9/27/2009

The multi-purpose harp case

The original purpose for my Lyon & Healy three-piece transport cover:

Covering, protecting and insulating
the pedal harp while traveling to events.

Without it, the harp wouldn't be able to withstand being hauled around during Minnesota winters. Or summers. Or even our capricious springs and falls, for that matter.

The alternate use:

The most expensive cat nest ever.

9/24/2009

Prima Vox Sacred & Profane Love II — the rehearsal

It feels so good to sing the Sacred & Profane program again. We were talking during rehearsal tonight about how easy the music has been to revisit. It just happens. It should — we rehearsed it so thoroughly in February. Only now it's more relaxed, flows so naturally and we blend so...organically.

And now we have matching music stands
for total Vox coordination.

My favorite view of the night:
This harp and these women,
all singing with one voice.

Saturday can't come soon enough.

9/23/2009

My new wedding harp music sample CD is done just in time for Southern Minnesota's Wedding Expo!

Southern Minnesota's Wedding Expo is this Sunday in Mankato, and I'll be there with my harp. Stop by and see me! I'll be in booth #151 and am looking forward to meeting this season's brides and talking to them about how beautiful harp music will be at their weddings.

And just in time, my new wedding music sample CD is done!
Behold Harpist Amy Kortuem's Wedding Music Samples CD.

The CD includes 22 songs.

There are 30-second samples of wedding favorites (like Canon in D and Trumpet Voluntary) and some unique pieces, too, for brides who want out-of-the-ordinary music for their weddings.

They all sound great, thanks to Sahni Moore, my recording guru, who sat with me, the harp, the music stand and the microphones in that sweltering, cramped little sound booth in his studio for hours, listening to me play wedding music over and over and over. I asked if I was helping him get inspired to start planning his own wedding, should he find the perfect girl. "Um, yeah," he replied. Which is a pretty excited reply for Sahni. I think he secretly loved the music. Probably whistled Canon in D for days afterward, if not weeks.

The CD will be available to brides who contract me to play at their weddings. To hear a few music samples now (Canon in D included, of course), visit my website and click on the Weddings link! Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the underlined song titles to get inspired for YOUR wedding music.

P.S. If you're looking for great ideas for unique wedding invitations and wedding planning, check out these blogs. I highly recommend these companies to brides and others planning weddings and special events!
Jean M Blog: layered wedding invitations, coordinating accessories and unique wedding favors
website: www.myjeanm.com
Rexcraft Blog: classic, elegant wedding invitations and accessories
website: www.rexcraft.com

photos by Carynn Klingel

9/20/2009

Prima Vox Sacred & Profane Love — an encore performance

Even though we're busy rehearsing music for our artistic residency at the Church of the Holy Communion and are preparing seriously for our December 19th "Fire & Ice" concert, the three Voxes often reminisce wistfully about our "Sacred & Profane Love" concert in February.

It was really a magical night. The crowd, the atmosphere, the overtones, the realization that this was...something. And we had created it.

So when we got a call from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato asking if we'd be willing to given an encore performance of "Sacred & Profane Love" for their fall fundraising event, we jumped at the chance.

Once more, we're polishing our "Procurans Odium" and studying our "Salve Virgo Virginum." The harp is loving being on its pedestal. And our mistress of ceremonies, Ursula Christ, is brushing up on her delivery of the ecstatic readings that will accompany the music.

If you missed "Sacred & Profane Love" the first time, or if you'd just like to be part of the magic again, I hope you can join us.

Sacred & Profane Love

A passionate evening of religious and secular medieval music

Saturday, September 26 • 7:00 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

936 Charles Ave., Mankato

Tickets: $15.00 adults / $7.50 children under 12

for tickets and more information, contact

Michelle at 507-381-2570 or Laura at 507-387-3498

9/19/2009

Outdoor autumn wedding

The official start of autumn is only a few days away. And it sure looks like autumn outside: trees are turning and leaves are falling and the sky has that signature September-blue hue.

But I really wish it felt like autumn. It was 85 degrees when I packed up the harp and set out for an outdoor wedding. To think — when I contracted for this wedding, I was worried about being cold and keeping my fingers warm.

Instead, I looked out from my nice, shaded little tent onto a sea of guests fanning themselves with their wedding programs.

The view from the tent.

"Shade must be provided" were the most beautiful words in the world today (and it's the smartest clause ever added to outdoor wedding contracts).

9/18/2009

Portrait of a harpist at a wedding

Bobby McFall was the photographer at today's wedding
and she captured me at this mid-processional moment.
Beautiful wedding. Beautiful work, Bobby.

9/17/2009

Yes, I play Canon in D on the harp

Whether or not I play Canon in D on the harp is the third most common question I hear, after "Do you really lift that thing yourself?" and "Do you play at weddings?" ("Yes" is also the answer to those questions.)

I've finished recording a new CD of wedding music samples. Brides these days...they just don't know how to work cassette tapes anymore! Really, it was time. My old demo tape had been recorded in my living room, by me, on the red boom box I'd had since my junior year of high school.

