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Yuletide Greeting 2005
Dear Friends,              

Glistening in the autumn mist, the holly trees of Magic Hill are adorned with bright red berries that remind us of this ancient symbol for the Yuletide season.  We are grateful to all of you who have celebrated with us through the years, and invite you once again to join our colorful procession and three generations of artists:  the Boulding clan on harps, dulcimers, violins, cello, whistles, concertina and more; songs of the season and rollicking reels with Fiddlehead, Northwest’s premier Celtic trio on violin, guitar and Irish pipes; and the Raney Family Irish Dancers with their lightening-fast feet.  Be mesmerized by the lyrical juggling of Thomas Arthur and thunderous percussion of Jarrod Kaplan.  A magical tale of kings and shepherds will be graced by eurythmy, while Mark Raney with his warmth and humor will lead us in song and the hall will resound in glorious harmony singing all through the night.

With cello and Irish dance our son Brenin and his family, Sara and 5-year-old Rowan will perform throughout the entire Yuletide season. We feel so fortunate that they live close by in Seattle where they work together managing the Raney family chemistry lab, and where Sara teaches at her Tara Academy of Irish Dance. Joining us for the final weekend will be the rest of our five, with a growing third generation. Geoffrey, Erin, 5-year-old Kailey and eleven-month-old Lindsey, will arrive just in time for the Tacoma concert.

Geoffrey, our eldest and violinist, has recently accepted a position managing the Bio-imaging facility at Brown University in Rhode Island, where brother, builder and harp player Marshall along with Abby and two-year-old Margaret will welcome our fifth grandchild into the world in January of 2006. Morgan, who performs on field organ and pennywhistle will be arriving from his home in Philadelphia where his wife Lara is attending medical school. They have dreams of settling in the Northwest someday.

Brittany, our youngest and professional violinist, gave a highly acclaimed performance of the Barber Violin Concerto as soloist in Breckenridge, Colorado this past summer. We were there! Brittany, in her second year of graduate studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, just won a position in the Oakland Symphony and will be auditioning for major orchestras nationwide. As per tradition, her violin will sing out into the hall with a special solo for Yuletide.

Magical Strings, the parents, have had a wonderful year of performing. We recently completed a very successful West Coast Fall tour and had a wonderful East Coast tour last spring – both of them allowing us the opportunity to spend precious time with our dear families who live much too far away.  Brittany was able to join us on stage at our concert in Los Angeles.    Last winter we performed for many children throughout the country and, thanks to the South Kitsap School district, were able to give over 5,000 elementary children a hands-on experience with harps and dulcimers and treat them to some of our favorite Celtic tunes and original works in an assembly. 

This year found Philip back in Billy Oskay’s Big Red Studio recording three solo CD’s, Celtic Mist, Celtic Holiday, and Elegance of Hammered Dulcimer for the Allegro label.  He also has just finished creating a beautiful new concert model harp which he will be taking over the mountains to Spokane for the our last Arts Festival of the year. We are thinking of naming it after one of our granddaughters; Rowan, Lindsey or Margaret. The Kailey Harp, named for our second-born granddaughter, has been a very popular model. Presently, there are many students coming to Olalla for harp classes at our School of Magical Strings and for private lessons.  Magic Hill Summer Harp ‘and Hammered Dulcimer’ Camp, by tradition occurring on the second weekend of August, was our best yet. We have been told by two of this past year’s campers that learning to play the harp and dulcimer as a married couple can be quite enlivening and awakens a new and joyous journey of togetherness.

In these times of dramatic world turbulence, Yuletide brings a message of healing and renewal.  With our Celtic Yuletide festival we carry a flame of hope into the darkness of winter, to kindle that inner fire that carries us through the cold to the return of light.  We hope you will come celebrate with us and revel in that joyous light which permeates everything with radiance—Celtic Yuletide!

Philip and Pam Boulding

Past Year's letters 2004  2003



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