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Endorsements: Here's what they're saying about the Thormahlen Serenade

Endorsements for  SwansCygnetsCeili and Clare

Updated February 8, 2023

See our video of 4 customers who tell their expereience with their Thormahlen Harp on the Swan endorsement page.

The Serenade  

A few years ago my husband Eric and I bought our (my) first harp from you. I have been meaning to get in touch with you, just to let you know how much we truly have enjoyed our Thormahlen Harp...it has been a wonderful addition to our home! We truly love it! I used to play the flute, while Eric played guitar...and now I accompany him on harp. We enjoy playing together and love the way the sounds blend!We recently finished our first harp & guitar CD. Take care, and thank you for making our beautiful harp!
- Karin M :-)

I just got my Serenade!!! I LOOOOVVVEEEE IT! It is as close to the perfect harp as one can get. I can't believe how resonant and full the tone is - wow! And it arrived in great condition. I am very impressed with the shipping company. A driver brought it right to my front door. Great service. I am extremely pleased with the harp and am looking forward to two more at least - my student already has put her ibby dibs on the next one. When can I get it?
- Joanna Mell, Pennsylvania

See Joanna on our Swans endorsement page as well as the Cygnet page. She is one of just a few folks who have "one of each."


I’m very happy to report that my new Serenade arrived safe and sound yesterday. It is as even as it could possibly be from top to bottom. Its sound is rich and clear—very bell like. As with other Serenades, the warmth and depth of the harp’s tone are my favorite features. I still have yet to play a lever harp—built by any maker—that can even come close to the warmth and richness of a Thormahlen. You guys basically build the best folk harps out there.

In short, Thormahlens are simply the best out there, this harp included. Thank you again for the wonderful privilege of being able to say that I own a Thormahlen again. I am looking forward to using this beautiful instrument as a tool with which I can create music for many years to come.
- Brook Boddie, Louisiana
I am so thrilled! I felt so uplifted after visiting you, and amazed by the quality of sound. I was so blown away by the sound your harps make! The balance of depth, resonance and clarity, the evenness throughout the harp, the responsiveness of the strings, and just that voice! That was more than I was hoping for. Such an easy decision.
- Kathryn Cater, Oregon
Just wanted to let you know I got my harp today. I love it! I can’t even believe how beautiful it sounds. It is all the things I told you I was looking for, with the lighter string tension, the comfortable string spacing, and it really does have a resonating, bell-like, tone. I think it will be perfect for me. I’ve just tuned it and played a little, and am looking forward to playing it more tomorrow.  Again, thank you so much for this beautiful harp! I also love the heron. All the best,
- Mia, Tennessee

Just wanted to let you know we are enjoying the harp. My daughter Laura has performed on it the last 2 weekends - once for a youth convention of about 1500 teens, and then last weekend for a Christmas party for a Christian Bikers Club - a very interesting crowd, but they loved the harp and gave her a standing ovation! We have had lots of compliments on how pretty the harp is, with the black color, and the pearl. Have a great Christmas.
- Vicky Stanifer, Indiana (Laura with her Black Pearl Serenade)

My granddaughter, Julia, has a very reserved temperament, but her eyes lit up when I told her the chestnut Serenade was her new harp. She immediately sat down to play it. My daughter (Julia's mother) was so amazed at the beautiful sound, so very beautiful. I could not believe Julia's immediate attachment to her new harp. She played it during her lesson, and then improvised on it. The resonance of that harp could be heard throughout the house all weekend. It was wonderful.
- Stella Benson, Washington (Julia with her new chestnut Serenade) Stella is the founder of the International Healing Musician's Program.

She just arrived this morning. I am in love! After 20-odd days over land and sea she will probably take a few days at least to acclimatize and stay in tune, but what a beautiful tone. Thank you so much for this beautiful gift of your craftsmanship and attention to detail and for convincing me about the fluorocarbon strings. I don't think I will ever need to amplify this sound! I am happy beyond words.

Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Joyful Solstice.
- Janet Coombes/Canada


I want to let you know how pleased I am with the new Serenade harp. It is exceeding my expectations, and I am now thinking that a Cygnet might be the next harp in my future! I am amazed at how Dave is able to get such a great sound out of such a small instrument. I have been singing its praises to all of my harp colleagues and will probably use this harp for some upcoming concerts I have.
- R. Barnwell, Georgia (Mr. Barnwell already owns one of our Swan harps and now has a Sereande. If he ever gets a Cygnet, he will be the first to own a whole family of Thormahlens.)

