Strike the Harp: An Autoharp Celebration
In 1992, a band of technologically competent autoharp enthusiasts established an internet-based discussion group that they whimsically dubbed 'The Cyberpluckers.' As the internet became more universally accessible, the group thrived, drawing autoharpers from ages 18 to 90 and sparking discussion on everything from finger picks and technique to festivals and performance anxiety. No matter what else has been on the table for discussion over the years, the question 'What are you playing these days?' has always been interesting and relevant. And every November those who are out performing in their communities report on their favorite songs and tunes for the holiday season, often inspiring another member of the community to learn a new song or to recall an old favorite. It was almost Christmastime in 2008 when Cyberplucker Charlotte Fairchild commented that for all the talk about Christmas repertoire, she had found it difficult to find holiday-oriented recordings that included autoharp. And she mused aloud how interesting it might be if everyone who had learned holiday music could get together and make a CD. Having produced a Cyberplucker collection of Stephen Foster's music played on autoharp in 1999, I idly commented that we could certainly do the same for Christmas music, and within 24 hours found myself at the center of an enthusiastic crowd of potential contributors. Neal Walters volunteered to do the engineering, Coleen Walters jumped onboard as production assistant, and Rini Twait agreed to contribute her skills for the package graphics. As a group we chose a title for the CD, set deadlines, and off we went. The CD described here is the result of that collaboration: 47 tracks, all uniquely different, and each imbued with the energy that on an ordinary CD might have gone into an entire CD. And every track features the autoharp in a flattering setting created by someone who loves the instrument. Hopefully you will enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed creating it.