Invited for October 2023
Joyful, centered, and a consummate musician are words that describe the presence and playing of Robbin Gordon-Cartier. Dedicated early to the study of the harp, Gordon-Cartier spent long summers as a young harpist in Ireland studying at the Royal Irish Academy. Since then she has appeared nationally and internationally everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the National Symphony of Santo Domingo, at events honoring Lord Guiness, Cicely Tyson and Sir James Galway. Robbin teaches an extensive and very successful harp program in the East Orange School District’s Cicely Tyson’s School of the Performing Arts where she works to bring the harp to the attention of a wide variety of young people, busting stereotypes. Robbin is a Salvi Concert Artist and has presented a week of master classes and concert at the French ambassador’s residence in Bogoto, Columbia for the Salvi Harp Foundation. Robbin is a sought-after presenter of workshops across the country. Robbin has a CD out, Just As I Am and a book based on her harp story, Robbin -The Girl who didn’t want to Practice” by Dorothy Carey.
Dominique Dodge is a harper and singer who grew up in the White Mountains and now divides her time between New Hampshire and Cape Breton. Her new album, “Cànan nan Teud” (The Language of the Strings) features archivally-sourced Gaelic songs from Cape Breton and explores the relationship between Puirt-à-Beul (mouth music) and traditional dance music. Recorded in live takes at the historic Glencoe Mills Parish Hall in CapeBreton, the project features lively groups of dance tunes played and sung with lift and skill. The sound is buoyed by the warm and resonant fiddle work of Kenneth MacKenzie and Rosie MacKenzie, while percussive dancer Jennie MacKenzie provides the clear, crisp rhythm of leather soles on the hardwood floors of the hall. Choruses are joined by a group of local Gaelic singers.
Dominique has a passion for melody-driven dance music and responsive, rhythmic accompaniment, as well as for Gaelic songs, airs, and 18 th century harp tunes. A former Fulbright Scholar and a 2012 graduate of the University of Limerick with an MA in Irish Music Performance, Dominique also holds a BA Honours in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Dominique is a fluent learner of Scottish Gaelic, a profound influence on her music which continues to shape her sense of rhythm and phrasing. An experienced traditional arts educator, Dominique offers workshops and classes internationally and runs a vibrant teaching studio.
Gráinne Hambly from County Mayo in the west of Ireland is an internationally recognized exponent of the Irish harp, and is in great demand as a performer and teacher, both at home and abroad. Gráinne started to play Irish music on the tin whistle at an early age, before moving on to the concertina and later the harp. She lived in Belfast for six years, where she completed a Masters Degree in Musicology, awarded by Queen’s University (1999). Her main research topic was folk music collections and the harp in 18th-century Ireland. She also completed the Graduate Diploma in Education (Music) at the University of Limerick.
Gráinne has been playing professionally as a solo musician for the past 20 years, and has performed on various occasions in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Colombia, Israel, and Japan, as well as touring extensively in the United States, giving concerts, workshops and masterclasses. She has also toured and recorded with various artists, including the Belfast Harp Orchestra, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann and Irish Christmas In America.
She has attracted glowing praise for her live performances and recorded material, which brilliantly showcase what has been described as her ‘absolute mastery of the Irish harp’. Known for the sensitivity and expressive quality of her air-playing, as well as her dynamic performance of dance tunes, Gráinne’s playing illustrates the full range and scope of this instrument. She specialises in teaching Irish traditional music ‘by ear’ and offers private lessons and intensive tuition options at her home and online, as well as teaching at various annual summer schools and harp festivals.
Gráinne has featured on a number of recordings both as guest artist and accompanist. She has released three critically acclaimed solo CDs, and two books of arrangements. Her most recent collaboration is with Scottish harper William Jackson, with whom she frequently tours. They have released a recording Music from Ireland and Scotland (2009) and published some arrangements for harp ensemble, as well as directing the Music Generation Mayo Harp Ensemble.
Robin Grenon & Gisele Guibord
Since 1996, Robin Grenon and Gisèle Guibord never cease to surprise their fans with their astonishing versatility, sensitivity and virtuosity, presenting their compositions and arrangements in a colorful repertoire of South American, Celtic, popular and world music.
Both musicians began their career in classical music, but gradually turned toward other styles and instruments. Both studied at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, Gisèle as classical organist and Robin as classical guitarist. Fascinated by Latin music, Robin fell under the spell of the Paraguayan harp, which he studied with Eralio Gill. Gisèle, an active concert and church organist, turned to the harp in 1993, when Robin became her teacher. They soon found in each other a kindred spirit in music and in life! They often include pipe organ and South American guitars such as Venezuelan cuatro and Peruvian charango in their concerts. Renowned performers and teachers, they were invited by the Celtic Harpers of Detroit and Windsor, The Toronto Harp Fest, The Northern Lights Harp Fest, CAMMAC Music Camp and the Huron Harp Fest.
