Lyre Association of North America

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!

2016 Summer Lyre Conference, Hadley, Massachusetts

By Wendy Polich, Bella Vista, AR –

Last summer, almost two years after taking up the lyre, I attended my first lyre conference – the International Lyre Conference in Detroit, Michigan. This summer I attended my second lyre conference in Hadley, Massachusetts. Instead of an exciting assortment of 100 lyre players, builders, and teachers from around the world, we were an intimate group of 20, mostly from just a drive away, though a handful came from the West, Midwest, Canada, and Ecuador. Another difference was the setting. We stayed at quiet Hampshire College just down the field- and flower-lined road from the Hartsbrook Waldorf School, where we shared space with cows and goats, chickens and pigs, and a children's camp. And then there was the sweltering heat, which, in addition to the smaller group and pastoral setting, seemed to slow us all down considerably.

All these factors were in a way ideal to the conference theme of Musical Renewal, with the question being, "How does the tone of the lyre move in us?" For before there can be movement, there needs to be stillness. The place, and the space we created, allowed for this. Every morning, sitting in our circle with our lyres, we passed a tone from one person to the next in such a way that deep listening could occur – listening to the tone, to how we played and freed the tone, to the space between the tones, and to each other.

We explored tone through movement, and movement through tone. We were guided in Spacial Dynamics, then Eurythmy, in back-to-back sessions every day. This had the effect of one session playing off the other, and, coupled with our heat-induced slowed pace, created quite an atmosphere of individual and group exploration. At one point we seemed to swim through a sea of tone from lyres, gongs, and other metal instruments, awakening to more deep listening with our bodies, through our gestures, and in relation to each other. An amazing experience!

Finally, an important piece of our time together was the camaraderie, and yes, sisterhood, we shared, with the exception of dear (and exceptional) Hartmut, our only male, and 90 years young! It was a joy singing together, playing together (on lyres and an assortment of metal instruments), eating together, rooming together, and even napping on sheepskins in the kindergarten together, as respite from the heat and activity.

Whether 100 strong, an intimate 20, or even fewer, so much is always gained from working and playing together!

News from the U.K.

By Anna Prokhovnik Cooper, for the Arion Lyre Association of the UK and Ireland –

The Arion Association decided that this year, 2016, we wouldn't have an annual lyre workshop in one place, but take a small tour around places in the U.K. that request a lyre concert. We have decided to "showcase" the wonderful music of Colin Tanser, who has written so much music to enhance and further the playing of the lyre. Also, we hope to enthuse more lyre players in the areas we visit, and so build up our lyre playing community.

The tour begins in a few weeks' time, and we'll play eight concerts, in the southeast and southwest of England and in Northern Ireland. Many of these will be with the help of special needs' friends, as the music requires the playing of bells, kanteles, and a choir. We'll adapt to the situation in each place. I will also do a talk on the lyre, illustrated with lyre music, at the Christian Community in London. It pleases me greatly that we'll be playing our lyres to others so much in the month of the 90th anniversary of the lyre! Thank you dear Channa, for pointing this out!

Next Spring we will perform at least three more Tanser concerts, and if anyone else in the world would like to join the "Tanser Tour," I'll send a programme of the music to you – or you can make your own!

Happy lyre playing! –Anna

Teaching in Xin Zhuang and Beijing, China

By Alan Thewless

In July I returned from a 5-week visit to China, teaching with Barbara Baldwin in the village of Xin Zhuang, outside Beijing and lecturing in the city itself. It was my first trip to China, and I greatly enjoyed the work and my first experiences of this wonderful country.

In Barbara's 'Fundamentals of Curative Education' seminar I taught Choir, Music Improvisation, Painting and Modeling. I also gave public lectures on Waldorf Education, the Waldorf Curriculum, and the Temperaments. Over the course of one week I had the opportunity to give daily lessons in Zhiai Curative School to a small group of children with special needs, bringing to this group hygienic/musical experiences. In Beijing I led a workshop on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' and I was invited to give an introductory workshop on 'Youth Guidance,' the work within Camphill, with young adults with intellectual and developmental difficulties.

The lyre was featured in much of this work, along with native American flute, choir chimes, and a great variety of other percussion instruments.

Tips on Caring for the Strings of the Lyre

Kerry Lee, Spring City, PA (

In preparing for the start of the 2nd grade children's pentatonic harp class at the Waldorf school, I care for the strings each year. Here’s how: Using a special cleaner, which you can order through Choroi or go to the local music store and get string oil, wipe the strings with a soft cloth. (Look at the cloth…. Yuck!! You can see how dirty the strings are!) You would be surprised how much better the lyre strings sound when they are clean!!

If there is a string that sounds funny, loosen it to see if there is dust at the bottom or the top of the lyre where it touches against a piece of wood. Then bring it back to the desired pitch. Also look to see if the string is touching where the string is wound onto the peg at the top, or only lightly touching the string against the wood. If it is only lightly touching, it will create a buzz; it needs to have a firmer touch. See if that does the trick. Check on the wound strings if the winding is loose; in this case the only thing to do is replace the string. (Restringing will be left for another discussion.) Dust off the lyre, tune, and in most cases you are ready to go. You can do this with your own lyres. Have fun.

How Does the Tone of the Lyre Move in Us?

by Sheila Johns, Cuenca, Ecuador

Movement is one of the most basic aspects of life. Everything living expresses its life through movement between the polarities of evolution and involution, expansion and contraction, and between birth as a passageway to becoming, and decay as a passageway to death.

