Lyre Association of North America

Kinderharps play Raucous Rooster at the Detroit Waldorf School Winter Faire

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By Nancy Carpenter, Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit Waldorf School had its first Winter Faire in about 10 years on December 1st. Parents of one of my students were so taken with one of our Kinderharp songs that they made a Rooster Marionette and suggested that we present it at the Faire. This is a song taken from Mary Lynn Channer’s alphabet song book, Xavier Sings of his Alphabet Friends, for the letter R called "Raucous Rooster!" It's a particular favorite of all of the children; even the older students remember it from 1st grade. These 2nd graders were so happy to share this song with a very enthusiastic audience

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An Unforgettable Day with the Lyre

By Saeko Cohn, Brooklyn, New York

December 1, 2018 will always be an unforgettable day in my life with the lyre. On that day, I accompanied two kindergarten classes with my lyre at the Advent Spiral held at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. It was the first time I played the instrument in public. Together with four teachers singing, in the darkness, we welcomed over 20 students in each class, playing "Over Stars," "Dona Nobis Pacem," "Marjatta," "November," "There Comes a Galley Laden," and the Hebrew song "Hava Nashira" over and over. The classroom was packed with students and their families, and we played for an hour until the last student had placed his candle and exited the spiral. We then welcomed the second group and played for another hour. Including rehearsal time, I played the lyre as a soloist for over three hours that day, in front of nearly 150 people.

Reflecting on that occasion, I am reminded of the historical facts of the near coincidental birth of the modern lyre (1926), the Advent Garden (1926) and the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan (1928) as the first Waldorf school in North America; of the particular impulse on the part of those visionaries who created the therapeutic musical instrument, the seasonal ritual and the school. If music is a "revelation of the cosmic world" as the anthroposophic music historian Anny Von Lange has written, the Advent Garden allowed me to have a first-hand experience of the revelatory nature of music, complemented by a sensory appreciation of the solemn beauty of candle light, the children's movements, the teachers' singing, the warmth of the room and the fresh spruce scent, while sharing all the above in time and space with the community.

A few days after the Advent Garden, I feel a new strength in the center of my body; and that the candle light placed in the spiral by those 40 kindergarten children and their teachers is now internalized in me. Never have I felt such joy and strength at this time of the year. I would like to thank Ms. Myra Friedman of the Rudolf Steiner School for kindly inviting me to play for the occasion; also my lyre teachers, Kerry Lee and Channa Seidenberg for helping me to prepare for this event. In an early stage of the preparation, Kerry provided me with an authentic edition of Pracht's "Over Stars," and also with some wonderful literature about the history of the Advent Garden; toward the end of my preparation, Channa sang along and encouraged me while I played the lyre.

Strangely, however, the most memorable moment came on Sunday morning, the day after the Advent Garden, when my four-year-old son Leon hummed "Over Stars" from the beginning to the end, while he was playing with his toy trains. I was all ears, nearly petrified, pretending not to notice anything. My heart was trembling. How had he learned the song? I hardly ever played the melody of the song, because I was only concerned with learning the arpeggio accompaniment. I must have been singing unconsciously, while practicing "Over Stars" every day of the previous six weeks. Leon was too young to participate in the Advent Garden at school this year. I hope to accompany him next year!

On December 2, I also played the lyre at an Advent Garden at the New York branch of the Anthroposophical Society in America. This was a cozy gathering of thirteen adults, and we closed the evening with my playing the introduction to Leonard Bernstein's "A Simple Song." Performing at these two Advent Gardens made me realize that the sound of the modern lyre is inherently relational and therapeutic, and unlike other solo instruments, it thrives when it is played for people in a communal setting. I am grateful for having had these first opportunities to share the joy of lyre playing with others, and look forward to further musical interactions in the future.

The Festive Lyre Sounds in the Berkshire-Taconic Region and Vicinity

By Diane Ingraham Barnes, Hillsdale, NY

At Hawthorne Valley School the alto lyre and 3 children’s lyres sounded in the Thanksgiving Assembly as the 3rd grade performed Arnold Logan’s “Johnny Hears the Call”. This is a delightful little musical about Johnny Appleseed, and this year it was accompanied by Diane Barnes on the alto lyre. Three of the students then played the children’s lyres on the Wagon Wheel song. The performance was much appreciated.

Also in the Berkshire-Taconic region the lyre continues to sound frequently at the Christian Community and at the many Advent Gardens being held at this time of the year. Diane Barnes will be playing the lyre for the Madonna Series further south, at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in Ct., on December 11. This is such a wonderful time of the year for the lyre. May it sound around the country.

