Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Thought To Take With You To Harp Concerts

The Harp:


“it keeps you humble and keeps you at home. You can't run around with a harp. Having one is like living with an elderly parent in very poor health: it's hard to get them in and out of cars, and it's hard to keep them happy. It takes fourteen hours to tune a harp, which remains in tune for about twenty minutes, or until somebody opens the door.”


This is part of one of many many humourous yet outstandingly perceptive writings by Garrison Keillor. The above is a very short snippet from his “A Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra", that deserves much more attention to read than the casual read of a blog.


More From Garrison 


For many people Garrison Keillor is a household name and it may seem to be surprising, even strange, to spend a moment reminding people about his work. Possibly his familiarity has spread like Brigid’s Cloak through his voice overs on Honda car tv commercials. Some of you may have even wondered who that eccentric is who wrote and spoke those commercials.

Garrison Keillor’s platform for the since 1974 has been the A Prairie Home Companion radio show, which, interestingly, has Toyota as one of its sponsors.

July 6, 1974 was the first broadcast from the Janet Wallace Auditorium at Saint Paul, Minnesota with about 12 people in the audience. From 1989, the show moved to New York and became renamed as The American Radio Company of the Air. In 1992, it moved back to Minnesota and back to its old name A Prairie Home Companion. Many people have ventured into discovering the Prairie Home Companion after the release of a wonderful comedy movie around the show, released a couple of years ago. 


The show is an interesting mix of real “down home on the farm from the barn” folk music and song and Garrison’s hilarious and highly intelligently constructed “News From Lake Wobegon” and other tales. Lake Wobegon is a fictional mid we st town “where the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”.


The show has also gone on the road into other countries such as Ireland, Scotland and England and featured the traditional and folk music and tales of those countries.


Interestingly, Garrison receives no credits during or after the show except some reference to “G.K.”


However, Garrison does receive wonderful credit for his other show, “The Writer’s Almanac” and last year Garrison finally got around to opening his own bookshop in the Cathedral Area of St. Paul’s, Minnesota. Its in a basement below Nina’s Coffee Cafe.


So to use Garrison’s closing blessing at the end of every Writer’s Almanac show and to use as a tribute to every harpist who has the courage to perform


Be well, do good work, and keep in touch”


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