Movement and musical tone are deeply related to each other, but what is the nature of this connection? How does music support, influence, and enhance movement, and vise versa? How does tone actually move in the space around us – and does it also move within us? This pathway of discovery requires the true attentive inner activity of listening.

We begin by bringing our inner listening to the phenomenon of the movement of the single tone. From there, we can explore interval (the space between two tones), and finally, the movement of a sequence of tones and intervals – a sequence we call “melody”.

In his book The Space Between Us, poet John O’Donohue writes that true listening is worship. He states that “true listening brings us in touch even with that which is unsaid and unsayable.”

So why use the lyre for such listening? The tone of the lyre is unique in all the world. It is a tone designed to come about when a specially designed combination of resonant wood and strings allow it to be released from those physical materials that birth it into audible space. For a few brief moments, it is possible to experience a tone that has become completely freed to move, which allows it to express its true nature as a living spiritual phenomenon.

Our ultimate goal together is to discover how tone moves in US! We can explore outer movement entered into with intention – the deliberate and purposeful movements of Spacial Dynamics and Eurythmy – that will guide us in opening vistas for how we relate our own movement to outer tone. We then explore the inner movement of the lyre tone as well as other examples of free tonal movement through the medium of the Bleffert gongs, the Choroi flute, a Weidler bowed instrument, and Werbeck singing. Through this palate of tonal sounds, we can discover “red threads” of sound as well as the color spectrum of qualitative sounding differences with traditional instruments.

We began with physical movement in space – a eurythmy form created by Rudolf Steiner for the Chopin Etude #2 for piano in A-flat Major, Opus Posthumous. We can also experience eurythmy movements with the lyre. This allows us to discover how the freed tone of the lyre expresses itself differently in the eurythmy movements. In addition, we can explore the tonal movement of the gongs in Spacial Dynamics. It is our hope through these experiences to come to a deeper awareness of how this tone is actually moving in us. Through directing our awareness to the sounding of tone, we can learn how to “listen in,” so that we may begin to experience the reflection – the after sounding which arises from the tone. Such a gesture of “listening in” can then allow for a consciously penetrated “sounding out.” This kind of inner activity has the potential to reconnect us with the life forces that are always moving in and around us – life forces that can inspire a re-cognition of who we really are as human beings and the soul transformation that can result. Why? Because the Threshold is crossed in both the art of movement and in the art of music.

Concluding with the words of Cate Decker, our facilitator for Spacial Dynamics: “Supported by the intentional movement given to us by both Eurythmy and Spacial Dynamics, we will be better able to appreciate the fullness and the rich dimensions of the Being of Tone as it lives both within the interiority of ourselves as well as out in cosmic space. With reverence, we can engage with the gift of the tone and the gift of movement and gesture as we move into the space that surrounds us.


How Does Tone Shape and Color our Surrounding Space?

By Catherine Decker, Philmont, NY (Lyre 2016, Hadley, MA)

And how does the tone shape and color the surrounding space, the space that as human beings, we move within, each and every day? This realm, where the tone moves within us, is an exciting and comparatively new area of exploration. This frontier asks for further research. It can be easy to fall into habits, or make assumptions of how music affects us on a soul level. Yet it is a different process to actually pay attention, to observe, and reflect on our responses to various tones and intervals.

Movement entered into with intention, the deliberate and purposeful movements of Spacial Dynamics and Eurythmy, can open vistas for how we relate to the lyre tone. When we enter the space with attentiveness, we also enter with a mood of listening. We can consciously explore how movement leads us to a place of greater receptivity to the message behind the tone itself.

In this way, the participant plays an active role in listening process. We put forth our own ego forces, and the interaction between the music and our selves becomes enriched.

By delving into this process we come into a closer relationship with the tones of the lyre, enabling us to meet the lyre tone in a new way.

Supported by the intentional movement given to us by both Eurythmy and Spacial Dynamics, we are better able to appreciate the fullness, the rich dimensions of the Being of tone as it lives both within the interiority or ourselves, as well as out into the cosmic space. With reverence, we engage with the gift of the tone, and the gift of movement and gesture as we move into the space that surrounds us.

Introducing the new Free Music School in China

By Pan Kai

August 1-11, 2016, we began the first Freie Musik Schule – teacher training in China at the Shenyang Free Waldorf School. We had 83 adults to study with Reinhild Brass and Channa Seidenberg. Everyone studied "Uncovering the Voice" and sang many songs together, also Anthroposophy and AUDIOPAEDIE. Everyone learned how to play the kinderharp, and the planetary scales were introduced. Everyone is very happy here and relaxed. We will meet again near Beijing in February 2017.

A quick overview of my trip to China, November 2015

By Kerry V. Lee

There has been quite a demand all things from the "West" in China!  I was privileged to be one of those who traveled there, joining Barbara Baldwin as she taught with adults who were interested in working with handicapped children.  It was a pleasure collaborating with her.  We sang in the morning, I introduced the "Uncovering the voice" exercises, and sang some fun songs.  They didn't mind singing in English, though few spoke it.  Then in the afternoon, I worked with the three groups of instruments with them, percussion, wind and string, using the lyre for the string.  We did improvisations, wrote music and learned to play music combining the three instruments.  The people were very grateful and eager to learn.  It was a JOY!