The First International Summer Lyre Academy

 Participants of the First International Summer Lyre Academy with master lyre teachers, Martin Tobiassen and Christian Giersch

Participants of the First International Summer Lyre Academy with master lyre teachers, Martin Tobiassen and Christian Giersch

By Sheila Johns, Quito, Ecuador

Vicky Deng and Tomoko Mino at Schloss Seehaus Castle

It was mid-May of this year, and I had just finished teaching a lyre course with Japanese lyrist Tomoko Mino in the province of Zhuhai in the south of China. We were enjoying dinner with our host Vicky Deng, when the two of them suddenly asked me if I planned to go to Germany to attend the first International Summer Lyre Academy in July. I had been so busy traveling, teaching, and performing both in and out of my adopted home country of Ecuador, that I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about. They excitedly explained that two of our most accomplished international master lyre teachers, Martin Tobiassen and Christian Giersch. were teaming up to offer this academy to experienced lyrists who wished to deepen their playing skills and enjoy some more advanced ensemble work. They informed me that they had both registered and planned to go – Vicky from China, and Tomoko from Japan, and they begged me to consider joining them! I had a deep regard for Martin and for Christian, both as musicians and as human beings, and I immediately began to imagine what a fantastic opportunity this would be.

As soon as I returned home, I wrote to Martin, who had been our master teacher guest for the LANA Summer Lyre Conference in 2016 at the Michael Fields Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. I was warmly welcomed to join those who had already registered, and I immediately began searching for the best flights between Quito, Ecuador and Frankfurt, Germany.

In the end, the participants in this first ever Summer Lyre Academy created a remarkably international group of nine students, two teachers, and a wonderful cook. In addition to Tomoko, Vicky, another Chinese lyrist, and myself, we had participants from Holland, England, Germany, and Brazil.

We spent a truly magical week together. The setting for our work was the fairy tale Schloss Seehaus, a Baroque style castle built in the 16th century, with current construction dating to about 1780 and located in the Schwarzenberg region of Bavaria. The Lord of Seehaus is an accomplished singer with a great love for music making of all kinds, and during the summer months, he makes these stunning period buildings and grounds available for ensembles, choruses, orchestras and summer music workshops as well as sponsoring a concert series in the exquisitely appointed chapel wing of the castle. Each room is a work of art – most filled with period instruments, and I counted over 20 keyboards of some kind or other throughout the various wings and rooms of the Castle.

We each had our own unique lodging within the castle, and we enjoyed 3 beautiful homemade meals together each day in the original castle kitchen, prepared for us by a colleague of Martin and Christian who himself is a lyrist.

Prior to our arrival, we had each been asked to prepare a solo piece of music as well as to submit suggestions for ensemble music we would like to play with others. In addition, Martin and Christian had each chosen and sent us plenum pieces which we were meant to work on together.

Each participant could sign up for 4 private lessons during the week. Most of us chose to have 2 lessons each with our two master teachers. In addition, we spent the first evening pouring over all of the ensemble music and forming ourselves into small groups according to who wished to play what.

After a delicious hot breakfast, we began each day with a morning plenum where we worked together on a lively 12-tone Kanon of Christian’s as well as a stunning 3-part piece of Martin’s called Morning Bows. The approaches and musical styles of Martin and Christian were utterly and delightfully different from one another, which created a rich and complimentary experience for all of the participants!

The rest of our days consisted of private lessons, practicing on our own, and rehearsing with our various ensembles, punctuated by fabulous meals, usually outside in the beautiful gardens overlooking the gorgeous castle grounds and surrounding countryside. We spent our evenings playing for each other, which was a lovely experience – each one choosing to improvise or share something prepared in a completely accepting atmosphere of deep listening and appreciation for all efforts made, however modest. Halfway through our week, Martin and Christian presented a full public concert in the royal chapel as part of the Schloss Seehaus Summer Concert Series, accompanied by wine-tasting from the castle private label winery. On the last evening of our Academy, the 9 of us joined our teachers and presented a public concert together reflecting the variety of solos and ensembles on which we had worked during the week.

If all this sounds like a dream for any lyrist interested in improving their lyre technique, improvisation, musicianship, listening, and ensemble skills, I can assure you that IT WAS!! To add the charm and beauty of our unique setting as well as the rare opportunity to share such an intimate social experience with fellow lyrists and such incredibly accomplished teachers created a very special and truly unforgettable experience that continues to inspire me all these many months later. Even though we did not share a common spoken language, the air around us filled with a beautiful cacophony of German, English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish, we quickly discovered that our universal language of music made it possible to make a genuine connection with each person as we joined our lyre sounding and singing voices in creating a tapestry of musical harmony together. Thank you, Martin and Christian, for creating an inspiring new opportunity to affirm our humanity through using the medium of the lyre to deepen our social and musical potential for the future!

The Lyre Sounds at the 2018 Esperanto North American Summer Course

Sheila Devlin at the Esperanto North American Summer Course. To hear her sing and play, click here and go to minute 8:47.

By Sheila Devlin, Marquette, MI

My sporadic lyre playing is most often in solitude which seems to disqualify it as a tool for making memories. For me, good lyre memories began way back with Resonare 2007-2008. This past July 2018, I made an exception by taking my lyre to the North American Summer Course (Norda Amerika Somera Kurso = NASK) in Raleigh, NC, where Esperanto speakers from all over gather to learn and enjoy each others’ company. My thought was to share the melody I know so well, which in folk tradition begins with “The water is wide, I cannot get o’er." English words for this melody I found in a Unitarian Universalist hymn book and they go like this:

“If I should speak with bravest fire, and have the gift to all inspire, but have not love my words are vain, as sounding brass and hopeless gain.

If I should give all I possess, and striving so my love profess, but not be given by love within, the profit soon wears strangely thin.

Oh, Spirit come, our hearts control, our spirits long to be made whole, let inward love guide every deed, by this we worship and are freed.”

This of course reminded me of singing Channa Seidenberg’s beautiful arrangement for chorus and which has much extended text.

I knew there would be an entertainment evening as a finale to our Esperanto studies. I knew that my voice and lyre might not project sufficiently in the auditorium. I went anyway to submit my entry for consideration by the “Lord High Great Auditioner” (Such humorous reference indicates only my tentative approach to the affair). SHE, Alena, was as gentle and encouraging as could be. There were just the two of us in the auditorium. When my less than two minute song was finished, she came down the aisle with glistening eyes and generous praise for having heard one of her favorite melodies with Esperanto words.

The freedom we enjoy by releasing lyre tones a certain way and the freedom we display when choosing Esperanto as an egalitarian form of communication are relevant forms of expression available to us all. Both expressions give me joy.


Your next summer Lyre conference sounds terrific! While you will be creating fantastic sounds on all kinds of instruments, I will be using my “bell rods,” as I call them, to accompany a poem inspired by paintings from the famous Japanese artist, Hokusai. It is called “Hokusai Says” by Roger Keyes. Now that I’ve got my Esperanto version to rehearse, I will start striking tones each time the poem reads “Li dir” which means “he says.” What Hokusai says basically is “Let Life Live Through You.” I fantasize that there could be a whole orchestra of you accompanying this poem. Your Lyre conference is from July st through July 5th and the Esperanto NASK 2019 starts June 31st and finishes July 7th. This seeming conflict occurs most, if not every, year. I’ll be with you in spirit because of the inspiration you give.

Book Review: Come with me to the West, Arranged by Cecilia Unsworth

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Come with me to the West: Traditional songs of the Hebrides and other songs from the British Isles, arranged for lyre by Cecilia Unsworth

Reviewed by Nancy Carpenter, Detroit, Michigan

One of the many great aspects of the international lyre conferences is the opportunity to meet talented lyrists, composers and arrangers from a variety of cultures. When I met Cecilia Unsworth, I was impressed with her knowledge and arrangements of traditional songs from the British Isles. Her “Come with me to the West” is a treasure of these melodies, many of which are familiar in North America, too.

I have played the pieces as a solo player and have introduced many of these arrangements to my beginning students, as well. As Cecilia writes in her introduction to this collection,” The melodies are simple and yet so beautiful. Coming from the heart, they are also so evocative of the dance of light, wind and wave in the sea and sky around the isles, that when you play them you can imagine you are there.”

I highly recommend this collection of these rich musical songs of the Hebrides. They are suitable for the solo player as well as ensembles from Beginners to Advanced.

We would love to hear from you about a favorite, or overlooked, selection from one of our listings on our Music for Sale page. Send your reviews to

Book Review: Soundings - A Lyre Review

We hope that everyone in the lyre community is aware of the riches in our journal, Soundings: A Lyre Review. Each issue of Soundings is published in two parts, one containing articles of real substance and permanent value and the other containing music.

