The Sunset Serenade Project at Rio Vista Natural Resource Park on February 17, 2013

The Sunset Serenade Project had a rocky February that ended sweetly. The performance was first scheduled for February 10, but then it snowed! As I couldn't play in the snow or if it was too cold, we rescheduled for February 17.

Lorna playing at Rio Vista Natural Resources Park.

Lorna playing at Rio Vista Natural Resources Park.

The 17th was just beautiful. I scheduled to play a little earlier than sunset, at 4PM, just to maximize the heat of the day. About four families we knew from Max's preschool came out so it was extra nice to have such a big audience. I played right next to the playground so we also had a number of little listeners as well.

The Silver Lyre Concert: January 30, 2013

For the last three years, I've worked with Dr. Anne Kilmer, UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Assyriology, on an ancient music project where we worked together to compose new music set to ancient Mesopotamian texts on Anne's replica of the Silver Lyre. The Silver Lyre is an ancient lyre from the city of Ur ca. 2600 B. C. E.  

The concert, on January 30, 2013 at the Academy Village, went extremely well, "awesome!", I'd like to say. However, Anne was feeling quite ill that day and could not make it. Her presence was greatly missed.

We had about 80 concert attendees with many wonderful questions about the ancient music and instruments from this time period. I did my best, but there a few of the questions of course could have only been answered by Anne. All in all though it was a wonderful time with good energy and a great audience.

I put up a video of The Flood Story from The Gilgamesh Epic - please enjoy!

The Sunset Serenade Project on 1 - 19 - 13

This Sunset Serenade project was 3 miles down the road from our home. Our friend Amber Brewton, who is a photographer, joined us on this Sunset Serenade and took lovely photos.

Max, my ever enthusiastic audience member.

Max, my ever enthusiastic audience member.

Thanks, Amber!! They are beautiful!

Also, Amber suggested calling the project the Sunset Serenade Project. I was looking for another S-word to go along with "Sunset" and this was the perfect suggestion. Think I'll keep it.

I set up at the edge of the field near the children's play area, across from the skate park. A birthday party was just winding down and Amber caught a neat shot of the sunset peeking behind the bouncy castle. I started to play, and a few songs in a nice couple, out for a walk, came by to listen to the set. Max buzzed around me the whole set, giving me little hugs. Jeremy chased down Violet the entire outing; she was being extra energetic in the play area. Later, after the set was over and Amber, Max, and I were drinking some watery Swiss Miss (I will bring hot milk in a thermos next time), two inquisitive teenage boys came up to ask about the harp and what we were doing there. 

Lovely company, lovely sunset, lovely music.

The bouncy castle in the sunset.

The bouncy castle in the sunset.

Violet, giving Jeremy a workout.

Violet, giving Jeremy a workout.

A nice couple out for a walk stopped by.

A nice couple out for a walk stopped by.

The Sunset Project at El Presidio 12-21-12!

The first Sunset Project Performance was fun! Jeremy came along and we set up near the fountain with a good view of the sun. The set was perfectly timed, the sun was down on the last tune.

The music flowed well and joy was jumping from strings. Ah yes! Good stuff. I had some appreciative visitors and listeners.

One lesson learned: the garage at Church street isn't that far from El Presidio when I have my Celtic harp but it sure is far when I have my pedals with me. So...note to self...parking, be more vigilant taking note of where it is. There were spaces right next to the park that I completely missed upon my scouting trip a few weeks earlier.

But all in all, it was fun and I will be playing again really soon!

The sun is setting in El Presidio Park

The sun is setting in El Presidio Park

My Silver Lyre (replica-replica)!

David Kortier is working on a replica of Anne's Silver Lyre replica for me.

I am getting the "new harp" butterflies waiting for it. Yes! I know it is not a harp. But I still feel the excitement of getting a new instrument to grace the home growing.

Of course when I started the Silver Lyre project with Anne, I wondered if making my own Silver Lyre would be possible. As far as instrument construction goes, it is on the simpler end of things and Anne told me that a number of carpenter hobbyists built them over the years based on the information she had on file. I thought briefly about building it myself but quickly decided that would be a disaster. I love to build but not much time to learn to build something so fine, even if it was a simpler design.

