Lyre Association of North America

Support for Lyre 2017

As a part of our mission statement, The Lyre Association of North America has a commitment to make our annual conferences available to as many members and friends as possible. One of the ways we seek to achieve this goal is by arranging to host our conferences in a variety of geographic locations. In this way, we are able to attract local members and new friends who have an interest to learn to play the lyre. This commitment does come at a cost, however, since our country spans over 2000 miles from East to West, and in years like this one when we are holding our conference in an entirely new location in the middle of the country, members and friends from both coasts are having to bear a significant transportation cost. In a year when we are also bringing a master teacher from Europe, the Lyre Association likewise has to bear higher than normal costs and therefore has less available to offer toward financial aid scholarships to those who are finding themselves challenged because of transportation costs. Because of our commitment to offer as much support as possible, we are appealing especially to you, our members and friends who are not attending this years’ conference, to consider making a modest donation to LANA in order to offset the costs of our support to those who have appealed to us for financial aid scholarships. Any amount, small or large, makes a difference, and we thank you in advance for your continuing support of our efforts to bring the joy of the lyre to as many people as possible!

Final Notice: Summer Lyre Conference in East Troy, WI

It is with great excitement that we send out this final notice as we are making final preparations to welcome master lyrist and teacher, Martin Tobiassen, to our 2017 Lyre Conference in East Troy, Wisconsin. The Board of the Lyre Association, in conjunction with our Conference Steering Group and our dedicated local host Gail Sauter, have been working very hard over these last several months to prepare a conference that we hope will inform, instruct, and inspire all who attend!

We will spend our mornings working with the elements of listening, improvisation, playing by ear, lyre technique, and good ensemble playing. In the afternoons, we will separate into experience-based groups to practice some of the things we have done in the mornings, to learn our designated parts for the conference music, as well as to enjoy new repertoire designed for each group. In addition, we will have separate afternoon sessions devoted to experiencing the conference music with the full group, Spacial Dynamics, and singing together! In the evenings, we will hear from Martin and share some individually prepared lyre music, we will have a special Lyre Jam Session, and we will have a public evening of sharing some of the fruits of our conference work.

All of these stimulating musical activities will take place at the beautiful Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, which will provide a harmonious and supportive context for our experience together. We are very much looking forward to the opportunity to get to know Martin, to meet new music and new lyre friends, and to renew acquaintances and to play again with others, as we joyfully make music together from Sunday evening, July 16th to Thursday noon, July 20th. ALL are welcome to join us for this memorable week ahead!

Coming Next Spring!The Sacred Gateway: Conscious Living, Conscious Dying, and the Journey Beyond

A national conference on death and dying sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society will take place in Sacramento, CA, on April 6-8, 2018. This conference will especially honor Nancy Poer and all the threshold work she has contributed over the years. It will hopefully be the first of three conferences, one in each region. It will be of interest to anyone contemplating their own transition or caring for loved ones approaching the threshold. Early in the planning stages, the committee clearly wished for artistic activities to be a big part of the conference, and are very enthusiastic about the involvement of the lyre. We are forming a group of lyrists, mostly on the West coast for this first conference, who want to be a part of a performing group or contribute to a workshop on Music at the Threshold. If we have missed you, and you would like to be involved, either in the first or future conferences, please contact Marianne Dietzel at We hope the collaboration between eurythmists, lyrists and spoken word artists will bring to life the journey of the soul between death and a new birth in a beautiful way.

Kinderlyre Course in Minnesota Goes to China

By Marianne Dietzel, St. Paul, Minnesota

Yushi Zhang and Marianne Dietzel of Minnesota are working on a project together - "Twenty-five Lessons, Step by Step, Knowing your Kinderlyre." Thanks to modern technology, they do not need to travel to China, for they are reaching many people through videos. 

Since the Waldorf movement has bloomed in China, the Kinderlyre is becoming a part of many Waldorf families and new Kindergartens, but there are not a lot of resources to learn and practice. The videos start from getting to know the lyre and how to stroke the strings, and move to more practical aspects such as tuning the lyre, changing a string, and basic music reading skills, as well as understanding and playing mood-of-the fifth and pentatonic music. They are trying to give the audience a jump-start on discovering music with the Kinderlyre. They have been getting feedback that it is a very thorough course and the teacher is very thoughtful and understanding of where students are coming from, and the clear translations are appreciated!

The students are mainly from China, but some are Chinese speakers living in other continents who benefit from having this course available online in their native language. Yushi and Marianne are hoping to help more people understand their lyres through this course. For more information, contact Yushi at

Update on LANA Founding Member Channa Seidenberg

By Sheila Johns, Cuenca, Ecuador

As all of our members and friends have been aware, LANA Board member Channa Seidenberg, who was also one of the original founders of our Association, has been convalescing over the last several months from a broken leg, which she sustained while teaching lyre and singing near Beijing, China in early February. Many of you have made generous contributions to fund-raising efforts in her behalf, which continue to sustain and support the therapies she is needs for full recovery. 