Soundings - Volume 7 is about to be released! We warmly invite you to join the Lyre Association of North America if you are not currently a member. Members not only support the work of the Lyre Association but also receive an annual subscription to Soundings and a discount on our conference fees and music sales. The annual fee is $50 for supporting members and $40 for regular members.

Articles in Volume 5 - Soundings – Advent 2014:

  • Potential of the Unique Resonance of Lyre Tones, by Hajime Kira

“The resonance of the lyre reveals the invisible essence of the music to the player as well as to the listener when we are balancing the four elements, connecting the ‘I’ with the moment, and creating the vessel of silence.”

  • Inner Balance and the Lyre by Catherine Read

“Working on inner listening immediately forms connections among people, and these connections provide the possibility of cooperative work with the spiritual world.”

  • The Interval and Movement by Christof-Andreas Lindenberg

"In these days of the … anniversary of building the first lyre (in the night from the fifth to sixth October, 1926), one’s thoughts turn to Lothar Gärtner. Together with Edmund Pracht, he willed the lyre out of its own ether movement, if one can say so. This truly was a Michaelic deed."

Volume 5 Music Supplement, contains:

  • In the Silence of Listening, by Channa Seidenberg

  • Two sets of Travels compositions by the late Jean Anderberg, The Breathing Sea and A Dream of Land

  • Into Advent and Advent Music for Two Instruments, by Christof-Andreas Lindenberg

  • And Pastoral Symphony (From the Messiah), arranged by Michael Brewer

  • Another special feature of volume 5 is POETRY by Christian Morgenstern (Krishna Mood) and Catherine Decker (Earth Hush).

Back issues are available!

* Back issues of Soundings are available for $9.50 each plus shipping. Members receive a 5% discount. Send a check (payable to "LANA") to 2237 Kimberton Rd, Phoenixville, PA 19460 or send money to

For a list of music and books available from the Lyre Association, click here.

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Report from LANA’s 2018 Annual General Meeting in Zeist, Holland

By Julia Elliott, LANA Secretary

The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Lyre Association of North America was held on July 24th at the lyre conference in Zeist, Holland. Sixteen members and friends of LANA from five different countries (U.S., Brazil, Ecuador, China, Germany and the U.K.) were present. The current Board President, Sheila Johns, greeted the group and detailed the current status of the Lyre Association of North America as follows: LANA has 49 members to date; membership dues are $40 (regular membership) or $50 (supporting membership); LANA’s members benefit from LANA publications (Soundings and Lyre Notes), the music sales and lyre rentals programs, conferences, and news from the lyre community.

The election of a new Board member and the announcement of an interim Board member were among the items of business. Cheryl Martine was elected to a three-year term and Catherine Decker was presented as an interim member, filling the remaining year of Seeya Zheng’s term. The membership also elected Sheila Johns and Colleen Shetland to another three-year term each as their terms expired in July.

The 2018 slate of officers is as follows:

Sheila Johns, President

Nancy Carpenter, Vice President

Julia Elliott, Secretary

Margo Ketchum, Treasurer

It was announced that the Board is seeking names for consideration as nominees for future election. Any member of LANA may recommend a name for the Board’s consideration. Please contact a Board member with nominations.

Sheila gave a report on LANA’s lyre conference rhythm which rotates through a 3-year cycle including the international conference, a Movement for Musical Renewal conference (in the U.S.), and a lyre intensive (also in the U.S.). Margo gave a treasurer’s report on the financial health of LANA (please see LANA’s Annual Report for a full overview of the organization’s finances). There were also reports on the lyre rentals program, the LANA website, Lyre Notes, Soundings journal (with a reminder to LANA members that they have all been invited to choose a piece of lyre music as a replacement for Soundings this past year -- please contact Margo Ketchum if you have not yet chosen yours).

Margo Ketchum was excited to announce the introduction of LANA’s Online Music Sales Service. LANA is the first lyre association to offer such an online service! Using LANA’s music sales service, customers can pay online and have music shipped anywhere in the world.

At the closing of the AGM, Sheila relayed a message from Christof-Andreas Lindenberg. She said that he is concerned about the current deterioration of listening in our world and the ability to hear tone, saying that “we need to awaken the listening capacity in people around us.” He encourages everyone to “go out and play the lyre,” adding that “the lyre wafts the air of youth” (we become old but the lyre remains young). Please share this message!