So, who did I know of in the harp building community who builds historical replicas and has a flair for taking on a challenge? Out-of-the-box maker David Kortier! From his midi-harps to his faithfully reproduced historical Irish wire harps, I knew he would make something great.

Anne went through her records and found an excellent vellum drawing of the Silver Lyre replica that Robert R. Brown drew years ago. Also, she had slides of the Lyre replica's construction as it was framed out. We took extra pictures of the replica's bridge and sent information on the strings we used...and from there, David was ready to start building. 

Here are some of the pictures from the build. So very very exciting!!!

The Frame assembled

The Frame assembled

lyre2.jpg
lyre3.jpg
The frame standing

The frame standing

Upcoming Performance: The FIRST Sunset Project in Action!

The FIRST Sunset Project performance

I will playing in the sunset with a 20 minute set of beautiful nature inspired music.

Friday, December 21st at 5PM, I will be playing in El Presidio Park, right behind the old courthouse next to the fountain. Good cross streets to be able to find me are Church and Alameda. There public parking at El Presidio Garage under El Presidio Park at  160 West Alameda Street. I also like La Placita Garage at 211 S. Church Avenue.

Bring a chair if you'd like and enjoy a few sweet moments in peace at the end of the day with me.

I'll bring a couple of extra chairs and a thermos of hot chocolate!

Max at El Presidio Park next to the fountain

Max at El Presidio Park next to the fountain

About the Sunset Project

I want to take the opportunity to enhance someone's day and play beautiful music at a sacred time, during the setting of the sun, witnessing all of the gorgeous colors that the Tucson sky can give us.

The concept is that I will pick a public spot to play on a chosen Friday at Sunset. I will bring my harp, some chairs, and good company. I will play for 20 minutes, as the sun goes down.

This collection my music is all inspired by natural themes including the twilight, the beginning of summer, drinking with friends, autumn leaves, a good day and the stars. I am so very very excited to share it with you.

The plan is that I will perform at Sunset on a Friday at least once a month. I would like to perform weekly but I need to see how things go for the first few performances as far as effort and energy are concerned, and to make sure I can come up with enough outdoor spots to play. 

Scouting out playing the first Sunset for the Sunset Project

Max, Vi and I headed out last Friday afternoon at 4PM to find the best place downtown to play the first ever Sunset for the Southwest Harp Sunset Project. 

We first checked out the main library square. There is a gorgeous red metal sculpture right in the middle of the square and it would be really neat to play right inside of it.

The downside was that it didn't have too many people sitting around there at that time. Mostly people biking through or walking. And not too many people even doing that. Also, the whole square is surrounded by traffic. The cars aren't too loud, but you can hear them.

Right outside the main library

Right outside the main library

The next place we checked out was behind El Presidio Hall. There is a beautiful water fountain there, which Max adored and climbed on. There were lots of people sitting around and talking. It felt peaceful. 

Though the sun wasn't in full view, if it were a cloudy day, the sunset colors would be apparent. 

So this will be the spot we chose for the first Sunset Performance, with approval from Max.

Behind El Presidio Hall

Behind El Presidio Hall

The last place we looked was near the courthouse. Max and Vi were both getting cranky and tired so this is as far as we got. Through the building, it looks like something really pretty might be on the other side. i drove by after we got in the car and saw an inkling of something interesting but couldn't make it out. Something to check out another time, or at least research a bit!

In front of the courthouse

In front of the courthouse

Procession of Little Angels 2012

Mara McConnel's third harp ensemble at Procession of Little Angels sounded lovely this year. We played some new selections and some from last year. All of the practicing and rehearsing paid off as we sounded great!

I brought Jeremy, Max and Vi to this year's event. The last two years, I brought Max and Grandma Nancy, so this was a first for Jeremy and Vi. Max had a fun time as always, did a few crafts and ran about in the park. Vi is at an age now where she wants to toddle everywhere out of arms, much to the chagrin of Daddy.

Jeremy took some great pictures before gathering up the kids to go. Most of the pics he took of me were accomplished with Vi in one arm, the camera in the other.

Many thanks to my hard working hubby!

Vi and Max running behind the festivities in Armory Park

Vi and Max running behind the festivities in Armory Park