Mr. Barnwell is playing Julianne's harp in this photo.

See Julianne get her new harp. The photos say it all!

Julianne and her sister, Coralie, have just started making harp covers cleverly called harp jackets, gowns and tunics. They are beautiful! Here is a link. 

Harp Couture

Thank you so much for your perfect customer service. It makes me proud to own a Thormahlen Harp. You are sooo kind. I play my harp all the time. I played for an 84 year young friend who just had pancreatic cancer surgery. I know that she and her hospital room-mate were deeply appreciative of the wonderful tone and healing vibration. Her only regret was that her husband of 59 years was at home and missed the concert!
- Dustin Ebesu, Hawaii

I have been a pedal harpist for over 45 years. I have been hoping to find a lever harp which would feel and sound familiar enough that I easily could go back and forth between harps. I had no intention of purchasing a harp at The Harp Gathering in Ohio, but when I played this Serenade, I loved the big, warm, mellow sound and immediately purchased it! I found the string spacing to be just right and the feel of the harp to be perfect. I am most pleased with my unplanned purchase! I really love how my Thormahlen Serenade sounds.
-Diane Dunn, Michigan

Diane has authored two lovely children's book featureing a harp mouse.

Merry Christmas to me!! I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a Thormahlen in the house again. This harp is even more beautiful than I had pictured in my mind, and the sound is fantastic!! It is every bit as wonderful as the big harp of yours I had. You know how difficult it was for me to have to sell the Swan, but I just couldn't carry that much harp around to all the hospitals I play in. The Serenade is going to be perfect for my therapy work - just the right size and lovely sound. And it has a full range so I can also use it when I play with our harp group.
Thank you sooo much for the absolute best Christmas present!
-Dona Wonacott, New York

Dear Sharon,
I picked up the harp from the airport and it arrived in perfect conditionl!! I’m really, really happy about the Serenade. The sound is celestial, it’s warm and mellow as people say on the web!! It’s exactly the heavenly sound I was looking for, I love it… I also love the big quality of the sound, I feel the vibration of it through my body and that’s beautiful. I didn’t feel this enchanting sensation with my little bardic harp, because it doesn’t have a big sound, since it’s a small instrument. The Serenade is really a complete harp and the dimension is absolutely perfect for me.
The strings are perfect and the inlay is beautiful. Everything is perfect and I still can’t believe I have a Thormahlen at home! ;-)
I’m looking forward to show the harp to my harp teacher and to some friends. Thank you very much for your support and for your kindness.
-Chiara Borden, Italy

An update from Chiara:

Yesterday I used my Serenade during my harp lesson and my teacher had the occasion of playing it. She was really amazed by the beautiful sweet tone of the harp. She is also a pedal harpist and she really enjoyed the folk gut sound. Other students saw and heard my harp and were enchanted not only by the sound but also by the aesthetic aspect of the Serenade. The big sound was also really really appreciated. Note that I’m used to play in a “soft” way, since I’m a beginner and I’m not used to playing loud: despite that the harp produces a very big and full sound and it stands out among the other celtic harps and my hand position has been improved since I started studying on the Serenade.
The light weight together with the beautiful, sweet, big and full sound and the elegant aesthetic aspect, make the Serenade a really enviable celtic harp.
Thank you so much,
-Chiara, Italy

Just letting you know that the harp arrived safely on Monday. It is everything I'd hoped for and more. I've found that when I put my hands on a new instrument I start playing tunes I'd never considered playing before and that's the case here. I'm looking forward to the time I can start playing it in performances
Thank you for everything
- Jim Cunningham, New York
Thank you so much for my beautiful new Thormahlen Serenade! It is truly “the one I’ve been waiting for”--the harp of my dreams. Not only is this walnut-stained beauty an aesthetically pleasing work of art, it also unassumingly offers a rich, mellow sound. The folk gut strings are easy on my fingers, and the Camac levers operate smoothly and effortlessly. In addition, the fact that this instrument is light to carry and can fit in the backseat of my Honda makes transport a breeze!
Not only is my harp a paradise for the eye and ear--your service has been a tremendous blessing, as well. I have spoken with both of you on the phone, and you are delightful to work with. When an extremely rare event occurred--a damage in shipping--you immediately offered the option of building me a new harp. In the end, everything worked out extremely well, and I am grateful for your compassion and excellent customer relations.
Previous to owning this beautiful Thormahlen, I had purchased a harp from a large company. I can tell you that there is absolutely no comparison. Being able to speak directly to both of you, and getting to know personally the wonderful people who crafted/strung/levered my harp, has been a fabulous experience. Each day I practice, or play in church, or just serenade my family and friends, I will benefit from your expertise and creativity. A thousand thank-yous!
-Marjorie, New York who is camera shy so just send a picture of her harp in her home.

This harp is my Dream Harp! I wanted a harp that was light enough to be transported easily. It had to have an even tone, lush, mellow sounds in the base, bright-but-not-too-bright in the higher end, be capable of providing volume without being too loud while still being capable of good sustain even when played more lightly. Last of all, I wanted the harp to be beautiful and look special to me. You can see that I had a list of criteria that I wanted all in one harp! My Serenade possesses everything I had hoped for. I love the way it sounds, I love the way it plays, I love the way it looks. I didn't have to settle for less than what I wanted. As Marilyn Gryte says proudly in the Thormahlen website's video, "Yes, I have a Thormahlen!"
-Jane P. McNally, Ph.D.

A little update from Jane: Don't get sick of hearing this: I so LOVE my Serenade. Whenever I begin learning a new piece, it is just such a holy experience hearing the melody on my Serenade. It's like a new gift..."here comes something new and beautiful." Sometimes, after playing, I sit with tears in my eyes -- not that I'm a magnificent musician, but the tone, the beauty, it's so touching.
-Jane P. McNally, Ph.D.

Another update 2015 I just passed the second anniversary of receiving my Serenade. Boy, it seems as though it has always been in my life, and when I realized that it was only two years, I couldn't believe it! The longer I'm around, the more I realize how fortunate I am to have my Serenade and how superior the sound is to soooo many other harps. Blessings on both you and Dave. Be well, stay healthy, and may all good things come and abide with you.
-Jane P. McNally, Ph.D.

Hi Sharon,
I want you to know I love my Serenade. It is all about the tone for me. The sound is silky and smooth. It just reaches inside me and brings joy. It took about five years for me to have enough money to get mine. I have no regrets. Thank you and Merry Christmas.
-Marie Brennan
I LOVE my Serenade harp! I even love the way it smells!
Thank you!
-Becca Theis, Illinois

The sound (of this harp) is just incredible. It's probably one of the nicest harps I have ever owned, and I have owned a lot. I feel so grateful to have found this harp.
-Brook Boddie, Louisiana (2013)

Brook now has another of our Serenade Harps (2015):
Well, it finally made it!! It was delivered this morning. And, despite being in below-freezing temps for 10 days, the harp is fine, and it's already holding pitch. The instrument is stunning visually, and I love the sound as well--the warm, rich, deep tones that are characteristic of Thormahlen harps. I am playing for a wedding tomorrow and in church Sunday and had not planned on using this harp because I never thought it would return to pitch so quickly, but it has, so it will make its public debut tomorrow afternoon at the wedding. Thank you, as always, for building me such a beautiful instrument. I could not be happier with it!
-Brook Boddie, Louisiana

The new Serenade arrived today. (early 2017) I tuned it a few times, took a deep breath, and began playing. A harpist only gets one chance to have an initial impression from a new harp. Mine can be described in one word: WOW!!! It's really difficult for me to find the right words to describe this harp. It has a depth and warmth that few lever harps reach, especially just out of the box. The string tension is perfect for my big hands--not too loose; not too tight. The sound is perfectly even from top to bottom. It is stunningly beautiful physically. The black finish with a black soundboard look quite elegant. Above all, the harp's warm, rich, and resonant sound is its most impressive quality. All these come together to create a beautiful work of art that will bless me (and hopefully others) for many years to come. Thank you and Dave for continuing to build such quality instruments. This one will very likely go in the "keep forever" section of my harp collection. Again, thank you!
-Brook Boddie, Louisiana

(late 2017)  I just wanted to tell you how incredible this black Serenade is. I probably say this every time I get a new Serenade, but this one bears having the comment repeated: this is the best Serenade I've ever owned. The tone is-mystifying and heart-wrenching, if that makes sense. It's the kind of harp I'd want to sit and play all night if I didn't have to get up for work the next day. I still can't believe that I was able to swap
at the last minute and end up with this harp. You know I've owned a
lot of harps in my life; this is one of my favorites-ever.
I'm still hoping to get a Swan one day, but until then, I've got what has to be the best Serenade you guys have ever made. I know, though, that a lot of people would fight me on that opinion!!
-Brook Boddie, Louisiana

