BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
April 17, harpist Johanne McInnis will welcome fellow harpist Timothy Habinski for a workshop and concert in Canning.
Habinski, who moved to the Valley 18 months ago, recorded his first album on a 40-string Storm King model Celtic harp he designed and crafted while wearing his other hat as the luthier behind Canada's Timothy Harps.
Habinski recalls, 20 years ago, hearing his first recording of Loreena McKennitt and realizing, “there were things you could do with a harp that you couldn't do with a guitar - I realized I had to have one.”
Being an impoverished university student in Ontario, he decided to try his hand at making a harp.
“I was a reasonable woodworker and had access to a shop, and figured a harp could be possible. I completed my first harp by the end of the summer, and loved the experience of making it - almost as much as I enjoyed playing the finished product.”
Then, something happened that completely surprised him.
“Someone offered to buy my harp. And then someone else did. And then a third person made the same offer. A light bulb went off in my tuition-centric mind: if I made a few harps every year, I could pay for my schooling.”
He spent many hours researching the theory of instrument design, with an eye to eventually producing his own unique line of harps. It launched a few years later.
Timothy Harps has become an established cornerstone of the international harp community. Most of his harps are exported. In 2009, Habinski and his family decided to relocate their home and business just outside of Bridgetown.
“I divide my time between making harps, performing as a professional harpist and songwriter, and spending time with my family in this lovely corner of the world.”
The hour-long concert starts at 8 p.m., but, before that, Harper will offer two short workshops on the art of rehearsing efficiently and harp maintenance. Participants are encouraged to bring questions, tuning keys and any harps in need of TLC. McInnis, director of The Enchanted Harp Ensemble in Kings County, says the sessions will start at 6:30 p.m. and the concert at 8 pm. at the Ocean Spirit Studio. The harp instruction is open to anyone interested.
Habinski believes music has an extraordinary capacity to touch the human heart. For many harpists, this is the reason they began to play. Every performance is a unique opportunity to give this gift of grace to an audience.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Concert and workshop fee is $20. Please reserve by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org