We are happy to share that Channa is learning how to walk again and becoming more and more independent! For the time being, she has been graciously welcomed to reside at Camphill Village in Copake, New York. Although she is not earning any income, she is extremely active in the life of the Village, where she has been playing and singing for special events and festivals as well as teaching privately, offering music therapy, directing a choir, and teaching in the Camphill Academy, an accredited training for Camphill co-workers!  We are also very pleased to share that Channa is willing and eager to continue serving on the Board of the Lyre Association of North America.

Channa and her family have deeply appreciated all of the good wishes and monetary support for her care that have been gratefully received since the time of her accident.  She will have a continuing need for ongoing treatments and therapies, many of which are not covered by insurance.  Anyone who feels inclined to continue offering support through the YouCaring site set up in her honor by the Lyre Association would be welcomed with gratitude to continue doing so!


Camphill Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Christof-Andreas Lindenberg, March 18, 2017, in Beaver Run, Camphill Special School, PA

By Christof-Andreas Lindenberg and Elizabeth Howe

Christof-Andreas Lindenberg:  Let me tell you a little about that evening on March 18, when guests had come from afar, like John Clark from Scotland, and three ladies from England – Susanne Steffen, Elizabeth Howe, and my eldest daughter Soleira Wennekes. Together, with Nicole Krutzke, Veronika Roemer, and Norma (Lindenberg), we practiced all day, mainly on lyres, and also other instruments to play pieces of music I had written in past years (the Trio Piece; Explore the Lyre), and some accompanied songs. We also went over the choral piece From Morn to Midnight. What joy to again play, with dear musicians, when my playing was so long inactive due to health. The evening went like a dream: music, speeches; speeches, music. After the lifetime achievement award was so warmly given by Onat Sanchez, who spoke on behalf of the Camphill Association, I was allowed some words, which went roughly like this:

“I was lucky to come to Camphill early, 66 and 1/2 years ago (I started in 1950 at the original Camphill Glencraig, Aberdeen, which opened in 1954) to still experience and work with the founders and with Karl König, but what matters is with whom I am building further now; and you all who are sitting here today with me, are part of the achievement. This is an ever more difficult time to achieve anything, seeing the anti-forces try their dark tricks to destroy what is built with good will, with our heart forces, and even with music. I thank you all as coworkers in this achievement. We can yet change much in the world!”

The speeches that followed were moving to hear; presents were shared; and to end we all sang The Light of Sun is Spreading, with Nicole on the violin and Soleira on the piano, a full and rewarding sound.

Elizabeth Howe:  It was the initiative of Onat Sanchez-Schwartz (himself an experienced lyre player, and the secretary of the Camphill Association of North America) to honor Christof-Andreas Lindenberg with this award. Few have ever been awarded, and it was felt that as Christopf-Andreas has contributed to the life and work of Camphill on an International level, Camphill colleagues, friends and family should be invited from the Camphill Movement to this special ceremony. In addition, the time set for the ceremony was at the end of the Association meetings so that many were able to attend from across the North American region as well as from abroad. It speaks for how highly Christopf-Andreas is regarded that 90 people of all ages were in attendance, many driving great distances just to be at this special evening for a beloved and highly respected mentor and coworker.

I was an outside guest from England, and I stood in awe of the amazing organization that went on behind the scenes. There were beautiful, grand flower vases round the room; roses, delicate thistles and green shamrock-like arrangements to represent Christopf-Andreas' connections with England, Scotland and Ireland (he helped pioneer Camphill in Ireland). An exhibition of photos, Christof-Andreas' music publications and Camphill-related articles covering a large table was displayed. Included was the impressive Book of Those Who Have Died, which is Christopf-Andreas' exhaustive research of the dates and places of all those whose destiny linked them to Camphill who had died between 1939 and 2005, from Dr. Ita Wegman and Count von Kaiserlingen, to the smallest child. The housemothers had arranged for refreshments and the setting of the room, and the musicians had spent the morning madly rehearsing a full program of Christopf-Andreas' memorable and challenging music for lyre, bells and voices. Onat himself had organized an impressive framed award, and others had made cards and written letters to express their appreciation.

