Harp-o-tunities / Small Harps for Coventry (they mean the same thing), is a small organisation to promote access to the Celtic harp, for musicians, audiences and as therapy, in and around Coventry.
We run projects and events that offer opportunities to experience the harp and support learners to progress, through “have a go” events, classes and courses. Our main activity at the moment is an evening class.
We started in 2002, when Elizabeth Roy, our founder, complained to Robin Huw Bowen that nothing was happening for the harp in our area. He replied, quite sensibly, that Elizabeth should go and make it happen – so she did.
Since then we’ve run many events where the public have been invited to have a go on the harp, as well as working in close partnership with the City Council to run adult evening classes.
In 2007 we receieved funding to create a ‘harp suite’ – eight harps which can be used by classes, visiting groups and for the children’s harp clubs. We are hope to use these as the basis for new classes at Allesley Park Community Centre.
Harp clubs and classes each have their own membership lists and rules. Find the club or class that suits you, and join that.
If you are interested in learning the harp and becoming part of the national community of harpists, we’d recommend that you join The Clarsach Society.
Small Harps for Coventry is a small organisation that promotes projects like Harp-o-tunities. Our aim is to keep Small Harps for Coventry as a small organisation for people interested in fundraising and organising projects.
The Clarsach Society
The Clarsach Society runs events across the country and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival. They are the network that supports harpists, gives them opportunities to learn about the many different sorts of harping and has given Small Harps for Coventry crucial support over the years. If you see the harp as part of your future life, please join them – details are on their website.
Elizabeth Roy took up the harp to help rehabilitation following a stroke. She realised how many people wanted to hear or play it and was soon performing in schools, churches, festivals etc. She has taught the evening class and inspired many newcomers to enjoy the instrument. Her commitment to accessibility – particularly regarding disability – has created the values that underpin everything we do. Her home is a haven for rescued harps.
Jack Shuttleworth was working as a chiropractor when Elizabeth had been practicing too long and knotted her shoulders. His experience in arts funding enabled him to bring in money to buy the harps and run the events. He never wanted to actually play the harp, but now has two and plays them all the time. He also co-runs a weekly traditional music session in Coventry which aims to be harp-friendly.
The ‘mob’. Elizabeth has introduced many people to the harp, and there is now a great community of harpers in the area, including the “Glissandi” harp ensemble, practice groups, and inspiring volunteers.