Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering

Dr. George Orthey
In Memoriam (1932-2020)

Dear MLAG Community,

As the new Festival Director, I surely wanted my first message to this group to be one of greetings and news on the progress the Board is making toward everyone reuniting at Little Buffalo in 2021 after the chaos that 2020 has become. That planning is certainly going on with great enthusiasm, and we will keep you updated.

However, at this time the Board and I must acknowledge some sad news – the passing of Festival Founder George Orthey on August 18.

Even before the public festival began, George and his wife Mary Lou hosted several gatherings on their Newport farm for owners of his Dulci-Harps. Then they made the decision to open their farm, and their home, to anyone who was an autoharp enthusiast. They initiated the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering and the accompanying Championship in 1991. The festival was a monumental annual undertaking for them and the small group who supported their efforts in making the Gathering possible, and each year it only improved under their leadership. When they turned the Gathering over to a Board of Directors in 2001, it was a thriving, healthy enterprise that gave the Board a firm foundation to continue presenting the oldest and largest festival dedicated to the autoharp. The gratitude that MLAG collectively has for George and Mary Lou’s efforts cannot be overstated.

George also organized the Mini-Mountain Laurel Concert Series, which brought notable performers to Newport and nearby Lewistown for many years during the fall, winter, and spring. I’m sure many of you attended or performed at those concerts. And I cannot even imagine how many of you must own and play George’s autoharps and mountain dulcimers, which he built from 1964 up until just last year.

George’s full obituary can be found here.

When we can all be together again, we will certainly properly remember George as a group. Until then, please ponder his contributions to our community, and remember his sons, Scott and George III, and their families.

Warmest regards,
Kathie Hollandsworth
Festival Director

Here’s a photo tribute to George …

Cindy Harris – June Maugery – Ron Wall – Les Gustafson-Zook – Karen Mueller – Ivan Stiles

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 its twenty-ninth 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!

The Gathering takes place at Little Buffalo State Park Campground just outside Newport, Pennsylvania.  For those who are unfamiliar with the Gathering, Gregg Averett’s 2019 Gathering Recap is a good way to understand just how much fun we can pack into four days.

Our 2021 Gathering will be held at Little Buffalo from June 23-27, 2021

Our featured performers for 2021:

Karen Mueller • Ron Wall
 Les Gustafson-Zook • Ivan Stiles • June Maugery
Cindy Harris (and the GrayScale ContraBand)

Hot News

The 2020 Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering has been postoned until 2021. If you have additional questions about the Gathering or need additional assistance, our registrar is also available through the MLAG Hot Line. The 2021 Gathering will be our 30th year celebration and it’s going to be one to truly remember.

New MLAG Toll-Free Hot Line: MLAG now has a toll-free hot line to help answer any questions you may have about the upcoming Gathering …

Annual Deadlines

  • Autoharp Hall of Fame nominations applications are due by March 1, 2021. A ballot is  downloadable here  and is also available in the Summer, Fall and Winter issues of the Autoharp Quarterly. You can also use our new interactive form feature to submit your nomination. For a list of the members of the Autoharp Hall of Fame, click here.
  • Mary Lou Orthey Scholarship applications are due April 1, 2021. If you are thinking about coming to the 2021 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 1, 2021.

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 Kathy Wieland or Cathy Beyer.

Registration – Press 1
Camping – Press 2
Pre-Gathering Classes – Press 3
Workshops – Press 4
Mary Lou Orthey Scholarship – Press 5
Cohen-Grappel Recording Grant – Press 6
Autoharp Angels Program – Press 7
Autoharp Hall of Fame – Press 8
For all other questions – Press 9

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




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