The Capital ‘Harpers Autoharp Club of the Washington, DC, area has been fortunate to have the Michael King Memorial Fund, a legacy from the estate of Michael King to support free workshops and concerts for the autoharp community. Michael was a member of our club and an autoharp teacher; many of the musical arrangements he prepared for his students are available on the club’s website. In 2009 he was inducted as a posthumous member of the Autoharp Hall of Fame at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering.
On June 23, 2013, Holly Towne and Niels Jonker welcomed members and friends of the Capital ‘Harpers Autoharp Club to their home in Reston, Virginia, for a special afternoon and evening of autoharp instruction and good listening presented by Cathy Britell. This was the ninth and last of the autoharp workshop and concert presentations sponsored by the Michael King Fund. Previous presentations sponsored by the Fund were made by Neal and Coleen Walters, John and Kathie Hollandsworth, Mike and Rachel Fenton, Ivan Styles, Charles Whitmer, Heidi and John Cerrigione, Adam Miller, and Karen Mueller and Jody Marshall.
True to her calling as a physician, Cathy’s workshop was unique in this series as she demonstrated several physical exercises to help folks prepare the brain and body for practicing, jamming, and performing on the autoharp. As others have noted, Cathy has a real knack for meeting the needs of the true beginner as well as the more advanced player. Following the late afternoon potluck dinner, Cathy presented an evening concert that was replete with very enjoyable tunes and songs. She shared the stage for several numbers with Holly and Niels, as well as with Bob Ebdon and Heather Farrell-Roberts, who were here from the United Kingdom to attend the 2013 Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering.