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A Rose In Winter

What we, in our harp circle, say to each other about what we love about your compositions is that they are 'Finger Friendly' and sound beautiful. You have so many great melodies that just flow beautifully in our fingers. Gail McEwen (Washington)

The staff of the NICU neonatal ICU wanted me to tell you how much they love your music. Yesterday when playing there as part of my regularly schedule stops, I played a bunch of your tunes. The one that brought the must comments was Rikud Began Eden. Just thought you would like to know. Julie Hussar, CMP

Just a note to tell you how much I have been enjoying your books. You write lots of catchy songs that I can use for therapeutic sessions and just for fun. Keep writing, please! Elizabeth Thornton

I bought your book at harpcon in Monterey, I just wanted to tell you how marvelous I think your songs are. My pedal harp teacher thinks so too. All of your melodies seem to tell stories, even without your delightful recountings of how you came to write them. I'm impressed at the way you managed to weave different rhythms with very distinct melodies and then find such harpistic arrangements. Bravo! Margy Kahn

I had to tell you how absolutely beautiful I found your music. As a beginner, the music is easy enough to play quickly, but still so haunting and beautiful that it takes my breath away. “Act of God” in particular, moves me deeply. Thank you for creating something so wonderful. Jennifer Shearer

These are really interesting, beautifully melodic, and easy to get your fingers around. They should be very useful for both students and teachers for recitals and all harp occasions. Joanne Meis

I love your books. Your tunes and arrangements fit the harp beautifully as well as being musically rewarding. Your books are a staple in my teaching. Laura Zaerr

I'm happily harping your tunes in a variety of situations. They're pleasant to play and easy to adapt to every setting. I think your tunes are really excellent for the needs of the therapeutic player. Eve Watters, CMP

Your music brings me great joy at a time of sadness in my life. I particularly like “Where River Turns to Sky.” Maybe that has something to do with the ups and downs in my life and the fact that I used to be a social worker at a nursing home. Ann Hamer

I am presently working on Act of God, Caterpillar on the Dill, and .... what's it called.... something about the Garden Being Planted. You have a great gift of creating and putting music together. Rebecca Bowles

I have been opening my sunset harping sessions at the beach with Act of God since the New Orleans floods. This tune was composed for those suffering from hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. After I had played several tunes, a young fellow who had been sitting on the bench overlooking the water came by to ask what the first tune I had played was. He told me how this had been his wife's favorite place to sit for 4 or 5 hours at a time, watching the water and listening to the waves. He had lost her 5 years ago, and Act of God really resonated with him. I was glad I could help him. Dee Burnlees

When Sharon was putting together her first book, A Rose in Winter, she was up at Island Mountain Arts Summer Harp School in Wells, Canada. I had the privilege to get some of the first demo copies. I love her original compositions for their playability and delightful melodies. I still use songs from this book whenever I play, and they are among the favourites of those who listen. Dancing in Heaven (Rikud Began Eden), Caterpiller on the Dill, and Planting Dandelions- all such celebrations of life. Very affirming, warm pieces---so beautifully reflecting the warm, affirming personality of Sharon herself......(We won't even go into those gorgeous Thormahlen harps which had me drooling!) Some day I'm hoping to get to Oregon. Shawn Bird, Canada

Your books came in the mail today, and I am so pleased! They are absolutely wonderful. There are some pieces that I can play "right off the page," and some that will be there waiting for me in the months to come. I love "Where River Turns to Sky," and there are several pieces that will work beautifully for other harp students I know -- from A Rose In Winter: "Song for a Whale," "Harpin' in the Rain," "Dancing on Snowflakes," and "Where River Turns to Sky," from The Singing Tree: "Nanolu O Kohola," and from Gossamer Gate: "The Confluence,"and "Sunstream." I so much appreciate your notes on each piece. The story about "Caterpillar on the Dill" (from A Rose In Winter) is probably my favourite -- and that was one of the pieces that I could pretty well play at first sight. About "Act of God" -- how lovely! I'm going to learn this one. Thank you again! What a lot of joy you've brought me! Stephanie Judy, author of Making Music for the Joy of It

