
by Leonard Cohen,
copyright 1985
arranged by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
including three songs
copyrighted in the 1980s
arranged by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
with nine pieces copyrighted
in the 1980s
arranged by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
includes pieces copyrighted
in the 1970s and 1980s
arranged by Sylvia Woods
15% off with News code
How to get the 15% discount
15% off select sale items when you use the code word News

Our newsletter promo codes are redeemable online and are only valid for the products featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone or email orders. This month's code word is News, and it is valid for 15% off the select PDFs in the sale section above. Just because an item is mentioned somewhere in this newsletter doesn't mean that it is on sale. It must be in the sale section.  
Here's how to get your newsletter discount at
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word News in the "Promo Code" box and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered and the percentage amount of the discount.  
REMEMBER: you must enter this month's code word News in the Promo Code box and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by August 30, 2020 to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order, email Sylvia immediately.  
Offer expires at the end of the day on 8/30/2020.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
Lihue, Hawaii
(808) 212-9525