Onat presented the award on behalf of the Camphill Association of North America and Christof-Andreas accepted it with a few gentle words. Five people then came forward to speak about their experiences living and working with Christopf-Andreas from different aspects. Soliera Wennekes, his eldest daughter, spoke about growing up in Camphill and the magic of the special family times, often early in the morning, and about “fairy toast” (a cornflake, with butter and jam!!!). John Clark (himself now an internationally renowned lyrist, composer and lyre teacher) spoke about Christopf-Andreas as his mentor of 40+ years, and the humble wisdom with which Christof-Andreas shared thoughts and research and listened to his students. I then gave an overview of Christopf-Andreas' many skills and attributes, placing them in a zodiacal and planetary format (he is a true Renaissance man), linking with John’s characterization by speaking of the sun-like quality of “Eternal Childlike Forces” that radiate through all Christof-Andreas’ endeavors. Next, Sonja Adams spoke for the Beaver Run housemother's group that Christopf-Andreas has participated in and advised in an honorary position for many years. Lastly Norma, his wife, spoke, bringing to light the many hidden ways that Christof-Andreas has served in Camphill for 66+ years. One outstanding fact is that Karl Konig commissioned CAL to make the foundation stone for the first Camphill Hall in Aberdeen. He designed and fashioned a double dodecahedron from copper, such that its proportions would nest exactly with the one Rudolf Steiner laid for the first Goetheanum. It took many rigorous geometric calculations, was a labor of love, and ensures the spiritual kinship of the two buildings in perpetuity.  

The evening was interwoven with Christopf-Andreas' music from all eras: Trio Piece (1967); From Morning to Midnight (1969); Lily’s Song for Voice and Lyre (2006) and The Bridge Song for Voice and Bells (2006-17), both composed for a production of Goethe’s Fairy-tale; three of Christof-Andreas’ now classic lyre exercise pieces, Explore the Lyre (1965-70); a seasonal verse of Rudolf Steiner’s set to music: The Light of Sun is Spreading (1962); and a final piece for lyre and bells, For Lent (2013-16).

Naturally, we ended with wonderful refreshments and a chance for some to speak personally with Christof-Andreas, recalling many special occasions where his music has crowned the events, while others explored the exhibition of publications and photos down the years. Yet, the outstanding memory is of Christof-Andreas’ “few gentle words”.  Not only did it feel as if we in attendance were the recipients of the award, but also the bearers of a legacy inspired, since 1950, by the work and ideals of Camphill that CAL passed on to us, endowing us with courage to carry it into the future. Truly the purest quietest tones resound the loudest in eternity!!!

Elizabeth Howe was a Camphill co-worker from 1971 to 2013 in England, Scotland and California.  She is now a self-employed therapeutic musician in the UK, playing the lyre in hospitals for the sick and dying.

Resonare Group Gathers at Camphill Copake

by Julia Elliott, Beverly, MA

On the weekend of May 4-7, the Resonare (Foundation Studies in Music out of Anthroposophy) class of 2016-2017 gathered at Camphill Village in beautiful Copake, New York. The group of seven students and four teachers (one of whom came from Ecuador for the gathering) was welcomed for their fourth meeting of the year by the Camphill community, and classes were held in the warm and cozy Kaspar House living room. It was a joyful reunion for a group which had not been together for many months.

The group was very grateful for the generosity of Camphill Copake. As Resonare instructor, Channa Seidenberg, has been recovering there since she returned from her trip to China, it was a gift for the class to be able to gather around her. The weekend was filled with tone and interval exploration on the lyre, studies in music out of anthroposophy and music theory, improvisation with metal instruments, eurythmy, and lots of song! Since the sharing of food is always an important part of any Resonare weekend, the group was blessed by the amazing cooking of eurythmy teacher Karen Derreumaux and that of students (and Camphill co-workers) Seeya Zheng and Emily Gerhard (and her family).

In this bucolic setting, with the sun shining favorably (mostly!) on the weekend, the Resonare participants were fully immersed in the experience of sound and also of silence. The new friendships which had begun earlier in the year blossomed in this environment, and we all felt the delight of spending time with kindred spirits. The highlight of the weekend, then, was a festive gathering on Saturday night. Past and present students of Resonare gathered in the Kaspar House living room for an evening of singing and sharing. The room was packed with friends of Resonare, an assortment of instruments, songs and good humor. We were all moved by our experience of making music together, and the joy in the room was a testimony to the important service of the four talented and dedicated faculty members: Channa Seidenberg, Sheila Johns, Cate Decker, and Karen Derreumaux. Their collective gifts are reflected in these words by Rumi which were offered in parting to the group:

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


News from North Carolina

by Joanna Carey, Durham, North Carolina

Playing my lyre is a solo affair here in North Carolina, but I continue to work with it in a number of settings.  Since moving to North Carolina, I have been facilitating a reading for the Dead study group in my home.  I always play the lyre at the beginning and at the end.  I also play for all festivals within the life of the anthroposophical branch here.  And, I accompany poets and others when they give readings and such.  I'm hoping to offer more playing through Hospice and hopefully through the hospitals very soon.  I continue my research on the planetary scales and also play and orchestrate the Madonna Sequence each winter.  I'm grateful to have these opportunities to play.