An Inspirational Week in Zeist

 Youth group performs at Zeist Conference

Youth group performs at Zeist Conference

By Sarah Stosiek, Hillsdale, NY

Lyre 2018 held in Zeist in the Netherlands was an inspirational week filled with workshops, concerts, shared meals and of course the daily plenum every morning. This was my third international conference and I am beginning to notice that at each one some aspect of the lyre stands out more strongly to me. In Zeist it was fascinating to hear the different qualities of tone that different types of lyres produce.

In the morning plenum we were seated according to the type of lyre we played which highlighted these different qualities as Martin Tobiasson led all the conference participants in a series of improvisational exercises. I also noticed that depending on how the lyre is approached it can have a completely different sound.

In Jan Braunstein’s workshop I was again reminded of the importance of listening and silence in creating music and was yet again convinced that improvisation is much more challenging than sight reading the most complex piece!

With Martin Tobiasson we enjoyed playing a Swedish dance as fast as possible and then refocused to play a beautifully intricate piece called ‘For Lyre’ by Marylynn Wilson. Although this piece was not technically challenging it required very good listening!

The week flew by and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. I left Zeist with so much fresh inspiration and a new drive to practice. I know that having the opportunity to attend international conferences over the past six years has inspired me to continue playing the lyre and I am already looking forward to the next one!

Lyre Sounds from Harlemville to Zeist

By Christina Porkert, Kinderhook, NY

Three years ago, during our return car trip from their first International Lyre conference in Detroit, my students Neasa, Tristan and Reese already pledged their commitment to attend the next international conference. To top it off, last summer the children reminded me that it was time to start preparing for Lyre 2018! Thus, a weekly lyre group was started and in April we offered a much appreciated concert which helped to defray the costs of the upcoming conference (see picture). The event was enriched by my former student Sarah Stosiek performing a solo from Bach’s Violin Sonata. It was an inspiring evening that continues to echo with future promise!

So we all traveled to Zeist and since I did not work with the youth group, I was fortunate to have taken part in a morning workshop on ‘how to conduct a lyre ensemble’ with Gerhard Beilharz. It was a small group of only five participants with very varied levels of experience, but all of us enjoyed it greatly. Gerhard shared some ‘warm-up’ exercises on how to help a group of lyre players create a ‘good sound’. When it came to practicing our own conducting skills, his fine observations and subtle corrections were most helpful. And what fun to have a caring, supportive lyre ensemble lovingly mirror your mistakes, though helping you to improve your own conducting skills.

In the afternoon I had the opportunity of offering a workshop entitled ‘Call and Response’. My group of half Japanese and half European (and one Australian!) participants were so full of enthusiasm and appreciation that time flew by. But we did work in depth on our theme – which was really centered around listening to each other. We improvised, learned C&R songs by heart and had fun playing “La Canobbia” by Floriano Canale (in eight parts!), which we also shared at the final plenum session of the conference.

Joy and enthusiasm are maybe the two key words which describe the overall feeling of the conference best and I was especially thrilled that apart from the ten Youth (aged 10 – 15) from the US, NL, DE, CZ, Brazil and China (see picture) also a fair number of young adults were among the about 180 participants.

It was gratifying to get the joy that the teenagers have experienced confirmed by talking with their parents. And I was told their enthusiasm for the lyre has surely increased – as, I dare say, it has for all of us participants!

Let's Move the Music on the Lyre! Zeist workshop with Hajime Kira

By Saeko S. Cohn

Several serendipitous encounters last fall inspired me to obtain a soprano lyre and take up playing it. As I was unable to find a teacher in the Metropolitan New York area, I tried on my own to make sense of this instrument for half a year with several lyre instruction books for beginners in hand and my three-year-old son as a listener-companion.

In April 2018, I read Hajime Kira’s book for new parents, in Japanese, Shūtainā kyōiku no oto to ongaku: shizukesa no ooi no nakade (Tone and Music in Waldorf Education: In the Veil of Quietness), 2002, and was greatly impressed by his discussion of the essence of music and child care through the anthroposophic understanding of the threefold soul activities of man. Shortly after finishing the book, I learned that Mr. Kira would be teaching at the Lyre 2018 conference in Zeist in the summer. I decided to participate, not knowing that it was a once-every-three-year gathering.

So, from July 22 through 27, I attended the Lyre 2018--World Lyre Conference at Stichtse Vrije School, a Waldorf high school in Zeist, in the Netherlands. Over 170 people from 18 countries participated. I was fortunate to be able to take Mr. Kira’s workshop, titled “Let’s Move the Music on the Lyre!” Eleven students from six countries (Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, Brazil, Macau/China, and the USA) attended, and Mr. Kira’s daughter, Yurino, assisted as an interpreter throughout the sessions. Here is my short report of what we learned each day.

