2017 MONTANA HARP RETREAT: September 8-9

at the Dance Center, Lolo, MT

                                                                                    (10 miles South of Missoula)

Big Sky Harp Society is pleased to announce the 2017 Harp Retreat featuring Sunita Staneslow!  This year's retreat will take place in Lolo, MT (10 miles south of Missoula) at the Dance Center.  

Join us in Lolo, Montana in September, as we reconnect with old friends, make new connections, learn and grow as musicians, and have FUN harping together at the 2017 Montana Harp Retreat!

Sunita is available for private lessons

on Friday, September 8th.  

Those interested in a private lesson may contact Sunita directly through e-mail (sunita@sunitaharp.com) or her facebook page to make arrangements and discuss fees.

Sunita Staneslow

Sunita Staneslow is a native of Minnesota but has made Israel her home since the year 2000. She has become widely known for her accessible arrangements for the harp and has fifteen books published by Afghan Press, Mel Bay and Sylvia Woods. 

A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music,Sunita’s primary teachers were Frances Miller, Lucile Lawrence and Judith Liber. Classically trained but with a passion for traditional music, her career has spanned many genres. She has recorded CDs of Jewish, Celtic and classical music.Since 2007, Sunita has been working as a therapeutic harpist at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Israel. Sunita is a frequent performer and instructor at major North American folk harp festivals, was featured in the Virtual Harp Summit and is a lever harp instructor for the on-line Harp Column Academy.

You can find Sunita walking her dogs by the sea or playing in a session at a local Irish pub. In 2015, she spent six months with her husband cycling across Europe with her harp! www.sunitaharp.com

Workshop Descriptions

Sunita Staneslow

Art of the Arpeggio

In this workshop, Sunita teaches fun and creative ways to play arpeggios, breaking away from the standard patterns to add variety and interest to your playing.

Bass Lines: going up & going down

Simplify your left hand and create the illusion of complex harmonies. Less is more especially on the harp. Sunita will show you how to harmonize songs using a simple descending and ascending bass lines. This can become a foolproof way to improvise over your left hand that will sound beautiful even if you are just starting to learn the harp. Understanding a simple bass line will pave your way to improvising between songs and is especially useful in therapeutic environments.

Short Topic:  Professionals Toolbox, Working Well With Others

How do professionals put together arrangements? How do you find new music for an unusual ensemble? What should you look for in another musician? What do others expect from a harp player? Sunita will offer advice and tips on rehearsing and practicing with different combinations of instruments. The harp works well with almost any other instrument. Embolden yourself to create a new sound! 

Mary Stevens

Memorization Ease--Take it by Degrees!

Learning to play by scale degrees rather than by notes simplifies improvisation and makes transposition simple. This workshop will demonstrate how.

Improve Your Improvisation

Almost any tune can be played in any style from soothing to energetic. This workshop will take a tune and demonstrate how to change its feel by playing in different styles.

2017 Retreat Schedule TBA

2017 Retreat Schedule (edited 6-22-17)

Friday, September 8

*Private lessons with Sunita Staneslow on Friday ONLY--contact her directly to arrange your lesson time and learn about fees.

3:00 - 5:00 pm             Arrive, Check In, Tune up your harp

5:00 - 6:30 pm             Dinner on your own

6:30 - 7:00 pm             Welcome & Announcements

7:00 - 7:15 pm             Introducing: Sunita Staneslow!

7:15 - 7:45 pm             Short Topic: Sunita, "Professionals Toolbox,                                       working well with others"

8:00 - 9:00 pm             Harp Circle #1 *We will split into groups for                                         beginners and more advanced harpers*


Saturday, September 9

8:30 - 9:00 am             Welcome & Announcements

9:00 - 10:15 am           Workshop #1: Sunita Staneslow,                                                         "Art of the Arpeggio"                                                         

10:30 - 11:30 am         Workshop #2: Mary Stevens,                                                               "Improve Your Improvization"

11:30 am - 1:30 pm     Lunch (provided)

1:30 - 2:45 pm             Workshop #3:Sunita Staneslow,                                                         "Bass Lines, Going Up and Going Down"                                                       

3:00 - 4:15 pm             Workshop #4: Mary Stevens,                                                               "Memorization Ease, Take it by Degrees"

4:30 - 5:30 pm             Harp Circle #2

5:30 - 7:00 pm             Free Time/ Dinner on your own

7:00 - 9:00 pm             Sunita Staneslow Harp Concert

We've even made the schedule into a handy-dandy PDF that you can download and print below.

2017 Big Sky Harp Society schedule.pdf 2017 Big Sky Harp Society schedule.pdf
Size : 56.537 Kb
Type : pdf


Retreat Registration

2017 Registration Info.  

Registration for the full weekend includes workshops, games, harp circles, Saturday lunch, and snacks.  There will be an extra meal cost of $15 for any family members or guests attending the Saturday lunch.  

 $135  ($150 after September 1, 2017)

Download this form and mail it to the Big Sky Harp Society with your registration check. We look forward to having you join us!

2017 MT Harp Retreat Registration form.pdf 2017 MT Harp Retreat Registration form.pdf
Size : 469.586 Kb
Type : pdf

All activities will be indoors.  Registration fees do not include Friday or Saturday dinners – these will be on your own (with harp friends, of course).  Remember to label your tuners and tuning keys with your name!  Many look the same and it’s hard to know who they belong to by the end. 


The Square Dance Center has campsites available.  Their contact info is here:

www.lolocampndance.com *Mention that you are part of our retreat and receive a small discount on camping fees!

9955 Lolo Creek Road (Hwy 12), Lolo, MT  59847

(10 miles south of Missoula, MT)


Directions:  Take Hwy 93 south from Missoula, MT (or north from Hamilton, MT).                            Turn west onto Hwy 12 at Lolo.  

The Campground is 2.7 miles west of Lolo on Lolo Creek Road.

Days Inn (in Lolo, MT) has limited rooms available  (406) 273-2121

Many other hotels options are available in the Missoula area.  

Harp Circle Sheet Music

We will be learning and playing together several songs during our retreat harp circles.  Be sure to print out the lead sheets below and bring them with you so you can join in the fun!

Amanda Olson will facilitate the harp circles at our retreat. Her goal is to include players of all levels, explore some musical ideas and revel in the sound of so many harps playing together! Here are her suggestions for preparing for the sessions:

  • Alphabetize your music in your binder, that way you can find the piece quickly.
  • Bring a pencil to make notes.
  • Prepare according to your abilities:
    • Think of some variations or embellishments to make it interesting, if that is too much…
    • Be able to play the melody with some chords in the left hand, if that’s too much…
    • Be able to play just the melody, if that is too much…                                
    • Familiarize yourself with the chords, if that’s too much…
    • Try playing the first chord of every line.

 Relax!! This will be fun and easy! :)

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