11/01/2012

To Drive the Cold Winter Away - a 10 year celebration

I really, really hope you can join me!

10 years ago, I had this crazy idea. 

It was August 2003. I'd just given a CD release concert for my album "The Harp Her Soul Required." I'd never given a concert before. 800 people came. And many of them said, "Do this again at Christmas - please!"

 So I did. 
 November 2003. Standing ovation.

I gathered up my favorite holiday music, researched some new pieces, arranged them all in Amy ways, invited my good friend Martha Lindberg and my new friend Sam Lawrence to perform with me, and set the date: the Saturday after Thanksgiving to create a warm welcome to the season. To avoid the Christmas music deluge that begins December 1. To set a feeling of calm, beauty and thoughtfulness in peoples' minds early, in hopes that it would linger and sustain them throughout the rest of the holidays.

I called it "To Drive the Cold Winter Away" after a traditional old song of that title. The lyrics are wonderful and hilarious and they talk about creating warmth for and with each other, being neighborly, being forgiving, making merry. That song became the centerpiece for each concert. 

And the theme inspired me to create warmth in other ways. Every year I've held free will offerings and given a portion of the proceeds to VINE Faith in Action. It's an organization close to my heart. Pam Determan, the organization's founder, was my religion teacher in junior high. And VINE helps people like my beloved neighbor Ethel remain independent in their homes. 

Now, 10 years later, I'm looking back on all those concerts. All that music, all that art, all that warmth. An addition to the band: Marti Ryan. Such good memories. And from the comments and emails and letters and calls I receive from people who have attended, I know that using my talents in this way is making a real difference to people.

And this is the year I'm celebrating it all. With favorite music from each year, special guests performing with me, accompaniment from my fearless (and patient and good-humored and adventurous) band, my original music. And some brand new music I'm putting the finishing touches on. A world premiere, for my 10th year.

There will be drawings for prizes, too. It'll be fun! Check out all the details on my website (click here.)

Stay tuned for more updates, more memories. And please mark your calendars. I so hope you can celebrate with me.

And I want to hear YOUR memories, too! Leave them in a comment to this post along with your email address, and I'll send you a never-before released MP3 of a song I've recorded. And I might even share your memory during the concert...


24 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/01/2012

    Amy, your music is a true blessing for me. The Harp Her Soul Required still quiets my mind and soul when life gets hectic. You're a true artist and a lovely person. I'm looking forward to the concert. Thanks for sharing your talent. Desiree Berg

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Desiree. It means so much. Send me a message on Facebook and I'll send you your mp3!

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    2. *a message with your email address...

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  2. In the summer of 1997 my husband had an out-of-the-blue job interview at Mankato State. Afterwards he asked somebody where we should go for dinner and they sent us to Cafe Camarda in the Mankato Place Mall. There was a harpist at the entryway. A harpist! What the hell. That made it seem a good place to live, and here we are. And, I'm not even kidding.

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    1. I'll totally take credit for bringing your talent and ultimate coolness and art-filled wonderfulness to Mankato.

      Totally.

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  3. Anonymous11/01/2012

    Amy, Mike and I truly enjoyed your 2003 concert. It was fun surprising you that evening, and getting to sit up front. We've also enjoyed listening to all of your CDs over the years. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with the world. -Michelle

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    1. Hi Michelle! I remember that year - it was so good to see you there. I hope you and Mike (and maybe the boys?) can make it this year. It would be great to see you.

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  4. I'm looking forward to this! I think I've only been to one of these concerts. It seems that we always have something going on that weekend. I love the setting and the music. I'm a major sucker for holiday music, both traditional tunes and more "wintery" arrangements. Some of my favorite holiday CDs are billed as "winter" ones by Sting and Enya. I'm excited that your concert will set the mood!

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    1. I'm a holiday music sucker, too. Probably from 20+ years of having to start rehearsing it at the end of August in prep for holiday harp playing!

      I'm glad you can make it, Rachael. Extra points for you if you can talk David into coming, too!

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  5. Should I talk about how little Violette can't keep her bottom still while Amy plays and scoots around in the pew to the chagrin of those around us, but how Amy Kortuem loves the little kids coming to listen and dancing, too. Yes. That's what I have to offer. I can't wait to pile a whole bunch of my urchins into this church and have it be a traditional invitation to the holidays...Love you!

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    1. OK, I'm saving you a front row pew in the balcony. The cool people sit up there, and my favorite little neighbor urchins will have the best view in the house. And they can wiggle with abandon.

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  6. I went to my first concert last year (although I tried for two years before that!). I didn't know what to expect at all. As you started playing I remember leaning over to tell Nicole G that I never realized how very talented you were. I enjoyed every minute of the concert and walked away feeling happy and calm (which doesn't happen often...the calm part!) I am so looking forward to this years concert and can only regret not coming to more.

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    1. I loved having you there, and I can't wait to see you at this year's concert. I love that you're making it a girls'night out with Carynn and Kelly.

      That's going to be my new advertising tactic:
      Amy Kortuem Concerts - the perfect girls' night out event!

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  7. Your music is very calming and inspirational, much enjoyed in my household...especially around the holiday seasons. Every morning I smile as I read the little messages on the coffee pot at work. It's the little things in life that make it enjoyable.

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    1. Glad it's making a difference, Erin. Thanks for commenting - and have a wonderful holiday season with your gorgeous, gorgeous family.

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  8. I remember a cute little one year old sitting in a high chair- who would think that she would grow into a lovely young woman gifting the world with the beautiful songs from her harp and her heart.

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    1. Oh, sweet! I remember looking at those photos of you and me at Grandma Bahr's - I always wanted to meet you. Lucky for me, now you're my friend, too!

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  9. I remember a cute little one year old sitting in a high chair- who would think that she would grow into a lovely young woman gifting the world with the beautiful songs from her harp and her heart.

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  10. As one of your newest fans I am very excited about attending your holiday concert for the first time. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks for all your support!

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    1. Here's to years and years of really good harp friendship memories, Valerie!

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  11. Off topic the word 'cold' caught my eye.
    I'm in the most frigid apartment in Paris.
    I don't know why they bother wiht a refrigerator - no need.
    I'm holed up in the bedroom 'drawing'(another word that my eye caught) and posting with the heating full blast.
    c'est la vie

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    1. I'd rather be chilly in Paris than...

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  12. Amy is my favorite harpist. I have all of her albums, and you should too (order them above right).

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