Criteria for LANA Board Members

I.         To prepare for the future, LANA is looking for new members who are aligned with the mission of the lyre in our time, particularly as expressed in the Lyre Association of North America’s mission statement.  Although the mission statement consists of four points, it can be briefly summarized as:

The Lyre Association of North America is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to initiate, inspire, and support the sounding of the lyre for artistic, pedagogical, and therapeutic activities in North America.

II.      LANA is seeking Board members who have energy, initiative, vision, and enthusiasm for our mission. Board members should be willing and able to contribute at least one or more of following to this initiative: work, wisdom, or wealth.

III.    LANA is seeking Board members with communication skills, who can work within a group process.  The board is geographically spread out, so communication takes place via email and telephone. Participation in monthly conference calls is a major part of our work.  

IV.   Other skills that would be appreciated in a new board member include legal expertise, financial oversight, and website content management.

V.      Board members are asked to serve on various sub-committees as needed for the smooth running of our organization. In addition, Board members are expected to be involved with the planning and execution of our annual summer lyre conference, which may also include serving in an ad hoc mandate group of the Board.

VI.   LANA Board membership terms are for three years, with the option to continue serving. Officers of the Board are selected internally by the serving Board members each year.

VII.      LANA is seeking for more board members from the Midwest and Western US, as well as from Canada, because at this time most are located in the Eastern US.

How are nominees selected?

Any member of LANA can recommend a prospective nominee at any time by communicating with a current member of the board. The executive committee and LANA board assess the extent to which a recommended person meets our criteria, and the full board then makes the final decision. 


Lyre Concert in Detroit

by Nancy Carpenter, Detroit, Michigan

On April 30, 2017, twenty-two children from the kinderharp and lyre classes at the Detroit Waldorf School (DWS) joined the Greater Detroit Lyre Ensemble in a concert for parents and friends at the Christian Community. The concert began with a piece Michael Brewer wrote for his mother entitled For Natalie, A Ragtime Waltz, performed by Michael Brewer, Mary Lynn Channer and Nancy Carpenter. 

Sixteen of the first-grade children then played and sang a few of their favorite kinderharp songs by Mary Lynn Channer and Channa Seidenberg. The second graders displayed their further developments on the kinderharp and then, joined by a third grader, sang with the DWS Lyre Choir in performing Everyman by Colin Tanser. Mary Lynn and Michael played as a support to my three seventh and eighth grade Lyre Choir students. The Lyre Choir girls all started with me in first grade making it a fitting way for the parents of the younger children to see what is possible in their children's musical futures. It was a lovely day, the church was filled with lilacs and enthusiastic parents and friends; a happy way to welcome Spring.

Update on Channa Seidenberg

By Sheila Johns, LANA board President

Most of our LANA members and friends are aware of the extraordinary situation surrounding our beloved founding member of the Lyre Association of North America, Channa Seidenberg. Channa suffered a serious fracture of her femur while traveling in China in early February. Because her condition did not allow for further travel at that time, Channa remained in China and had major surgery in Shijiazhuang on February 24th. Her two sons, Julian traveling from New York and Andreas traveling from Germany, have been at her side almost from the beginning. After 2.5 weeks of recovery, she was given the green light to travel back to the United States in specially accommodated transports on Wednesday, March 15th. We are pleased to report that after nearly 30 hours of travel, Channa and Julian arrived safely at JFK and were transported by ground ambulance to Albany Medical Center where she is being reevaluated, as of this writing, in preparation for being welcomed into the loving care of the house parents and co-workers at Kaspar House in Camphill Village, Copake, NY for the further time she needs for rehabilitation.

Although Channa’s wellbeing and healing have been of paramount importance, the reality of mounting medical expenses, lost income, and travel costs have put particular stress on the family. In response to this situation, LANA has hosted a YouCaring crowdfunding site on behalf of Channa in order to give her many friends, students, and colleagues an opportunity to make contributions to help defray the extraordinary costs the family has incurred over these last 6 weeks. To all who have already made financial contributions, the family is deeply grateful for each and every donation. To those who may still wish to donate, you are invited to do so at

Above all, the Seidenberg family extends deepest gratitude to each of you for your encouraging and light-filled thoughts leading up to her surgery and going forward now through her recovery process. Thank you for your loving support in every way during this time of unprecedented challenge for Channa and her family.

Meet LANA's New Board Members

At the 2016 Summer Lyre Conference in Hadley, Massachusetts, during the All General Meeting of the Lyre Association of North America (LANA), we thanked our outgoing board members, Catherine Decker, Rosamond Hughes and Suzanne Mays, for their years of service. We then welcomed our three newly elected board members, Julia Elliot, Wendy Polich, and Seeya Zheng. Here, we would like to introduce them:

Julia Elliott has been involved with the musical life at the Waldorf School her children attended in Beverly, MA, for nearly twenty years. She has worked as the eurythmy pianist and instrumental accompanist and currently teaches chorus to the upper grades. She never encountered the lyre, however, until attending the Resonare course in Philmont, NY, four years ago. After hearing the tone of the lyre, her understanding of how we experience music deepened dramatically. She now tries to integrate that experience into her work with student singers and instrumentalists, and is grateful for the ways in which the lyre has shaped her capacity for listening. She lives on Boston’s North Shore with her husband and three children.

