Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering

Last Sunday afternoon, on February 21st, Muriel Powers passed away after a two  year-long fight against lung cancer. She died at home, “Surrounded by  Love“.

Muriel’s style of playing the autoharp  has been described as intense, or dream-like, depending on the song, but  always passionate. She took great pride in demonstrating how many  different genres of music could be played on the  instrument. Other harpists say they were inspired not only by how she played, but what she played. By doing so, she exposed other musicians to various methods to freely explore ways to “play outside the box”.

Muriel Powers was a gem of the Northwest, as a player and an organizer, as a recording artist and as a gentle spirit. She was comfortable playing full-blown rock ‘n roll as she was with meditative music. Muriel recorded as a soloist with a Celtic group in her hometown of Port Townsend, WA, and on a CD of her own compositions very much in a meditative groove. She worked in the field of healing bedside music and played at several festivals, as well as writing the column “Music And Healing” for the Autoharp Quarterly. After a long battle with cancer, Muriel wanted to donate to her favorite charity, the Autoharp Angels.
We will miss her, yet she will live on through her music and wonderful memories. Should anyone wish to donate to Autoharp Angels in memory of Muriel, you may do that by clicking on the donate button at the bottom of this page … please indicate that you’d like the donation to go to the Autoharp Angels when asked if there are any special instructions to the seller.

Dr. George Orthey
In Memoriam (1932-2020)

Dear Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering Family,

First of all, the MLAG Board wishes you the happiest and most blessed holiday season, and a bright and healthy new year! I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a unique experience, to say the least, and we look forward with hope to 2021.

Secondly, the board met recently and discussed plans for our upcoming 30th MLAG. Even with hope on the horizon, we just did not feel comfortable scheduling a full-blown in-person Gathering in June 2021. So, for the safety and health of you, our faithful attendees, as well as ourselves, we voted to postpone the celebration of 30 years of MLAG for another year, until 2022. We want our 30th festival to be one when we can safely travel, gather, and really make wonderful musical memories!

However, we are excited to announce that during the MLAG weekend of June 23-27, 2021, we will put on a virtual event! We envision offering a slate of high-quality workshops and demonstrations at all levels, together with times for social interaction so that we can check in with each other, even long-distance. We will be able to educate and gather, keep our MLAG community connected, and support our wonderful musical family of performers and teachers.

We hope that by letting you know this news now, it will help you with planning your year and that you will save the dates for this virtual event. It will most certainly not take the place of our usual annual hug-fest, but will offer you a chance to receive what you have come to expect from MLAG workshops – a wonderful learning experience.

More details and registration information will follow in the next few months, after we firm up the schedule and fill the slate of instructors and topics. Meanwhile, enjoy your holidays and save the dates of June 23-27, 2021, for the very first virtual Mountain Laurel event!!
Kathie Hollandsworth
Festival Director

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 2022 Gathering will be held at Little Buffalo from June 23-26, 2022

Our featured performers for 2022:

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

Hot News

For those of you who haven’t heard, I must acknowledge some sad news – the passing of Festival Founder George Orthey on August 18, 2020.

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 …

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.

The new privacy laws require that newsletter
subscribers Opt-In to the Mailing List.
If you had been on our mailing and are no longer receiving our Newsletters, then you will need to opt-in using this link.