Kim Robertson

September 27-29th, 2019

Best Western Grant Creek Inn, Missoula, MT

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Kim Robertson

From her website:

Kim Robertson is a renowned performer, arranger and recording artist who has stretched the boundaries of the harp for a new generation of performers and audiences.  As a pioneer in the American folk harp movement, she combines an improvisational spirit with a passionate sense of tradition, bringing a contemporary touch to a centuries-old instrument.

Born in Wisconsin, she is classically trained on piano and orchestral harp.  In the mid-70's, Kim's discovery of the Celtic harp grew into a profound love for the instrument, setting her upon the path of exploration for which she is now widely known.  Kim has traveled with her harp from concert halls to grass roots folk clubs, from luxury cruise ships to remote mountain tops; she has performed concerts by candlelight, delivered singing telegrams and played herself on an episode of "Beverly Hills 90210".

She regularly tours the USA, Canada and Europe, and is still recognized as one of the most popular folk harpists performing today.  Her work encompasses numerous recording projects, published harp arrangements, and an international itinerary of workshops and retreats.

2019 Workshop Descriptions

From ancient to modern times, the Celtic harp has been used to accompany and convey the joys and sorrows of life. In this class, learn a sampling of beautiful melodies from Ireland, Scotland & Brittany, including ideas for LH accompaniment. We'll also briefly explore the Bardic tradition of spoken word with harp accompaniment and its significance today for modern harpers. [All levels welcome, tunes will be on lead sheets.]

Why do certain airs speak to us and what makes them so beautiful?  Using sample tunes in various modes and styles, Kim will discuss some of the essential ingredients of a  "beauty tune" and share ideas on how to discover your own. 

A gentle look at  (non-jazz) improvising as a means to spontaneous self-expression
on your harp. With simple chord vamps, right hand
patterns, "hot licks" and tricks, learn techniques that will help personalize your
playing and lead to more creative arrangements.
[Hands-on, all levels]

Kick your playing up a notch, learning some of Kim’s cool signature LH accompaniment patterns. Building on drones, 5ths, harmonic variations and onto more advanced syncopated patterns, learn how to add rhythmic complexity and harmonic spice to any melody. The patterns can  also be used for creating intros and interludes or to back up someone else playing the tune!  This session is best for players with good two-hand skills but all levels welcome.

Harp Regulation Available!

Doug Pierson of Dusty Strings will be available for harp regulation and small repairs at our 2019 retreat.  Please contact him directly for more details, cost estimates and appointments.

Doug says :

My rate for harp work is generally $60 per hour. Each harp regulation usually takes 1-2 hours, and I cap my fees at a max of $125 for a 26 string regulation and $150 for a 32/34/36.

Looking forward to this year’s harp retreat! It will be great to see everybody (and their harps). 

I will be available for harp service work both Friday and Saturday, September 27-28. If there’s enough interest, or if it might help someone out, I can also be available Thursday evening, the 26th. I’ll set up shop once again at the Grant Creek Inn.


Some things I can do to improve lever harps during the conference:


Change strings (one, some or all)


Add levers

Install a pickup

Minor touch ups/repairs

Assess/troubleshoot buzzes or anomalies

Moral support


Moral support is free.


I’ve already heard from a couple of people inquiring about potential services. It is best, but not essential, for me to know ahead of time what work will be needed. This is especially true if things like strings or levers need to be acquired beforehand. I’ll have an assortment of Dusty Strings accessories available for purchase, such as string sets, tuning wrenches, etc. If anyone knows they have a need, even if I won’t be working on their instrument, they can please let me know and I can save some shipping costs on that sort of thing.


Can’t wait to see you all,


Doug Pierson

E-mail Doug at  runningbass[at]hotmail[dot]com  or  dougp[at]dustystrings[dot]com

Or call Doug at   2 zero 6 - 276 - 0705

2019 Retreat Schedule

(as of 9/10/2019, subject to minor changes)

Friday, September 27

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

(3:00 pm-4:30pm Adult Private Group Lesson with Kim Robertson--NOT included in retreat registration. $30 per adult. Contact jkmineer[at]yahoo[dot]com

(4:30-5:30 Youth (under age 18) Private Group Lesson with Kim Robertson, $25 per youth--NOT included in retreat registration--The perfect opportunity for younger students! Contact jkmineer[at] yahoo[dot]com)

5:00 - 6:30 pm Dinner on your own 

6:30 - 7:00 pm Welcome & Announcements 

7:00 - 7:15 pm Introducing: Kim Robertson

7:15 - 7:45 pm Mini Workshop: "Beauty Tunes" 

8:00 - 9:00 pm Harp Circle Fun! #1 : "Oh, you play the harp? Play me something." What do you do? Let's answer this question!

Saturday, September 28

9:00 am Welcome & Announcements 

9:30 - 10:45 am Workshop #1: Kim Robertson, “Love Songs, Lullabies and Laments ” 

11:30am - 1:00 pm Lunch (provided) 

1:30 - 2:45 pm Workshop #2: Kim Robertson, “Introduction to Improvisation ” 

3:00 - 4:15 pm Workshop #3: Kim Robertson, “Cool Left Hand Patterns ” 

4:30 - 5:30 pm Harp Circle Fun! #2 

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

7:00 - 9:00 pm Kim Robertson Harp Concert

Sunday, September 29

9:30am Kim Robertson (30 minute presentation)

10:00am - 12:00 pm Harp Forum

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

Retreat Registration

2019 Registration Info.  

Registration for the full weekend includes workshops, harp circles, Saturday lunch, and snacks. 

There will be an extra meal cost of $15  for any family members or guests eating the Saturday lunch.  

 $  135 ($150 after September 15, 2019)

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

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. 

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! :)

Tune list for Harp Circles:


All Through the Night

Arran Boat Song

The Ash Grove

Atholl Highlanders

Brian Boru's March

Come Thou Fount

Dance of the Drones

My Country 'Tis of Thee

Oh How lovely is the evening

Red Haired Boy

Scarborough Fair

The Shearin's No For You

Water is Wide

We encourage you to print out all the lead sheets on the Harp Sheet Music Page, but the ones above will be "fair game" for our harp circles. 


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