Downey Autoharp Circle

June, 2010.  The adventure begins. Three friends just gathered together who would like to practice and play autoharp every week.

Some people have called it the Devil’s Scratchboard! It was supposed to be an easy-to-learn instrument.  Well, basically it is,  but that was before I learned about the many different strums and picking styles.  So, new strums it is, and armed with a delicious book of Christmas tunes and the Mel Bay Complete Method of Autoharp or Chromaharp by Meg Pearson, we were on our way. This excellent instruction book shows us the strums as well as the chords to play and sing.  It comes with a CD so a person can hear as well as read assignments.  Mel Bay’s Autoharp Owner’s Manual is good as gold, too.

So out of our little practice group, “The Downey Autoharp Circle” was born.  “LadyFingers” is the name of our performing group, a name spawned by Jim Romano when he heard us searching for a name at the same time he was searching for ladyfingers, and important ingredient in the tiramisu cake he creates for our family Christmas party. We have played a few open mics, assisted care homes, Rancho Los Amigos, etc., proving to ourselves that diligent practice improves our playing and singing.  And practice I must!  Coming in as a melody player, chords are a challenge to me…..a totally foreign language.

Should you wish to strum, pick and sing with us, we guarantee instant gratification. We’ll hold your hand and show you how press the chord buttons so you get the feel of it.  After a tune or two, you’ll be on your own.  We are sure of it!  We even have loaner instruments available to get you started.

Our autoharp circle meets first and third Mondays at a private home in Downey or Whittier from 7:00 – 9:30 pm.  And that’s about it.  Should you be available Monday evenings, come over and pick ‘n strum with us. You’ll make new friends and gain the satisfaction of learning a new instrument.  Remember, you are never too young or too old to learn.

Additional resources:

Dana Whitney’s Autoharp Gathering in Huntington Beach                                                                Dana also hosts “Pickin’ in the Pines”, Cambria, CA, in October.

California Autoharp Gathering (CAG) in Dunlap, CA (near Sequoia Nat’l Park) A half or full week of in-depth group and private autoharp workshops by renowned local and country-wide autoharp artists.