Wendy Polich fell in love with the sound of the lyre in 2013 while attending a course along with LANA Board member Debbie Barford. Debbie brought her lyre and every time she played, Wendy was bathed and entranced by the tones. Debbie recognized a sister lyrist soul and suggested she rent a lyre from LANA. Wendy now owns a Derscheid solo lyre, lovingly restored by lyre builder Alan Thewless. While a Camphill coworker, she was fortunate to play weekly with the members of the S.E. Pennsylvania Lyre Ensemble whom she first met, along with many other wonderful lyrists, lyre builders, and teachers, at the International Lyre Conference held in Detroit, August 2015. She is currently attending Resonare, Foundation Course in Music out of Anthroposophy. Wendy now lives in Littleton, Colorado. 

Seeya Zheng studied International Business and had worked as a Social Compliance specialist in China. She first heard a small group of lyrists playing while traveling in New Zealand and longed to learn about this angelic instrument. Her path in the business world led to a path of spiritual striving when she came to the U.S. to study Social Therapy. She is now running an elder care house with a team of young international volunteers, and managing a weaving shop with 12 adults with special needs in Camphill Village Copake. Under the teaching of Channa Seidenberg, she was encouraged to explore lyre playing as a way of staying connected with her late father. She plays a Derscheid soprano lyre in the lyre group of Copake, and a Gartner alto lyre for the Color and Light therapy.

Review of the Van der Pals / Kirchner-Bockholt Tone Eurythmy Therapy Course, Chicago, IL, October 2016

By Debbie Barford, Chicago, IL

In addition to the local attendees, eurythmists, physicians and others, there were eurythmists and doctors who traveled from afar to attend this workshop.  The course began on a Friday evening and ran for 10 days.  I was privileged, as a lyrist with some training in anthroposophic music therapy, to be able to attend a couple of evenings and the weekends.

Jan Ranck, who traveled from Israel to give this course, introduced us to the musical elements by way of exercise groups developed by Lea van der Pals and Dr. Kirchner-Bockholt for various medical conditions.  We worked with a very sensitive pianist, practicing many basic musical intervals along with musical excerpts used for the exercises.  It gave me just a glimpse into the intense practice and stamina required to become and work as a eurythmist.  As a person with a chronic disease, and some physical limitations, it was surprising, given how taxing the work was, that it was also very nourishing, and the musical exercises made it possible to keep working longer than I thought could be possible.  As a musician, it was very wonderful to delve further into the eurythmy gestures of the intervals, working along with the elements of beat and rhythm.  At the end of each day I felt it might not be possible to return the next time, yet in the morning I awoke eagerly ready for the next day’s work.

We also had discussions with the eurythmists and doctors about the medical conditions covered in the day’s exercises.  This was also very interesting and helped to make the work more conscious.

The pianist, John Paul Pendowski, gave two solo recitals, and in another performance, Jan Ranck and Christina Beck gave eurythmy performances of Debussy and Arvo Part.

An unexpected outcome of the workshop made itself felt in my next choir rehearsal the Thursday evening after it ended.  I sing soprano, but usually am not able to sing above a high F on the top of the staff with ease.  At this rehearsal, we were given music with a lot of high G’s above the staff – and my voice just slid right up there without a glitch. 

The course will be repeated this summer in Pennsylvania, at Camphill Beaver Run.  I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest.

Celebrating Martinmas in Southeastern Michigan

By Nancy Carpenter, Detroit, MI

Along with the various Advent Gardens, Christian Community and Branch offerings during Advent, Christmas and the Holy Nights, the Southeastern Michigan lyre players added one more event to our busy schedules.  Mary Lynn Channer invited Michael Brewer, Nancy Carpenter and Sandra McClure to join her and Deborah Wheelihan-Dasher, Suki Dasher and Christina Matesz in playing for the 2016 Martinmas festival at the Channer home on November 11th in Lambertville, MI. 

We had seven lyres and a chrotta playing together in various combinations in the space formerly known as the Waldorf Kindercottage.  We played the Nilsson Kanon and the Brahms Waltz in G arranged for lyres by Michael Brewer to an enthusiastic audience.  The Saint Martin story was told by Luke Dasher, a young man who had been a student at the Kindercottage many years earlier.  After a hearty pot luck meal we lit our lanterns and walked around the Channers' labyrinth; the heartier folk then sojourned into the nearby woods for the yearly lantern walk.  It was a lovely addition to the beginning of this special season.