I am still enjoying my Serenade tremendously, and often prefer to play it rather than my (very nice) pedal harp! The Serenade is just so comfortable to play and I really love the tone.
-Diana Day, Georgia
I LOVE my new harp, and it is amazing how it pulls a totally new, higher level of playing out of me! My fingers dance. And the sound draws me into an amazing new rapport with the music I'm playing. I could become a real harpist!
Kate Ellis, Colorado
Just a short note to say I’ve enjoyed getting to know my new Serenade. It is so enjoyable to sit down and play – I like the size, the tone and the levers are great to work with. It’s a wonderful harp, thanks--Diana Day, Georgia  
Just wanted to let you know the harp arrived today. I love it. Right now I have the harp sitting in my office in front of my desk. It is so beautiful, and the sound is much more than I expected. So glad to have gotten the folk gut strings. The harp has a wonderful mellow tone. I am joining a harp circle, and they are excited about my harp as well.
Rick Norton, Georgia

My Serenade harp arrived today and I instantly fell in love with it. It has a tremendous sound, is easy to play, and is light weight (which is important to me). And I'm so glad I decided on the black one....I think it's exquisite. My husband, who didn't see the need for me to buy another harp, is equally pleased with it. Although he knows nothing about harps and music, he also loves the sound of the harp and he raved about the workmanship. He even insisted that he do the dishes after dinner so I could go play the new harp for him. I'm so glad I decided to purchase a Serenade...I will highly recommend them to my harp friends. Thanks so much for producing such a wonderful instrument.
- Avalon Berkebile, Maryland


I have been so busy playing my new Serenade harp! After telling myself I didn't feel well, I called in sick to work, but truthfully, I think I just wanted to spend some quality time with my harp! I love it. The sound just fills me, and I've been having so much fun playing new and old pieces with bass notes!!! Thank you again, so much!
- Barbara Von Behren, Oregon


When Sarah received her Serenade for her 9th birthday she named it “Hermione” and her mother remembers her saying, "The low notes make a hum that goes into my heart.”  Here’s a photo of Sarah at 11 years old loving her Serenade. She performs pretty much every week with her band “Conlan” which is made up of 5 kids!
- Pam Copus, Texas

We made it home safe and sound last night. This beautiful baby is makin my heart swell up. The creation…the sound, each piece of wood so lovingly worked, the design….is unlike I have ever known in a harp. It is such an honor to have met you both and to have this creation. I’ll send you a testimonial for the web site as soon as I can… (I'd say you already did!)
- Paula Zand, California
Sharon Thormahlen played a Serenade over the phone for me and it had a WONDERFUL tone, so I ordered one. I was playing the new harp when my husband walked in and said he thought I was playing the pedal harp. That's how good the tone is. I can carry this harp with one hand if I have to and am very, very happy with it.
- Nancy Taylor, Nebraska
My beautiful Serenade harp arrived, safe and sound on Tuesday morning. We commend you on the terrific job of packing that you folks do. The harp is all that I had hoped for! The beauty of appearance; the lovely sound; the comfort and compactness for playing and transporting; the "perfect for me" tension, string spacing and evenness of tone--are all most appreciated features!
I am happy to be a first time owner of a Thormahlen Harp.
Sincere thanks to each one of you!
- Marilyn Johnson, CMP and CTHP, Minnesota
I am simply in love with my new little Serenade! Her sound is magnificent--everything I want it to be and more. I am coming from a pedal harp background, so it has taken me a little time to figure out how to play differently to make that beautiful tone come out, but I am getting there. I am unbelievably happy with what is coming out. I have even stopped playing my big harp! I am truly, incredibly more than pleased with my new little harp. I cannot thank you enough for your beautiful workmanship and its wonderful outcome.
- Martha Temple, Georgia
A neat thing happened this past month. I loaned my Thormahlen harp to Karen Almquist for her concert during Octoberfest in Mt. Angel. Afterwards Karen's harp teacher, Marion Faust, came and visited Karen. The two of them put my little Thormahlen Serenade harp through it's paces and when finished, Marion said "Everyone needs this harp."
- Kathi Holt, Oregon
I love my Serenade! It has been so much fun to have such a great instrument to practice on. Suddenly my lessons have improved because I'm not just looking at all those notes once a week. It took me a while to get used to the fact that the harp was really here, but now I come home from work and either wind up or unwind with all the things my teacher has me doing.
- Sherry Lenox, New Jersey
I just loveeeeeeeeeee my new harp. It's sooooooooo beautiful and elegant and I love the coloring. I have to run my fingers over the strings everytime I pass it in the living room. I've managed to pick out "Jesus Loves Me" and "Amazing Grace"......now I just have to refine them and practice, practice, practice.....and find a teacher. Thank you for your help and your wonderful website.
- Gail Boyden, California
Just a quick note to let you know that I played Brown Sugar aka "Shug" today at church and what a beautiful sound! I received several comments from church members and friends about how "deep and soulful" the sound was and even a few that were particularly impressed with the design of the harp. I am very pleased with my choice and can't want to see how the sound will develop even more richly over the years ahead!
- Mona Terry, Iowa

