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UK AUTOHARPS CONTACT COMMITTEE


Find out about UKA committee members, who they are and how they can help.
For all role descriptions and responsibilities, see UKA CommitteeRoles2018.PDF.
Currently Unavailable, check back soon.
If you have a general enquiry or a point you would like to raise, please contact:
Sue Edwards emailinfo@UKAutoharps.com

chapterUKA President

GUY PADFIELD

engArea: London

GUY PADFIELD

In late 2007 I developed an interest in unusual musical instruments, being keen to try anything. I discovered an old autoharp at an antiques market and then bought a modern one upon the advice of the UKA website. I first began to teach myself, and then realised I’d need to find other autoharpists for help with spares and repairs. I attended my first UKA day in Stroud in the spring of 2008, taking beginners' classes. I learned things that day which would have taken ages to learn by myself. Afterwards I felt confident enough but never realised how much the instrument would take over my music life.

I used to play guitar on my own for several years, harbouring an ambition one day to play in public. That day came and I took a guitar to an open mic along with a newly learned autoharp. After my second visit I was invited to play with some other musicians and we subsequently formed a band which blossomed over five years.

In 2012 back in Stroud, I led my first class of beginners and have been teaching for the UKA ever since. I also offer one-to-one lessons in my home area of South West London and Surrey and I'm proud to have my autoharp currently on two CDs. Having played in some popular music venues in South West London and Surrey and gained experience of band life, I've now returned to a solo role, concentrating on songwriting and teaching autoharp.

Guy is a UKA Tutor. He played track 5 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD and is also an Autoharp Performer

Guy Padfield emailPresident@UKAutoharps.com
Or emailGuy@UKAutoharps.com


soundcloudsoundcloud.com - Guy Padfield
wwwguypadfieldautoharp.weebly.com
wwwfacebook.com/guypadfieldautoharp



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chapterUKA Vice President

& UKA Webmaster

JOOLZ

scotlandArea: Central Scotland (and beyond by arrangement...)

Vice President

I have been singing and performing for more years than I care to mention. I was looking to learn a stringed instrument for songrwiting and performing. I didn't want a guitar as I had tried playing it in past and just didn't enjoy it. A friend and musician said "Get an autoharp." That was some of the best advice I ever received. I had no idea what an autoharp was, I searched the internet and discovered the annual UKA event held in Moniaive. Why had I never heard this instrument before? Never seen it in a music session, never seen it played in a band. So quirky and maybe a little eccentric, I liked it. Off I went to my first UKA event in the beautiful village of Moniaive and I was inspired. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. A loaner autoharp was available to get me started. I bought my first autoharp a few months later from Mike Fenton - a vintage 1979 Oscar Schmidt Model 15 EBH/R, a lovely sounding chromatic 'harp, with beautiful custom chord bars from Doug Curran. I also managed a submission to the UKA CD and all within six months of seeing my very first Autoharp.

I have found the autoharp to be a very tactile and rewarding instrument. A bit like life it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it.

I soon joined the committee in 2013 as UKA Webmaster, in 2016 I became a UKA Tutor and in 2018 I was elected as Vice President. And so my love affair with the autoharp continues. I hope to carry on promoting and teaching the autoharp especially to younger people through digital media and by helping organise our members into an Autoharps on Tour Team. If you can help or you need more information, please get in touch.

Joolz played track 11 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD and is a UKA Autoharp Tutor and Performer

Joolz
emailJoolz@UKAutoharps.com
emailVice_President@UKAutoharps.com
emailWebmaster@UKAutoharps.com


wwwfacebook.com/jjoolz



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chapterUKA Treasurer

NEIL GILLARD

engArea: Dorset

UKA President

My first encounter with an autoharp – well thirty or more of them – was when Mike Fenton visited the school where I was teaching, and I also realised that my good friend and colleague the late Sue Laughton played the instrument. Despite being immensely taken by the sound of the ‘harp, it wasn’t until the next time that Mike came round, and offered to lend me one, that I got started! I loved it, playing initially on my lap, and then upside down, as I am left-handed and quickly decided that I would not attempt to play right-handed. Soon I acquired a secondhand Oscar Schmidt from Mike, and not long after that I bought a new OS Centurion, thoroughly enjoying strumming through tunes and songs. I also joined the UKA and attended one or two ‘Days’, learning lots, although progress was slow. Sore Fingers Easter weeks helped a bit, and so did the purchase of a left-handed luthier autoharp from Pete Daigle.