Lyre Update from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

Pictured from left to right: Lorraine Curry, Hartmut Schiffer, Holly Richardson and Baruch Simon. Orpheus painted on the wall behind by local artist, Charles Andrade. Thank you to Itzel Salazar for taking the photo. (Itzel wants to learn to play!)

by Holly Richardson, Carbondale, CO

The work of the lyre is growing in the valley of the Roaring Fork River at the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork in Carbondale, Colorado.  Thanks to Hartmut Schiffer, retired Waldorf teacher and lyre enthusiast, there are now three of us with lyres playing together on a regular basis.  We are all teachers, or have been teachers, at the school over the years:  Lorraine Curry plays the alto lyre and has been a teacher of the cello and all of the stringed instruments at the school for many years. She also plays in the local "Valley Symphony."  Baruch Simon plays a soprano lyre and is a kindergarten teacher as well as a classical pianist.  I am a preschool and parent/child teacher and love to play many instruments.  Hartmut Schiffer is the benefactor who helped to purchase all of these instruments.

Three of us took turns playing our lyres at the beginning of Advent.  In a darkened room lit by candle light, we played the lyre (tuned pentatonically for this occasion) as the school community walked through a spiral of fragrant evergreen boughs.  Much appreciation was expressed by community members for the lyre music that accompanied the event.

We play in the music room of our school (as seen in the photograph) every other Friday, as much as possible.  We do some warm-up work including streaming and various finger exercises.  We play simple songs together by ear.  We are working out of a beginning lyre book.  Sometimes we read a bit out of one of the lyre journals about the background of the music.  We also like to sing together.  Hartmut adds his reflections and thoughts throughout.

In addition to this music we play together, I play the lyre on other special occasions in the classroom.  One of these occasions happened recently in preschool.  We celebrated a child's 4 1/2-year birthday.  The family was invited to come to a special birthday story with the child and his classmates.  For birthdays, I wear a special white silk tunic with golden sparkles on the front.  When everyone is settled in the story garden, I begin by streaming the lyre softly, first ascending from low to high to symbolize the child still in the spiritual world, then high to low, to symbolize the child incarnating down to earth.  After that, I play the melody of the following song very softly.  Then I sing the lyrics, below, as I put a rainbow silk and a golden crown on the birthday child:

From heaven shines a golden star / An angel brought you from a far / From heaven high unto the earth / And brought you to your land of birth. / Welcome, welcome you lovely light, / With flowers gay and sunshine bright. / With painted wings that sing your song / That make you good and kind and strong.

In addition to playing at school, I take my lyre to Hartmut's apartment when time allows and we sing songs together while I play.  Hartmut seems to especially enjoy singing together, whether it be "do, re, me" as I practice my scales and fingering or a simple melody such as a lullaby and the sound of me tuning my lyre.  Lately we have been singing, "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming."

Currently, among the lyre players in this group, only I have had the privilege to go to a lyre conference to receive some instruction on how to play the lyre "properly."  I attended my first conference and "accidentally" met the lyre in Portland, OR, a few years back.  Then, this past summer, Hartmut and I attended the conference together in Hadley, MA.  This conference made a big impression on both of us.

We hope that more of us can attend future lyre conferences and perhaps even host one at our little school some day.  In addition, it seems that more people in our community are wanting to play the lyre, so we are looking to purchase another one, gently and lovingly used, as soon as possible.  Please contact Holly if you know of a lyre that is collecting dust in a closet but so wants to be played.



Lyre Accompanies Madonna Series in Portland, OR

by Diane Rowley, Portland, OR

In 1911, Dr. Felix Pipers, an Anthroposophical physician, approached Rudolf Steiner to work with him in treating children and adults. Dr. Steiner suggested the use of a series of Madonna images primarily painted by the Renaissance artist, Raphael. This series has become known as the "Madonna Treatment" and is used as a therapy in Camphill Communities and other therapeutic settings. The essence and importance of the series lies in the particular sequential order as well as the composition of the pictures. The 15 images, often accompanied by lyre music, have a regenerative force, enlivening the human being.

In honor of the Advent season, this remarkable healing Madonna Series was offered to the Portland community on December 2. Before showing the 15 images, a short presentation was offered by local art therapist, Cheri Munske. Music written specifically for this series by John S. Clark and Christof-Andreas LIndenberg was played on the lyre by Diane Rowley between the silent viewing of each picture.

This unique meditative and devotional experience was offered a second time, again accompanied by the lyre, at the end of the Holy Nights on January 6, with a longer, more in depth presentation about the relationship of the series to the 5-pointed star, etc. Those in attendance were gratefully nourished by the timeless images and the ethereal music of the lyre.


Lyre Activities in Connecticut and Hillsdale, NY

by Diane Ingraham Barnes, Hillsdale, NY

Dear Readers, I look forward to hearing about your lyre activities since our last Lyre Notes.  These are some of the activities I have been involved in. 