I just want to thank you again for my gorgeous Serenade, that is now one year old. When I play, it feels like my hands are running through water and the result is sweet notes of color. We venture out a couple of times a week to play, the strings amazingly hold their tune through many playings. When I play, heads turn because they are sure they are hearing a pedal harp. I have promised myself a Swan by years end, just undecided which wood and strings.
- Pam Stellmaker, Nevada


Usually I edit down the letters I get from our customers, but this one is elequent that it stands as sent:

Dear Sharon,

I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to write and tell you how happy I am with the new Serenade. I bought this harp especially for use in an inpatient hospice that I play for every Friday. The hospice allows me to take the harp in the patients' rooms. The tone of the harp is absolutely perfect for what I use it for. The warm, round tone just seems to resonate through the room, creating this beautiful music that undoubtedly touches every single patient I play for. The majority of the patients fall asleep while I am playing, in fact. The hospice workers have noticed that the harp has a calming effect on even the most agitated of patients, and they've called me to come play outside of my normal time when they have a patient that is being especially difficult. The harp helps to calm them even when medication cannot.

One of the most touching experiences I've had occurred a few weeks ago I had just started using the Serenade (from the previous harp I used, an XXXXX (edited out)), and I was playing for a patient who was in and out of consciousness and near death. She was moaning and agitated, and when I began playing, her entire countenance changed. In a very low voice, she asked me if she was in heaven and if I was an angel. My response was "not quite," and I continued playing for her. The nursing staff told me the next time I was there that she passed away about an hour after I left and that her death was a peaceful transition. They credited it to the harp music and the calming effects it had on the patient.

I know that you probably receive countless emails thanking you and Dave for the excellence and quality that you put into each harp, but I just wanted to share how this particular harp is being used and how it is blessing the lives of those who are making their transition from this life to the next. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to play such a beautiful instrument, one whose effects are far reaching, probably in ways that we can never even know or imagine.

Brook Boddie, Louisianna


Some of our customers purchase multiple harps from us, so here is, yet another letter from Brook Boddie:

This harp sounds amazing, not that you needed me to tell you that! I can't believe it didn't sell in Asheville. Guess it was just meant for me to have :-). Thanks again for everything!
Brook Boddie, Louisianna


It's been a little while since I've had an opportunity to rant and rave about my Serenade, but, Debbie, since you've given me the platform to do so, here it is:

I purchased the serenade because it was lighter and thus more easily transportable than either the Cygnet and certainly more than the Swan. I liked the sound of it. Dave had managed to produce a harp that had a beautiful, resonant, big sound in a relatively small harp. I was absolutely struck with the beauty of this particular harp. And so, sound-unheard, I purchased it. Well, I shouldn't say that, because I did have Sharon play it on the phone to me, but I had already ordered the harp.

When it arrived, I followed the directions for unpacking, and there, in the case, was my Serenade. It was in almost-perfect tune; not bad for a coast-to-coast shipping journey! But when I sat down to play it, I couldn't believe it. It was even more resonant and even-toned than could be ascertained through the phone sampling I had had. It's been almost three years, now, and sometimes when I play it, I just have to stop because the tone of this harp is just so great. The high notes are clear but not shrill. The low notes are wonderful and not that awful "tubby" sound that some harps have in the lower registers.


Of course, every harp player has his or her favorite harp brand. There are many fine harps being made. But forgive me for my clear, unabashed, totally biased, experiential preference: Thormahlen harps are the best!

And please, everyone, I acknowledge my bias; don't bombard me with testimonials refuting my preference. De gustibus non est disputandum. (Latin aficionados will know that this means: There is no arguing with one's personal taste.)
Jane McNalley

Endorsements for SwansCygnets,
Ceili and Clare

Check out the in stock page to see what's available.

Thormahlen Harps | 1876 SW Brooklane Corvallis, Oregon 97333 | (541) 753-4334 | harps@thorharp.com