On the first day, Mr. Kira told us that his workshop was about “how to produce good sound on the lyre with good body movements,” or “how an individual player can produce the most ‘lyre-like’ sound with his/her hands and body.” To achieve this, he emphasized the importance of “making preparations” before producing actual sounds. He used the analogy of Eurythmy’s basic movement of contraction and expansion; the very moment when contraction is released into expansion, a sound emerges. In other words, well before making a sound, the finger must not only grasp but press on the string as if to create the center of contraction in Eurythmy. That is what he calls “preparation.” Mr. Kira said we must learn to do this unconsciously in order to play beautifully.

On the second day, Mr. Kira told us that he himself learned the importance of the sound-producing “preparation” from his lyre teacher, Annemarie Loring (1923-2014). He proceeded to explain the importance of the interval of the fifth, and of playing this particular interval with an awareness of space and flow, i.e. descending B-E/A-D/G-C/ and ascending D-A, played in one stream. He then explained that Waldorf education is “education toward freedom,” and that one of the primary missions of Waldorf early childhood education is to assist each child in “building a body that properly and sufficiently MOVES in accordance with his/her own will.” (Emphasis added.) He made a point that adults also need to learn to move in this way, so that the body serves as a “vessel” for the independently willed activity of music production.

On the third day, Mr. Kira explained the importance of activating the pinky and ring finger when playing the lyre, to better achieve “good body movements” unconsciously. We then practiced the arpeggio accompaniment to “Gaelisches Lied” (arr. Wolfgang Friebe), starting each arpeggio with pinky fingering.

On the last day, we practiced the Dorian scale and Mr. Kira gave us a few tips for dampening sounds. The way in which he related the importance of sound-producing “preparation” and dampening of individual tones was particularly useful. He said that “a sound ceases on its own when a string is touched by another finger,” and that “accomplished lyre players do this unconsciously.” In other words, lyre players must cultivate their hands and fingers so that they can “listen to” sounds and move unconsciously to the point of being able to discern and dampen tones, when necessary, on their own.

Overall, it was a wonderfully productive four-day seminar, and I have been busy all summer practicing what I learned in Zeist.

Creating a Space to Share with Regula Utzinger

By Julia Elliott, Boxford, MA

The afternoon class “Creating a Space to Share” with Regula Utzinger (a music therapist from Switzerland) focused on the music and the style of playing best suited for people in palliative situations. Regula is a warm and thoughtful teacher who encouraged the class to share their own experiences of playing lyre for patients and loved ones who were ill or near death. Through stories and melodies, we deepened our understanding of how the lyre can assist in palliative care.

At the center of Regula’s work is the belief that death is a life process and that the goal of music in palliative care is only to support the patient’s life. She described the lyre as “a vessel of pure music,” saying that people who are close to the threshold recognize its sound. The type of music one chooses can be influenced by the patient’s physical and mental condition as well as his or her cultural and personal identity. Because “music is where we come from,” it reminds the patient of their origins.

The style of playing in palliative care was a frequent topic of conversation in the class. How does one work with a melody or progression of tones on the lyre to make them truly therapeutic? We worked on cultivating a sense of expansiveness between musical phrases, incorporating a feeling of being guided by the breath, and making simple, beloved melodies richer with the addition of supporting harmonies. Regula described bringing the lyre into physical contact with the patient (by placing the instrument at their feet or against their arm or hip) as a way of helping them reestablish their physical boundaries and also to feel the resonance of the lyre tones.

A highlight of this class was that we began each session with a German song called “Zieh mit der Sonne” (move with the sun). A beautiful, expansive melody which compels the singer to move forward, we sang it while walking in a circle, first in unison and then as a very satisfying round. The beauty and purity of my classmates’ voices filled me with joy each day, and the forming and re-forming of the circle created an ever deeper unity in the group. After being together musically in this way, we were always ready to share and be together. The song brought us together in time and space and was itself a key to knowing how to bring music to those who need it.

Reflections on the International Lyre Conference in Zeist

By Diane Barnes, Hillsdale, NY

The 2018 International Lyre Conference was a wonderful experience, as they all have been. To see so many lyre players and lyre builders, about 169 total, many of whom I have seen before, is always very special. At this conference I thoroughly enjoyed Monika Mayr-Haecker and Christian Giersch’s workshop on singing and the lyre. Monika brought new movements to some of the singing exercises with her lovely, lyric voice, and Christian challenged the group to play the lyre while singing, often to play one part and sing another part (often in a foreign language)! The class was very professionally led and was both interesting and challenging. Bravo!