Firstly, we were lucky to have the lyre sound at the AAMTA (Association for Anthroposophic Medicine & Therapies in America) conference in Petaluma, CA, in early August.  ATSANA (Anthroposophic Therapeutic Singing Association of North America) was recognized at this conference, and I was able to give a presentation of therapeutic singing exercises related to the rhythmic system, which included using the lyre. Kerry Lee, Robin Elliott Dagg and myself used lyres to help the participants learn a 4-part Bach chorale which was sung at the musical evening, and Kerry played the Mercury Bath at her small group session.  Sandra Zeese was one of our supporting sopranos.  It was truly a wonderful conference.

In addition, I continue to play the lyre at least once a month at the Christian Community, sometimes with metal instruments; I did the Madonna Series for 3 classes at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School; and I played for 6 Advent Gardens during the Advent season.  For the future, I am going to start planning a local concert soon to be presented in the Spring, which will be with lyre and singing.  I would very much like to have lyre players in this upstate NY area come together to prepare a "Tribute to Colin Tanser “concert.  Please contact me if you are interested in such an endeavor!  You can find my address and phone number in the list of lyre teachers.  My new e-mail is  May the sound of the lyre expand in our country and the world.

Report from the 2016 Annual Members’ Meeting

Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Lyre Association of North America, 2016

The AGM took place at 4:45 pm just before the start of the 2016 Lyre Conference in Hadley, MA, Hartsbrook Waldorf School on July 5, 2016. Those present (18), together with mailed proxies (14), constituted a quorum of members.

The business portion of the meeting consisted of electing three new board members for a three-year term: Julia Elliott, Wendy Polich, and Seeya Zheng. The three board members who left were acknowledged with many thanks for their years of service: Catherine Decker, Rosamond Hughes, and Suzanne Mays. In addition, on the June 2016 proxy forms, Diane Barnes and Cheryl Martine expressed willingness to be nominated for future service as board members. The 2016 slate of officers was announced: President: Sheila Johns; Vice-President: Channa Seidenberg; Secretary: Colleen Shetland; and Treasurer: Margo Ketchum.

It was also noted that:

  • LANA’s by-laws regarding nominations and election of board members and officers have been reviewed by the board;
  • The by-laws will be updated and made available for review by the membership;
  • Criteria for board membership and duties of the officers will be posted on the LANA website in the near future;
  • LANA members may offer the name of any member for consideration as a nominee for board membership.

Reports and updates were presented on:

1. Lyre Rentals: Rosamond Hughes read guidelines for lyre rental. The purpose for the program is to give people new to the lyre an opportunity to try different instruments before purchase. There is a yearly contract, with a two-year limit suggested. There is also a rent-to-own option for some of the lyres.

2. Soundings: Sheila Johns reported that we are now publishing one annual edition of Soundings but that we hope to be able to produce two issues a year in the future. Submissions are always welcome.

3. Music Sales: Rosamond reported that LANA members receive a 5% discount on purchases up to $50, and 10% discount on purchases over $50.

4. Treasurer' Report: Margo Ketchum reported that our total cash assets at the end of the fiscal year (3/31/16, in three bank accounts) were $16,904, plus lyres owned by LANA valued at $11,000, with lyre books and music valued at $7,158 – for total assets of $35,061.

Income over Expense included the following:


  • Lyre 2015 Conference - $53,996
  • Direct Public Support - $3,059
  • Music Sales - $5,390
  • Membership Dues - $1,895
  • Lyre Rentals - $1,159

Program Income Total:  $65,499


  • LANA Publications - $780
  • Music / Books - $5,259
  • Lyre 2015 Conference - $59,945

Program Expense Total:  $65,984

5. World Lyre Community News via Facebook:

  • Horand Gartner’s shop experienced flooding, and he lost many instruments. We will keep members apprised of news about opportunities to make contributions.
  • Vicky Deng from China—A series of three successful workshops with John Billing had just been completed.
  • Yarden Regal is active on Facebook and very much appreciates communication with members of the lyre community. She continues to play her lyre and sing in public venues in Israel and supports the impulse in every way she can.