Just a note to thank you for your music. I play harp at Highline Community Hospital on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I've been practicing "Song For A Whale", "Rikud Began Eden", and "After The Garden's Been Planted" from your first book like a crazy lady. Today I played them at the Cancer Center, and oh boy - It was a joy! I also love "Where River Turns to Sky" and it's "in practice." I'm hoping to play it next Tuesday. Now about "Act of God", somehow I played it straight thru, pretty good the first time, and it really struck me deeply. It almost makes me cry every time I play it, it's very sacred, and a little personal. Since I've had it, I play it last when I'm practicing. It's a wonderful piece of music. I'm also practicing "The Lady of Shamrock" (from Gossamer Gate), "Harpin' In The Rain", and "Waltz Around With Rosie" (from The Singing Tree), all of these songs are just delicious. There are so many, and I'm amazed at the variety - You are one very talented Lady! Thank you for these songs, they are so beautiful. Jini O'Flynn


The Lone Egret

Hi Sharon,
I want to thank you again for your arrangements.
The Memphis Harp Ensemble played Asia Minor last evening, in a medley of Asian tunes. We were playing for a party at our art museum and there was a Chinese exhibit. Just before we were about to play your arrangements of Ashokan Farewell and Lovers Waltz we were told we had to move to the basement because of tornado warnings. And both last night and for a program on Tuesday we started off with your Preluce for Peace. I often wonder if arrangers/composers realize how frequently they're creative efforts are used and enjoyed.--Barbara Christensen

I don't quite understand why, but I can learn your pieces so quickly and struggle forever with other versions. No matter how much I practice they never sound very good, but usually a few playings of yours and I'm good to go. Lorainne Wiwchar

What fun to have a book of original songs for flute and harp combining Jessica's flute melodies with Sharon's beautiful harp compositions! Because the harp parts are not simply accompaniments to the flute, but stand alone as harp solos –it’s like getting two books in one! --Verlene Schermer

I love the music in "The Lone Egret."  The interplay between the harp and flute is lovely to listen to and a joy to play. Sharon's compositions just keep getting better and better! --Anna Jenkins

The book/CD format is a perfect learning tool. Well done. The music is lovely throughout! --Barbara Gladstone (flutist)

I purchased a Cygnet from you almost a year ago and I love it!! But the real inspiration for my note is that I have been playing Asia Minor. I don't have anyone playing the flute part, but no matter, it is just the joy of my heart. I love it. It is very complicated and unique and I am amazed I can play it at all. I have been playing the harp for about 19 months. It is the most amazing melody and such interesting intervals and harmonies. I just wanted you to know how dearly I treasure your creativity!! --Stephanie Raphael-Nakos

At Harpcon, St. Louis, I read through all the pieces in this book and thought they flowed very nicely in a harpistic way. They lay under the hands very well. What I like about Sharon's music is that it fits the harp so well, unlike some harp music that is too pianistic. Each of her books is better than the last one! --Kathy Chanik

Absolutely beautiful, Sharon. This is some of your very best work. --Beth Kollé


Waltz Upon a Time


Thank you so much for your Waltz Book! We forgot to get the mail yesterday until about 10 pm, and it was a great surprise. I took it with me to Kline Galland Home this morning and played Sunday River Waltz, Ashokan Farewell, Franconia Waltz, and Enrichez Vous. I talked to them about waltzes and feeling the 3 beats. A few people were sort of humming along! It's a great book. Thanks! Anna Jenkins

This review appeared in the November/December 2009 issue of The Harp Column:
Ms. Thormahlen has written very accessible lever harp arrangements of this standard repertoire in the folk music world...The music is sight readable for intermediate players. Advanced beginners should also be able to play many of these waltzes with a little practice. Chord symbols are included above the staff, making embellishment very easy if you so choose. Embellishment is not needed, however, as these are all very nice arrangements as written. Jan Jennings, The Harp Column


Sweepin' the Clouds Away

In addition to Birds of Blue Ridge, I sure like The Last Leaves of Autumn, and Harpeggio! - - am sure I like the others too, just noticed I marked Between the Thorns as something to get back to, but these are the ones that first grabbed me. Boy you sure have the stuff! Barbara G.

