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1ST Annual Scottish & Welsh + HARP DAY (SWHD) “Harp Competition”, “Try Harp” & “Harp Workshops”

May 6, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

1ST Annual Scottish & Welsh+ HARP DAY (SWHD) “Harp Competition”, “Try Harp” & “Harp Workshops” in Fredericksburg. VA on May 6, 2017

A new cultural and educational Celtic event is being held in Fredericksburg, VA on Saturday, May 6th at the Homewood Suites by Hilton (near Expo Center).  Three(3) events make up the day: 1. “Scottish & Welsh+ HARP COMPETITION” sanctioned by the Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) and judged by Sue Richards, 2. “Try The Harp For Yourself” lead by Re McArthur, and 3. “Scottish & Welsh Harp Music Workshop” co-lead by Sue Richards and Mary Triola.  For the Harp Competition, consult BOTH the SHSA rules published on www.shsa.org/competitions/rules-handbook/  and SWHD rules (relating to Scottish, Welsh & other Celtic tunes usage) are available via www.swHarpDay.org

All day long, harpers/harpists can park and bring in their harps or drive to the front door and drop off their harps.  The driveway and entrances to the hotel are level.  The meeting room is near the doorway.

CHECK-IN TIME FOR HARP COMPETITION is 9:00AM for pre-registered entries; 8:30AM for On-Site late registration.

 To Enter, go to www.swHarpDay.org and email a Registration Packet request. If a completed registration is USPS postmarked by April 20th you can mail in your registration to the address shown.

 If you enter after April 20th, please register ON-SITE at 8:30AM.


  1. BEGINNER SOLO (just begun learning to play harp): Play one (1) Scottish or Welsh tune, either with or without music, so that the melody is recognizable. Beginners receiving scores of 80% or more in two competition years must compete at the Intermediate level their next competition year.
  1. INTERMEDIATE SOLO: Play two (2) Welsh tunes or one Welsh tune and one Scottish tune. The two tunes are to be of two different rhythms. Play either with or without music, so that each melody is recognizable and with some musicality.  Tunes do not necessarily need to be played at speed but with rudimentary Welsh or Scottish rhythm and expression, as applicable.  Intermediates receiving scores of 80% or more in two competition years, must compete at the Advanced level their next competition year.
  1. ADVANCED SOLO: Play three (3) Welsh tunes, of which two Celtic tunes may be substituted from Scotland or other Celtic cultures. The three tunes are to be of three different rhythms of contrasting style.


  1. THEME & VARIATION (T/V): Can be an arrangement by a recognized Welsh composer such as John Parry or Nansi Richards, or it can be a four-, eight-, or sixteen- measure phrase which is played as the theme, or statement, and then played again several times and varied by adding notes or changing the phrases slightly. Changing the key does not apply here, but changing the time signature is acceptable. The last few notes usually are consistently the same in each variation.       Or present T/V as heard/learned by ear from players such as Robin Huw Bowen,  Llio Rhydderch, Cheryl Fulton, etc.  There are some lovely recordings, and are as close as most American harpists may come to learning from traditional players, or other Americans who have learned from Welsh harpists.
  1. SINGING WITH THE HARP: Includes singing a song with harp accompaniment or singing a story with harp accompaniment. The harpist can sing a song or story while playing their harp or the harpist can play the harp while they accompany a singer (or a song or story). NOTE: Judging addresses the quality of the harp accompaniment, not the voice or story. Is it appropriate?  Is it interesting?  Does it add to the voice/story?  Is the balance good between the voice and harp?  Does it entertain the audience?
  1. MEDIEVAL STYLE HARP WITH PERIOD REPERTOIRE: For harpists who want to play wire-strung, bray harps, or other historic style harps with repertoire that would have been played during the period that the particular harp/historic harp was common.
  1. HARP ENSEMBLE (all harps): When two or more harps play together.


  1. All Music must be Celtic (Scotland and Wales first, then Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, Isle of Man, Galicia).
  2. Harpers/Harpists of any age may enter and be eligible for a medal and awards. They may also choose to play for Judge’s comments only and need not be considered for a medal and awards. If you’re going to play, why not enter anyway? Lots to gain; nothing to lose. Have FUN. Play your best for that day – that’s all any one can do.
  3. Competitors may enter one solo category and one or more special categories.
  4. Competitors are responsible for knowing and complying with the rules. Consult BOTH the SHSA Competitor’s Handbook and the SWHD Competitor’s Handbook.
  5. The Judge’s decisions are final.

Harpers/Harpists are encouraged to participate in the “Workshop” and “Try the Harp” too. Make it a FUN day!


1st, 2nd and 3rd place Medals in each solo category.

Best Scottish Tune Award

Best Welsh Tune Award

2nd Highest Placing Youth Harpist Award & Somerset Harp Festival Scholarship

Highest Placing Youth Harpist Award & Somerset Harp Festival Scholarship & “Backup” Harpist to Perform on Stage

Highest Placing Open Harpist Award & Somerset Harp Festival Scholarship & “Backup” Harpist to Perform on Stage

Harpist of the Day Award & Principal Harpist to Perform on Stage



9:00 am Harp Competition REGISTRATION; 8:30AM for On-Site “Late” Registration


12:30 – 1:30 pm TRY THE HARP   (or 4:45 – 5:15pm if the harp competition needs to continue)

Interested in the harp but don’t know where to start?  Give it a go – COME TRY!  Lead by Re McArthur.

2:00 – 4:45 pm WORKSHOP & HARP CIRCLE

In honor of Harp Day’s featured countries of Scotland and Wales, our Judge Sue Richards (Scottish harper – US National Scottish Harp Champion), and co-presenter Mary Triola (Welsh harpist – plays folk, double, triple, wire and bray harps), are teaching Scottish and Welsh tunes and techniques for harp.  To start, Sue and Mary are each playing a special tune for you.  An informal Harp Circle is part of the experience – a tradition of harpers/harpists getting together to share tunes, chat, and have fun!

PUBLIC is welcome!


Next year – same place, same time on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

For more information go to www.scottishandwelshharpday.com


May 6, 2017
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
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