I have to mention that Christian Giersch wrote an outstanding piece for all lyres, especially for this conference, and he was only given one evening to teach it to us!! He did an outstanding job and I hope that lyre groups around the world will practice it and prepare it for future conferences. Thank you, Christian.

Another most amazing workshop was Martin Tobiassen leading the whole group every morning in improvisation - NO MUSIC. It was very masterfully led using tone of the day, the TAO tones, C major scale, whole tone scale and chromatic scale interwoven with our own personal percussive sounds, with certain signs Martin had invented for each tonal pattern. It was extraordinary and in the end sounded like a concert piece. Another BRAVO!

Many thanks to all of the organizers and to Anna Littel for keeping track of everything in her announcements.

Blessings from Diane Barnes

Cântaro Group from Brazil Enriched in Zeist

Attending an international lyre conference is a very "enriching" experience in many ways. We at Cântaro are very happy to see the growth of our beloved "lyrists" every time they have that opportunity. Below, some of them tell about their experiences at the Lyre 2018 Conference in Zeist. We are increasingly encouraged to be part of this wonderful community!

It is a precious nutrition for our school and our soul to know that in every different corner of the world there is one more, and one more, and still another lyre sounding together with us!

Cântaro continues its activities strengthened, working for our annual concert, gathering our students and preparing for September 29, when we present a show for children, but also of great significance for adults. "A light in the heart" is the name of the program which seeks to kindle in all hearts the light of love and hope.

Cântaro Centro de Desenvolvimento Musical

A Tale of Two Brazilian Youths in Zeist


By Tarina Rubinger, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Since Detroit, I decided not to miss any world lyre conference thereafter. When I invited my two 13-year-old sons, Estêvão and Cristiano, to attend, they promptly rejected the idea because after three years of pentatonic lyre and four of complete lyre, they had stopped for more than one year to devote more time to their other instruments. Their schedule was so busy at the Waldorf school as well as sports, languages, and so on. Well, I argued in favor of the experience of playing with so many musicians from all over the world, friendships of various nationalities, practice of English and German. Anything. They wanted holidays, rest, playful activities. Well, at the age of 13, they went to Holland with me.

We were in a large group of Brazilians. We passed through the south of England where we made some presentations in chapels, ruins and parks. They happily photographed and filmed us, but still without the desire to attend the conference.

However, as soon as the activities in Zeist started, the questioning was over and enthusiasm grew throughout the week. The workshops were precious to them, football was daily on the grass and friendships are still moving inside of them. Oh, all of this motivated, I do not know until when, the idea of attending the next conference. They thanked me in different ways and recognized the wisdom behind my gesture.

As soon as we arrived in Brazil, the songs from the conference moved to the piano. And so the spirit of this great union in the lyre and by the music lives in them day by day.

My Experience at the Lyre 2018 Conference in Zeist

By Beatriz Polanczyk, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

I am Beatriz, from Cântaro, and I would like to share my experiences at the Lyre 2018 Conference in Zeist with you.

In the morning workshops I took part in "Colloquium on Lyrerythmy," with John Clark, and I experienced playing movements in space with a special group from all over the world. Now, whenever I see flame flying on the candle, I think about Lyrerythmy: how I could take this image and give back to the audience the same feeling of gentle movements, warmth and kindness.

In the afternoon workshops I attended "Playing the lyre in combination with other new developed instruments," with Eric Speelman. It gave me an idea how to play easy pieces combining other instruments such as xylophone, percussion, woodblocks and a lot of Choroi-instruments, improvising rhythms and simple melodies in order to encourage people to join us for playing along.

I was very happy for taking part in it!

Best regards,


And Another Experience in Zeist

By Monica Godoy, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

I am a Psychoanalyst as well as a lyrist. I attended two workshops that contributed greatly to my growth, both with music and with psychology. One workshop worked on silence and another on creation / composition. Both workshops addressed aspects of the unconscious and affective structure.

I returned to Brazil very happy with what was offered me. I will certainly attend the next conference.

Thank you,

Mônica Godoy

Lyre in Healing Cancer with Yael Barak

By Yael Barak, Harduf, Israel

This summer in Holland was very dry. In the midst of this dry heat, Lyre 2018 took place in the Waldorf School in Zeist.