“These days I can be found at most UKA events and Sore Fingers weeks – where I am even beginning to enjoy performing with a scratch band - and I also go out most weeks to folk and acoustic sessions at pubs and clubs around here, where I have fun accompanying my own songs and those of others, or joining in jam sessions. I have also played in some care homes and at a couple of charity concerts.

Neil played track 8 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD

Neil Gillard emailTreasurer@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Tutor Co-Ordinator

HEATHER FARRELL-ROBERTS

engArea: Kent

UKA Tutor Co

I have been playing the autoharp for 20 years. I play mostly diatonic autoharps as I love the quality of their sound. I have four luthier autoharps – three made by Tom Fladmark and one made by Pete D’Aigle (I won the latter at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering Contest in 2002 when I came second). I also have an Oscar Schmidt original Wildwood Flower with the most amazing sustain."

“I attended the very first autoharp day and have been a committee member from the beginning, even being President before Neil Gillard.

I love teaching people to play this lovely instrument. I teach beginners through to advanced classes. I teach at most UKA days and also at Sore Fingers. The autoharp world is my second family… such lovely people both here in the UK and in the USA.

Heather played track 3 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD. She has also recorded two Autoharp CDs and is a UKA Tutor

Heather Farrell-Roberts emailTutor_Coordinator@ukautoharps.com



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chapterUKA Membership Secretary

Doug Harbour

engArea: England

UKA Doug

"A few years ago, this contented strummer of the 12-string guitar (in my church worship band) started hankering after a sound.  From deep in my memory bank emerged a brief time when I was a student, and came into possession of an autoharp. I didn’t keep it long, beautiful as it looked (black with a rose), but thesound evidently survived a long time. So I Googled “Autoharp”, and the rest – as they say – is history! I came into possession of an OS “Americana” from Florida via eBay (I hadn’t read the UKA warnings at that time!) and also discovered the UKA, attending my first meeting in April 2014.
I also attended my first “Sore Fingers” soon after – a steep learning curve to be had there! I have attended all UKA gatherings since (apart from Scottish), and bought from Mike Fenton a rebuilt “Wildwood” (2nd generation) set up in G/D Diatonic. I love its sound.
I have now added a beautiful custom-built instrument from Alec Anness, which is set up as a complementary chromatic majoring in G,D A & E (with 2 extra strings for an improved E chord). My original OS is now set up to major in Bflat, F, C & G, and both 'harps have a wider range of chords fitted
Currently I play my ‘harps in my church band (along withguitar), and also at a local monthly ‘open mic’ event, along with a guitarist friend and an old mate who plays acoustic bass (and used to play sessions with “Fleetwood Mac”). We do assorted pop, skiffle and ballad songs. I was recently elected to serve on the Committee as Membership Secretary. I feel sure that, under Guy’s leadership, a fresh push can be made to attract younger people toward the autoharp."

Doug Harbour emailMembership_Secretary@ukautoharps.com



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chapterUKA Autoharp Notes Editor

JUDY SPINDLER

engArea: Buckinghamshire

UKA Treasurer

I first encountered the autoharp about 10 years ago when I was given Lucille Reilly's CD 'Thus Sings My Soul'. I thought it would be a relatively easy instrument to learn to strum whilst accompanying my guitar and banjo-player husband. Indeed it is easy to strum; picking out a tune properly is considerably more difficult!"

“My main interest is playing old-time and bluegrass tunes, and I have recently joined a band which performs with Tappalachian, an Appalachian clog dance group.

As editor of Autoharp Notes, I can combine my professional experience as a graphic designer (retired) with my interest in all things autoharp.

Judy played track 7 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD

Judy Spindler emailEditor_AHN@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Communications Co-Ordinator &

SUE EDWARDS

engArea: Gloucestershire

UKAvicepres

I have been playing now for 19 years, after hearing a Wildwood Flower played in the high street in my town. I met Mike Fenton at a local school, and then Nadine White and others at the first autoharp workshops held in Drayton. Once UKA was formed I organised some of the workshop days in Stroud and helped at other venues. As a committee member I think it is important to promote this wonderful instrument and encourage new players to enjoy and expand their potential."

