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Autoharp Gathering in Perry County Draws Worldwide Participants - abc27 WHTM

Autoharp Gathering in Perry County Draws Worldwide Participants

Autoharp Gathering in Perry County Draws Worldwide Participants

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  • Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:02:59 GMT
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
  • Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:17 AM EDT2014-08-15 13:17:26 GMT
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
  • Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Tuesday, August 12 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-08-12 13:35:19 GMT
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>
For five days at the end of June, it was all things Autoharp at Little Buffalo State Park near Newport.

"We have people from Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Canada and from almost every state," said Neal Walters, Director of the 24th Annual Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering.

Throughout the festival, workshops focused on playing techniques geared for all talent levels for the multi-stringed instrument from the zither family. There was even a seminar on how to play in front of an audience.

Workshop instructor Karen Mueller said the autoharp is an ideal instrument for both beginner and veteran players.

"The appeal of the instrument," Mueller explained."is that you can pick it up and you can push a chord button down and strum all the strings and make a chord immediately."

At open stage sessions and judged competitions, players performed to enthusiastic audiences. Between sessions there were new instruments to try, some to buy, along with all the parts that go with them.

A popular non-musical event was the autoharp toss contest where participants won prizes for tossing their instruments furthest.

For many regulars at the festival, the event is more like a family reunion.

"If you go to something like this regularly," said Walters, "and you make friends you see once a year, you very much look forward to seeing them each and every time."

"I enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of everybody watching," said longtime festival attendee Heidi Cerrigione of Ellington, Connecticut. "This is a sport, if you will, that includes everyone from the simplest talent to the most technical performer. We just get together and love to play and sing."

"People cry when it's over and they have to leave," said Jinny Reid, whose father Leonard Reid helped launch these gatherings in the late 1980s. "They know it will be another year until they see each other again."
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