Like I said, it was time.

The new wedding music sample CD is a studio recording, including 30-second samples of the most-requested wedding music:
~ Canon in D by Pachelbel
~ Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach
~ Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke
...and 19 others.

Want to samples? My website has just been updated!
CLICK HERE TO HEAR CANON IN D AND MORE!

9/16/2009

Prima Vox celebrates Hildegard von Bingen

September 17th is the feast day of St. Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century abbess, author, counselor to kings, naturalist, scientist, philosopher, physician, herbalist, poet, visionary...

...and composer.

Hildegard's music was the inspiration for the formation of Prima Vox. In fact, we get our name from the lyrics of one of her chants: "O Pastor animarum et prima vox" or "O Shepherd of our souls and first voice." So tonight we celebrated Hildegard, our music and our artistic residency by participating in an evening service at the Church of the Holy Communion.

We read from Hildegard's writings.

We chanted her chants.

We felt so fortunate to be able to experience the creations of this amazing woman, in an amazing space, with each other.

9/15/2009

I always feel like somebody's watching me...

Jingle Belle, keeping tabs on me
from her favorite nest on the couch.
She knows all.

9/14/2009

Sunday morning in the park

Sunday I got up early and drove through the misty, September morning to Amboy, where they were going to be celebrating a community worship service in the park. I love autumn mornings — the smell of corn almost ready for harvest, a little crispness in the air, mist rising off the fields.


However, this September morning felt more like mid-August. It was already hot by the time I pulled into the city park and started unloading my harp. Thank goodness for cheerful, striped tents — a fair-skinned harpist's best friend at outdoor summer events.


One last outing for my favorite summer dress.

Whew, it was hot.


As a prelude to the service, I played some inspirational Celtic tunes, some of my originals and a few hymns my Grandma used to sing while she rocked me to sleep. I can still hear her voice when I play "Rock of Ages" and "Be Thou My Vision."



I love this photo. I look so focused and caught up in the music.

And totally in love with my harp, all nuzzled into it like that.

It's true. I love my harp.


Did I mention it was early? Well, for an Amy Sunday, it was. Yes, that's actually a cup of coffee sitting at my feet in the first photo, however decaf it may have been. I haven't had coffee more than four times in the past year and a half — I was hoping the memory of caffeine would give me a little kick. It did. I was wired.


And as I packed up the harp and headed to visit my family, the sound of the portable keyboard-turned-pipe-organ playing and the whole-town congregation singing put an extra smile on my face.


photos by Melissa of the Winnebago Voice

9/08/2009

Playing for presidents

Look what I found! I was going through some files on my computer and found these photos of my performance for former President George H.W. Bush. It was in 2002. Mr. Bush was speaking at an event in Minneapolis and I was asked to perform for the high-ticket reception.

Evening gown required.
Pretty sure the guys behind me were big-time security.
Why? When I quickly reached down to get another music book,
they were suddenly very, very, very, very attentive.

I'd played for dignitaries in the past — Mikhail Gorbachev for one — but was always just the girl in the corner with the harp and the sparkly dress, sitting very still, waiting for security to check my harp once, twice, three times (I must look dangerous). One time I got bored and actually tipped the harp over to show the guys how a harp was made. They didn't know harps were hollow. I'll bet they all do now...

This time I was set up right in the front. There were cameras flashing in my face the whole time. My friend was one of the photographers, which is why I got photos of the event in the first place. And there were people vying loudly for Mr. Bush's attention.

Well, he brushed right past them and headed straight toward...me. Gulp. He was very friendly, very gentlemanly, very kind. He told me that he and Mrs. Bush love harp music and asked if I had any recordings.

Do I have any recordings? Of course I do.

We visited for several minutes. He told me Mrs. Bush wasn't feeling well and that he'd give her the CD to play before she went to sleep to help her relax. It was so touching.

And then came the best part. He asked me — he actually asked me — if I was a college student studying harp.

I laughed out loud (I laugh loudly), then leaned in to whisper my real age to him. The room hushed. Security agents also leaned in to hear what secrets of national importance I might be telling him.

Notice how surprised Mr. Bush looks.
"But you look so young!" he said.

Guess who would get my vote if he were running for office again,
though it would be my first-ever Republican vote?

photos by Rick Apitz

9/06/2009

I'm tired, too, SamTheCat

This weekend put the "labor" in "Labor Day Weekend."

I played Friday night at a beautiful outdoor wedding in the historic Hubbard House Gardens. The wedding party was all dressed in hot pink with striking black lace accents (ok, the guys were dressed in tuxes, but I could see they were jealous of the pink...) and perfectly complemented the late-summer flowers.

Saturday night I played when a friend got married at Old Main Village. A heart-warmer. Nancy told me, "Do. Not. Cry." Success! But my lip hurts from biting it.

Sunday was my first military wedding. The bride and groom are both in the U.S. Army and will be deployed to Iraq in October. Their ceremony was in the park and was such a celebration of love and joy, whatever the future may hold.

And Labor Day itself? Napping, reading, walking, resting in the company of cats. Ahh.