"I started to play diatonic and convert OS harps to different keys, and found this enabled me to write my own music. I now own some beautiful luthier ’harps as well as converted OS autoharps, and also a Ron Wall Mountain Harp. I enjoy experimenting with tunings, setting out string schedules and chord bar arrangements. I have made many friends, both here and in USA, and have been very fortunate to attend MLAG in 2006 (I was a finalist that year in the Autoharp Championship), 2008 and 2010. I have been to Sore Fingers Summer School at Easter since 2001, and all the Sore Fingers October Weekends - a magical place!

Sue played track 13 on the UKA Autoharp Britannia CD. Sue is a UKA Tutor

Sue Edwards
emailSue@UKAutoharps.com
emailInfo@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Loaner 'Harp Co-Ordinator

LYN JONES

engArea: BRISTOL

UKA

"Mike Fenton visited my school some years ago, and he sowed the seeds of the ambition to play the autoharp. In 2008 I retired from education and began playing. I played piano accordion in my distant youth, so had some idea about all those buttons. After my first visit to ‘Sore Fingers’ (Karen Mueller was tutor) I purchased an OS73 Reissue and right from the beginning wanted to play melody.
After 3 years I tried diatonic and then was in a quandary. Which way to go -chromatic or diatonic. I still haven’t decided. I like the repertoire of both, so following Mike Fenton’s advice I’m enjoying ‘all and everything’.
I’ve been so very lucky to experience fantastic teachers on both sides of the ‘pond’ and enjoy passing on all the good advice I have received."

For more information visit the UKA Loaner Autoharps page.

Lyn Jones emailLyn@UKAutoharps.com
Or emailLoanerHarps@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Committee Member

CHRISSIE SILLS

engArea: Suffolk

UKA Loaner Harps

I first got into autoharp via a children’s workshop run by Mike Fenton at Towersey more years ago than I care to think about. At the time I was unable to pursue it due to family commitments. I then started attending autoharp days in Drayton but without a harp of my own to practice with, I only held one at autoharp days for quite a few years of missed opportunities. I bought my first one, a 15 bar ’harp, at Sidmouth Folk Festival and took it to Sore Fingers. I got frustrated in Mike's class so he said he would take it in part exchange for a Centurion 21 bar and I didn't look back.

Chrissie Sills emailChrissie@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Advance Organiser

& UKA Newsletter Editor

JAN BRODIE

engArea: Cotswolds

UKA

"I have ‘played ’ the autoharp since buying my first one in 1996 (ish). I was a founder member of the Manx Autoharp Group which meets monthly on the Isle of Man.  I have since moved to England and am now living in the Cotswolds, between Stroud and Gloucester. I was asked to join the UK Autoharps Committee, which I did, and I am now also joint founder of the Stroud Autoharp Group. We have formed an ensemble of autoharps and various stringed instruments, calling ourselves ‘Heartstrings’.  We are available for performances, charity concerts, folk festivals, etc. We will happily play for cake but money is also very acceptable!

I am an experienced solo performer as a singer and autoharper.  I am on Track 17 of Autoharp Britannia and am featured twice (once solo and one with the Manx Autoharpers) on ‘Strike the ‘Harp Again’ which was produced in the States.

My role on the Committee is the compiling and distributing of the UK Autoharps Newsletter which is sent out monthly to our membership and I have recently taken over the role of Advance Organiser."

Jan Brodie emailJan@UKAutoharps.com
Or emailAdvance_Organiser@UKAutoharps.com



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chapterUKA Committee Member

David Coulter

engArea: England

UKA

"Bought my first autoharp in 1973 while stationed with the RAF in Germany. It was one of those cheap 12 bar black ones. I already had 6 and 12 string guitars, a mandolin, tenor banjo and Appalachian dulcimer and I thought, “this has strings as well”. All I knew at the time was Brian Bowers played one. I wasn’t a serious autoharp player.
After leaving the RAF I ended up working in London until I migrated to Australia in 1981. Leaving the autoharp behind (it didn’t have a case) I promised myself a better 'harp. And in 2013 I bought an OS120 from Mike Fenton. And then I joined UKA and discovered Diatonic autoharps…
I now have three Alec Anness harps, a GDA and a CF diatonic and a chromatic with pickup fitted, playing mainly instrumentals from Scotland, Ireland and Europe and accompanying the occasional song."

David Coulter emailDavid@UKAutoharps.com



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