Harpist Joanna Mergler Mayer

Aurora Harp Ensemble

About the Aurora Harp Ensemble

The Aurora Harp Ensemble first formed in 1999 in the living room of Harpist and teacher, Joanna Mergler Mayer, in attempts to expose her students to other harp players, and to develop duet/ensemble skills. Anyone who played the harp in Alaska (a rare occurance in itself) was encouraged to come and play with "like instruments". On St. Patrick's Day in March of 2000, the Aurora Harp Ensemble, (16 harps from Anchorage, Eagle River, Girdwood, and Fairbanks) had a debut performance at Cyrano's Off-Center Playhouse. Today the Aurora Harp Ensemble continues to provide Alaskan harpers with new opportunities to develop skills and gain experiences, to participate in an ensemble and play with like instruments on a regular basis.  The Aurora Harp Ensemble also promotes harp education, expands knowledge about the harp to Alaskan audiences, and remains the first and only year-round harp ensemble in Alaska.

The Aurora Harp Ensemble (AHE) performs for many community events, political functions, and fundraisers. A few of AHE's regular clients include: the Anchorage Senior Center, Bird TLC, the MS Society, the Community Education Association, the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, ASD Teacher's Academy, IACSA "Afternoon in Ireland" event, and the Anchorage Botanical Gardens Secret Garden Tour.

The Aurora Harp Ensemble's Repertoire includes Medieval, Renaissance, and Celtic music, Christmas and Holiday selections, Classical music, hymns, and Pop. We have repertoire appropriate for many types of special occasions.

Harp Ensemble Classes

Joanna holds harp ensemble classes two nights a month, in which ensemble members rehearse new repertoire and practice together.

Students will meet bi-weekly during Sessions (Fall and Winter/Spring) consisting of 5-8 two-hour classes, to sight-read, rehearse, and explore a variety of multi-cultural repertoire written for the non-pedal harp. Note reading is necessary, however parts will be written for various levels of difficulty.

Joanna's Mission

  • To teach the harp to a group of people diverse in age, background, and musical experience, who are brought together in a common love of and curiosity about the harp.
  • To expand knowledge of the harp as a historical instrument, an orchestral instrument, a therapeutic instrument, an instrument of theory and rhythm, a solo instrument, an ensemble instrument.
  • To promote interest in playing the harp, and to create a fun, relaxing, "no-pressure" learning environment for harpers of all ages, goals, and levels of ability.
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