6. Regional Reports:

  • Cuenca, Ecuador: from Sheila Johns, with Andrea Lyman. Beginnings of an impulse for Waldorf Education being offered through the new Uriel Center for Human Renewal through the Arts and Education, which will be sponsoring events, speakers, festivals, study groups, and an Advent Garden and Spiral.
  • Pacific NW: Channa went to Vancouver, held a workshop including Colin Tanser’s “Everyman.” There was an interest in the planetary scales.
  • Colorado: Hartmut Schiffer has sponsored the purchase of three lyres for the Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork, Carbondale, CO. Hartmut Schiffer also spoke of the lyre’s necessary role in the future of education and the world.
  • Chicago: Two teachers have gone to China. Marianne Dietzel and Sheila Devlin are active in Minnesota. Carol Eisen, Beth Kelly, and Debbie Barford held a workshop in Madison, WI entitled “Lyre Space,” with Colin Tanser’s music
  • Detroit area: Mary Lynn Channer continues to teach and play the lyre around southern Michigan and to host festivals with lyre and singing. The Detroit Branch went to the Channers for the St John's Festival, which included five lyres. Mary Lynn also gave kinderharp classes for the kindergarten children at the RS School of Ann Arbor last spring. Michael Brewer continues to compose music for the lyre, both for the Christian Community services and his expanding collection of blues and ragtime pieces. Nancy Carpenter plays for the Christian Community services, for the pre-K to 5th grade Eurythmy classes at the school, and kinderharp sessions for first. second, and third graders. Her three 6th and 7th graders have continued to improve and are enjoying Colin Tanser's music. The seventh graders and Nancy accompanied the eighth grade Eurythmy performance of "The Crystal Ball" at the end of the last school year. 
  • Virginia: Samantha Embrey held a lyre retreat last November at her home in Piney River, VA.
  • Washington, DC: the Aurora Lyre quartet was preparing a program for performance at a senior facility, which was postponed because of illness of one of the members.
  • Kimberton, PA: Veronika Roemer translated from German into English, Gerhard Bielharz’s book about playing the kinderharp.

Much more could have been shared, but the reports from the Northeast were suspended because of lack of time. These will be updated in Lyre Notes.

Reflections on the 2016 Lyre Conference


By Elizabeth Moreland, Shelburne Falls, MA –

From July 5 through 9, 2016, at the height of expanding summer warmth and light, twenty-some lyrists gathered at the Hartsbrook (Waldorf) School in Hadley, Massachusetts, to experience the joy of being together and to explore the conference theme, "How Does the Tone of the Lyre Move in Us?"

It was evident at every moment how well this conference had been planned by the five main teachers, Channa Seidenberg, Sheila Johns, Veronika Roemer, Cate Decker (Spacial Dynamics®), and Karen Derreumaux (Eurythmy), as well as by those who led the small groups and those who organized all the conference details such as registration, housing, meals and all the other unseen elements that make such an event so successful.

How can I begin to describe the richness of this gathering? I was inspired and moved and deeply touched by the experience of listening and playing together, by the depth of understanding of the presenters, and by the many conversations and sharings I had with the other participants. This conference turned out to be a major highlight of my summer.

Each day began and ended with lyre and gong improvisations on the tone of the day. To me, these were like sacred portals through which we entered into and departed from our work together. They literally set the tone for the day and sealed our time together in the evening.

Each morning Channa led us in group work exploring specific intervals, such as the fourth, the fifth, and the major and minor thirds. These seemingly simple to grasp exercises required enormous concentration and attentive listening. At times, we each played, in turn, a specific interval, and then we practiced with one person playing the first tone, and the next person completing the interval. This was taken a step further toward the end of our time by having to "hear" whether the lyrist sounding a tone was inwardly anticipating an interval of the fourth or fifth. There was so much to experience in these exercises!

Then the work we had done was taken up in the realm of movement, first by Cate with Spacial Dynamics, and then by Karen with Eurythmy. These two teachers worked very well together, and we could move seamlessly from one to the other. Both Cate and Karen had inwardly penetrated the connections between tone and movement, and this deepened our experience of the tonal work. It was a joy to work with both of them, and was a very good balance to the intense focus and concentration of the listening work.

No conference is complete without good food, and here I can only praise the excellent snacks which were provided twice a day, and the stellar lunches and dinners catered by Paul and Elizabeth's Restaurant. To my taste, the food could not have been better.

After lunch we gathered as a group to work further on the conference theme. These sessions were facilitated by Sheila and Veronika, and centered on bringing all skill levels into playing Le Cygne, by Camille Saints-Saens and Wie Melodien Zieht es Mir by Johannes Brahms. This work was then carried over to our small groups and our playing in the evening, and culminated in a performance of Le Cygne for all of the children at the Hartsbrook Summer Camp. Veronika played solo on her special viola, accompanied by all the rest of us on our lyres. This stands out in my mind as one of the highlights of the conference. The children were so attentive and receptive to the music, and one little boy even came back to express his appreciation. The lyre is truly a healing instrument for our time.

And, of course, there was singing each day, so beautifully led by Channa. We began with Werbeck exercises, and then sang many rounds and pieces in three part harmony.

All in all, it was a feast for the soul, and a vivid experience of the importance of this particular music impulse in our lives. Truly, as Channa impressed upon us, we can all be mindful of the gifts that we have received, and how we might bring them out into the world and share them with others. May our work on the lyre be blessed!