The duo also plays with soprano Natalie Choquette (Diva Latina with I Musici de Montréal, The Queen and the Pearl at the Quebec City Summer Festival, Come and Dance at the Orford Festival, Festival Classica (St. Lambert, 2021). Co-founders of Harpissimo-Québec, (the Montreal Chapter of the ISFHC), they contribute greatly to the promotion of Folk Harp playing in Quebec. They have also been awarded the 2010 Desjardins MRC-Roussillon Career Scholarship for their outstanding contribution to the vitality of regional culture.
Mary Ross & Clayton Peters
Harpist/Music Therapist Mary Ross (BMT, MTA) and Percussionist/Music Teacher Clayton Peters (BMus BEd) are a local duo bringing their bright spirit and upbeat drive to music lovers throughout Southwestern Ontario. While both Mary & Clayton were classically trained on their instruments at Wilfrid Laurier University, they foun a passion for Celtic music at Goderich’s own Celtic Roots Festival and love performing as a freelance duo at a variety of events. Individually, Mary maintains a bustling studio of harpists in Goderich as a teacher in the Huron Harp School, works in long-term care homes as a Music Therapist, and is taking the final steps of completing her masters degree and becoming a psychotherapist.
Clayton works as a music teacher at a local high school, is the executive director of a local summer camp, and maintains his own studio of private students, teaching percussion, piano, and guitar. Mary & Clayton are thrilled to join the Huron Harp Festival and look forward to inspiring some rhythmic freedom in their fellow musicians.
Martha Lawrance is a Therapeutic Harp Practitioner (CTHP), certified by the International Harp Therapy Program (IHTP)and accredited by the National Standards Board of Therapeutic Musicians (NSBTM). As a practitioner she attends to individuals physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being while working bedside with patients in post-acute rehabilitation, complex continuing care, and palliative care.
Martha also facilitates all-inclusive, interactive group programs in various long term settings using many different instruments to allow for therapeutic benefits. Martha has taught harp and piano for many years and is a mentor, harp teacher and supervisor of internships through the IHTP. Teaching and educating communities about this complementary care modality through therapeutic workshops and circles is Martha’s passion!
Studying under harpist Marie Lorcini, Martha continued her studies at the Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario. She has played professionally for years with affiliations such as the London Symphony, Theatre London, and the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony.
Debbie Brewin Wilson
“My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire, May touch the heart.” said Robert Burns. There is nothing ‘hamely’ about Debbie Brewin-Wilson’s artistry as a musician and singer, and the combination of these skills with her passion for Robert Burns results in music that echoes ‘the wood note wild’ as Burns describes the natural and unpretentious singing he liked best. An experienced performer and teacher, Debbie’s repertoire includes many traditional Scots ballads and tunes.
She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and serves as Priest-in Charge of St. Mary’s By-the-Sea in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. Debbie has released four solo CDs: three of them–Dream of Caledonia, Roots and Wings, and Love Came Down at Christmas—are a mix of original and traditional songs. The fourth, Wisdom Waits, is a collection of original chants to use with Centering Prayer or meditation. With her friend Kathy DeAngelo, she founded the Harpers’ Escape more than a quarter century ago (and was co-author of the Escape tunebooks, Ten Years of Tunes and Ten More Years of Tunes). Debbie has also published three song an harp arrangement collections: Burns for Bairns and Wood Notes Wild and the Harp of My King, a compilation of Celtic Tunes New & Old for Christian Worship, which also includes a companion CD.
Sharon Johnston, B. Mus., is a well-established musician in midwestern Ontario, performing frequently on harp and piano. She runs a busy studio in Goderich, where she directs the Huron Harp School, which has over 35 students ranging from 6 year olds, to seniors. She is a composer, arranger, and recording artist, the most recent being a 2015 solo harp CD entitled Stone and Sand. Sharon is equally at home with classical music in concert settings, organizing harp circles with student performers, or jamming with folk musicians in local pubs.
Sharon is, above all, a teacher, whose mandate is that all students, regardless of musical experience or training, can make music together. She has nurtured a vibrant harp community where students can be found at weddings, churches, pubs, sometimes even on the beach.. Thanks to Sharon, Huron County boasts more harps per capita than anywhere else in Canada!