About the festival
No matter where you are in the world or your playing level, there’s something for everyone at The Somerset Folk Harp Festival. This two weekend conference celebrates the diversity of music, talent and experience of the folk harp world. Whether you are new to the harp, want to focus on one style or type of music, solidify some specific skills, or try out something new, Somerset’s workshop offerings are sure to expand your musical horizon. Attend our Hybrid festival in-person or Online: VIP (very in-person) and Online Only (either All-Access or Limited-Time). See details for registration options. You’ll have access to replays of the workshops for the length of your subscription so you won’t miss out on anything.
We’re back on-site in Parsippany, NJ (40 minutes outside of New York City) where you’ll be able to wander around our Exhibit Hall, talk to the luthiers, and try out the hundreds of different harps on display, and maybe take one home with you. Daily concerts will inspire you as well as our after hours sessions, talent show, and dances. Explore everything from the Blues to Scandinavian music on all kinds of harps: single row harps, double-strung harps, cross-strung harps, historic harps, small harps and more.
Christy-Lyn and her sister visited Somerset in 2019 from South Africa.
The festival is Hybrid now so you can watch and rewatch workshops and concerts for the length of your subscription.
A Note from the Director
Last year, for my first year as Director, we started a new Somerset tradition where we will showcase an artist from a different country that has a harp tradition. We began our journey in Ireland.
2023’s featured artist was Irish Illustrator Sorrell Reilly. During my podcast interview with Aisling Lyons on HarpSong® we spoke about the lovely artwork on her newest album, “Aistear“, and I knew Sorrell was the perfect inaugural artist.
Sorrell‘s image invokes the beauty of the land, the music, and the harp and how the music and the musician grow out of the land. If you love this image we have some items available on the website and we‘ll have posters and other limited edition items available as well.
Take a look at her beautiful artwork and last year’s program. I can’t wait to share the special artwork for 2024 with you, so stay tuned!
Maureen started as Concert Manager of Somerset in 2009. She took over as Director from Kathy DeAngelo after the 2022 festival. She received her MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick under the guidance of Micheal O Suilleabhain. She also played in the Delaware Valley Celtic Harp Orchestra and has an MA in Music Education from Columbia University. She now teaches music and directs youth theater in NJ and the Lower Hudson Valley. She plays in local Irish Traditional Music Sessions. She launched a harp-focused podcast in 2020, interviewing many of our presenters and performers. See her HarpSong® podcast website.
Kim Adamson has been a part of Somerset since its inception. From coordinating the set up of the exhibit hall, running the harp tastings, and assisting at the concert stage, Kim is busy making sure that the festival runs smoothly. When she’s not at Somerset she gigs as a harpist and works in Veterinary Medicine.
Nyx (they/them) is a musician, songwriter, and composer. In 2023, they stepped into the role of Concert Manager after working with the festival for a number of years. They first began playing the Irish lever harp over 15 years ago with Kathy DeAngelo and have attended Somerset for as many years. Through their BM at Berklee College of Music they expanded into a wide variety of genres. Now, they primarily perform alt, punk, and prog/math rock on their electric lever harp. Their journey with their mental health has taught them the power of music to transform lives. Now, as a proud Indian American and transgender non-binary person, they strive to share that gift to uplift their community. Nyx has released one studio album, Funeral Afterparty, with their band The Dead Friends Club (@tdfcmusic) with more on the way.
Concert Sound Engineer
Our festival attendees rave about the sound quality at our concerts and it’s all due to the expertise and professionalism of our tech crew headed by David Eisner. Dave joined the festival in 2008 when it was in Alexandria, VA.
When he’s not working at our festival, Dave is behind the House of Musical Traditions and Institute of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, MD, the center of the folk music world in the metropolitan Washington DC area.
Kathy took over management of the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in July 2008 with the retirement of founder/director Gerry Serviente and passed the crown to Maureen Buscareno in 2022. She performed in the first Somerset and had been part of the festival as concert manager since 2002.
Kathy has been playing the harp since 1984 and performing traditional Irish music since 1972. She has been actively engaged in the folk music scene in New Jersey since her Douglass College days, starting the Mine Street Coffeehouse in New Brunswick in 1973 and being the music director at the first New Jersey Folk Festival in 1975. In 2006 she rejoined the New Jersey Folk Festival as its music director, retiring from that position in 2014.
Kathy teaches harp and runs ‘You Gotta Have Harp Productions’. She organized the annual Harpers Escape Weekend for 24 years, which has now morphed into the Harpers Escape Harp Tour of Ireland. She created and taught at the You Gotta Have Harp Summer Camp with Gloria Galante for some years.
When she is not teaching harp or performing with her husband Dennis Gormley in McDermott’s Handy or working on the festival, she’s a booking agent and concert producer. She and Dennis were inducted into Mid-Atlantic Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame in 2015.
Gerry Serviente founded the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in 2001 and directed this major harp event until 2008. She has been a tireless promoter of the many facets and styles of the folk harp and we’re indebted to her for her long years of service.
Somerset will be HYBRID in 2024. This means we’ll be on-site at the Hilton in Parsippany, NJ, for those who want to attend in-person, while at the same time be on Zoom with our ‘live’ workshops and events. If you’re attending remotely, all you’ll need to attend the festival is an internet connection. If you can play videos on YouTube, you’ll have no trouble attending the festival.
Registered attendees will log into our member portal to get access to all of the festival workshops and events. A laptop or tablet is the best way to view our content; you can attend from your phone but it’s really not the best way to attend and view workshops. Most of our workshops will be presented “live” on-site in Parsippany AND on Zoom and recorded for later replay via your member sign-in. No matter where you are in the world – the festival is located wherever you are!