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The Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering brings together autoharp enthusiasts from around the world for five days of workshops, concerts and 'round the clock music-making. Now in it's twenty-sixth year, the Gathering features concerts and workshops from some of the folk world's best musicians -- and they come because no matter what else they're famous for, they also just happen to play the autoharp!

Our 26th Annual Gathering will be held June 22-26, 2016 at Little Buffalo State Park Campground just outside Newport, Pennsylvania.

Our featured performers for 2016:

We are planning for three Pre-Gathering Classes starting on the 21st at the Beginning, Novice/Early Intermediate, and Intermediate/Advanced levels. The instructors are to be announced.

We're expecting another great Gathering. If you've never been to Mountain Laurel and are wondering what types of things go on there, I have posted a recap of the 2015 Gathering as a Thank You for a Great Gathering message and you can take a look at that here if you're inclined to do so ...

Hot News!!

A warm hello to all!

First, let me offer a sincere yet wholly inadequate thank you to Neal and Coleen Walters for their key and unstinting efforts in bringing Mt. Laurel to the heights it enjoys. They were exactly the right and willing partners to lead us on a new path, initially blazed by George and Mary Lou Orthey, and deserve all praise for their accomplishments. I am grateful that we can count on their continuing wisdom and counsel on the board in new roles.

It has been a privilege for me to serve on the board during the fifteen years of Neal Walters’ Directorship and to occasionally assist George and Mary Lou in the ten years preceding that. The experiences and memories of those twenty-five years replaying to the strains of “Where the Mountain Laurel Blooms” are treasured and ingrained. I am flattered and deeply moved by the confidence expressed by the Gathering’s board and former Directors in naming me to the succession. It is a trust and responsibility I will not take lightly.

Neal has already related some other shuffling of positions on the board, most notably Coleen Walters stepping down as Secretary after fifteen years ably serving alongside Neal. She will continue, for the time being, as Registrar but the functioning of that solid nucleus, under the same roof within earshot of each other, will be hard to duplicate. Fortunately, there are capable hands on the board ready to take up the challenge.

The transition, hopefully, will be transparent to attendees, who may confidently expect another fine product next year. Which is not to say it will be exactly the same product. Little Buffalo State Park, itself, has just acquired a new director, who is still getting his legs under him, but we anticipate a continuing fine relationship and appreciation of the Gathering as a park asset. Our most immediate challenge will be to replace Robyn Green with a new caterer. A Catering Committee has been actively addressing the meals situation and, rest assured, we consider it an essential piece of the Gathering.

The 25th Annual was an exceptional Gathering but a glance at the roster of performers slated for 2016, detailed in Neal’s wrap up, will demonstrate that we have no intention of letting up on the wow factor next year. We welcome each and every one of you to return and add your contribution to it!

Gregg Averett
Director, Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering
Co-Director, Acoustics at Oak’s End Music
Chairman, Smyrna Arts and Culture Council

Registration for the 2016 Gathering will begin in the late fall. You will be able to register on-line (which we hope you do!) or download the complete registration packet and register by mail. When registration materials are available, we will ask that you visit our registration page for all the important details and to complete your registration.

Annual Deadlines:

  • Autoharp Hall of Fame nominations applications are due by April 1, 2016. A ballot is  downloadable here  and is  also available in any issue of the Autoharp Quarterly. For a list of the members of the Autoharp Hall of Fame, click here.

  • Mary Lou Orthey Scholarship applications are due April 1, 2016. If you are thinking about coming to the 2016 Gathering but a lack of funding is making it tough, consider applying for a scholarship.

  • Applications for the Cohen/Grappel Recording Grant are due June 1st, 2016. Details are here.

The Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Consider making a tax-deductible donation. Please contact us for details or, to donate on-line via PayPal, click on the donate button below.

If you have comments or questions, you can direct them to our registrar.

Remember to bring items for the Silent Auction to benefit the Gathering. Items or services do not have to be autoharp-related or even music related -- any item you think might be of interest to people is welcome. More details at the Gathering or send a note to Cindy Harris.

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This document maintained by Neal Walters.
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