I am coming from a very hot and dry land – Israel. It was very well felt how this tender listening concentration is difficult in uncomfortable surrounding conditions. Nevertheless, I had 12 participants in my workshop group, who came every morning to experience and learn more about the connection between our ear, the sense of hearing, cancer and music therapy.

I am working as a music therapist in an integrative oncology unit, as well as in our Anthroposophic Center for Cancer Patients in Harduf, Israel. The lyre is a main instrument for my music therapy with cancer patients – not only as a calming, soothing instrument, but as a real healing element. The active quality of listening that the lyre needs and enables can serves as a practical etheric strengthening for the sense of hearing, for the life forces of our body.

I was touched to see the great interest of music therapists from all over the world, as well as people who met cancer in other ways. With creating a special open space for listening, I think we could touch the edges of one of the big secrets of our time – in illness, as well as in healing. I learned a lot through our common search.

I thank the Lyre 2018 organizers and leaders to enable this space.

I invite whoever is interested in the connection of cancer and music therapy to contact us in our therapeutic center in Israel. We are now opening our gates also to world wide patients and co-operations.

Wishing blessing rain and re-enforcing autumn to everyone.

Lots of thanks,

Yael Barak

Music therapist and head manager of Tal Hama, a therapeutic center for cancer patients in Harduf, Israel

The Sacred Gateway Conference: Conscious Living, Conscious Dying, and the Journey Beyond

By Marianne Dietzel, St. Paul, Minnesota

Sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society, one hundred and forty of us gathered in Sacramento April 6-8 from all over the country for The Sacred Gateway Conference: Conscious Living, Conscious Dying, and the Journey Beyond. Bringing personal stories of loss and of caring for our beloveds, we came to gather with others who wish to remove the stigma of death, and instead open meaning, ritual, and connection.

The conference began and ended with a eurythmy depiction of the journey of the soul between death and rebirth. A soul followed an angel guide through the planetary spheres, joining each planetary being with its gesture. This journey was accompanied by lyre music played by Andrea Pronto and Anne Riegel Koetzsch.

Andrea and Anne creatively adapted parts of Songs of the Trees, by Colin Tanser, to accompany the journey, as well as John Billings' III (Stourbridge '83) and Heaven to Earth (Adelaide '86) during the soul's time in the region of the zodiac and upon rebirth on earth. This provided the perfect mood to allow the audience to get an artistically-rendered glimpse into this realm, building a foundation for and giving a balance to explorations of other issues around the threshold of death. In addition to lectures, workshops and a plenum on Saturday and Sunday, participants chose artistic activities, including singing led by lyrist Robin Elliot Dagg, eurythmy and writing poetry, to begin each day.

On Saturday afternoon we honored Nancy Poer, pioneer of threshold work, with testimonials from many who have been guided and inspired by her, and with single white roses handed to her one by one, accompanied by the local Threshold singers. The entire throng then surrounded her with her long rainbow silk, chanting, "Spirits all around us like a rainbow 'round the sun." Visible love and care wove about this event and all aspects of the conference.

Saturday evening featured a Momento Mori ritual (developed by Dennis Klocek) in which all participants could walk a path of remembrance of a loved one, a lemniscate with a sojourn on earth at the bottom of the larger loop, and a sojourn in the upper Devachan in the smaller upper loop. This walking was accompanied by Marianne Dietzel playing solo lyre. Participants remarked on the poignancy of walking with the delicate lyre music in the background, while observers commented on the sight of so many walking the path.

The success of this conference resulted in a positive impulse to hold a second one on the East Coast in a year. Indeed, the date and the place have been set, and planning is underway. We hope many of you will join us in Harlemville, NY on April 26-28, 2019.

Concert tour and Lyre workshops with Jan Braunstein

By Christina Porkert, Kinderhook, NY

In June, Jan Braunstein was touring the Eastern U.S. and many of us were fortunate to participate in his workshops and/or enjoy the concerts. While I had taken the initiative to promote Jan’s visit it wouldn’t have happened without the support of many of you. Thanks to all who helped organize workshops and/or concerts in Kimberton Hills, The Fellowship Community, Camphill Copake, and The Christian Communities in Hillsdale and Detroit. Jan’s concerts raised appreciation of the lyre beyond the expected and I heard also many enthusiastic reports from participants of his workshops. While no concrete plans have been made for a return visit, seeds have been planted and hopefully will sprout into another tour before too long.