The songs in this book are ALL delightful to play and to listen to. Love those free-style glisses in 'The Last Leaves of Autumn'. 'Harpeggio' is so much fun to play... Ditto 'AT'etude' (clever title!). Your 'Birds of the Blue Ridge' gets a double A++ -- both for the music and the most interesting text that accompanies it. Your songs are absolutely beautiful. You are a gifted composer. Jack Gill

I just LOVE having the CD to listen to -- it helps me so much. Lynda Friedel

I have to tell you how much I love your books. I have all of them now! I have just opened Sweeping the Clouds Away and must tell you "On the Wing" made me cry! Beautiful. Keep up the great work. Janny Prentice, Austrailia

I LOVE your new book, "Sweepin' the Clouds Away." Some tunes just fall right under the fingers - BRAVO!!
Cynthy Johnson

Just thought I'd tell you how much fun I'm having with your books. There are some really lovely melodies---perfect for meditative moments---and some energetic tunes that are just such a delight to play. Thanks so much. When the time comes, my student may have to buy her own copies...Nancy Davis

The Singing Tree

You are wonderfully inspired! I can play them "as is", but moreover, I can improvise with the melodies and they become such wonderfully beautiful and powerful tunes that I use for harp therapy and for Labyrinth Walks. I luuuuvvvv The Singing Tree, and Gossamer Gate, and also include in my setlist After the Garden's Been Planted, Act of God, Dancing in Heaven, (from A Rose In Winter) and Moon Drifting and The Wolf at the Big O'Dell (from The Singing Tree). Thank you!
Cynthy Johnson, CTHP and Harpist

I saw your book at the local music store when I was visiting my son in Corvallis. I was so taken with what you wrote about each piece that I bought your book. When I got home, I noticed that you live in Corvallis and that made the book even more special. When I play your pieces in nursing homes and hospice, I will read what you have written because the message about each piece seems very healing. Barbara Glick

It’s your original music that I really find myself drawn to. Some of my favorites include The Mossy Glade, Waltz Around with Rosiee and The Singing Tree, but the two songs I have become totally enamored with are In the Wind and Nanolu O Kohola. Both of these melodies are very evocative and beautifully written. I can actually see the whales in my mind when I play Nanolu! Jan Dromlewicz

The pieces in your book have taken me through the transition from playing one-page versions of songs to feeling like a real harper. Because these pieces have been written for the harp and not some other instrument, they bring out the beauty and full range of the harp. I also appreciate the harmonies that go beyond the conventional. Linda Nelson

About a month ago, I bought The Singing Tree and immediately began to work on the pieces. I play now every day, every minute I have free. I have reconnected with my love for the harp through working with your compositions. I just wanted to tell you that. Laurie Lee

Just wanted to tell you how much I am appreciating your music. Now that I’m nearly done with my internship for MHTP, I know what kind of music I need to add to my repertoire — yours! The melodies are haunting and lovely, the repetition is relaxing and the level is such that I can play all of the melody lines and some of the bass lines. Your music is ideal for this work! I hope you are working on another book that will include The Last Goodbye. Alaine Warfield, CMP

I did a group at the hospital this morning and since they were eating lunch I played "Pepperoni"...............my personal favorite! I love the offbeat rhythm of that piece! We chuckled over how something that pretty could be named "Pepperoni!!" Peggy Glenn

I am writing to let you know I really enjoy playing the pieces written by you.  A friend in Toronto recommended your book 'A Rose In Winter' and I fell in love with the pieces.  I have just bought 'The Singing Tree' and hope to learn the pieces soon. Thank you and hope to see more books from you in the future. Mrs. Hooi-Im Goh


Gossamer Gate

I played the piece, Sunstream, out of your new book for a patient today who said she wished she could be sailing instead of in the hospital. I read her what you said at the end of the piece and told her to close her eyes and picture that sunstream on the water. She said it really helped and reminded her of a wonderful sailing trip she took a couple of years ago. She said to thank you and to keep writing those musical watercolors. Julie Hussar, CMP

My favorite, at first acquaintance, are Gossamer Gate (you and Pamela Bruner make a great team!), Huckleberry Heaven with its moments of square dance liveliness, and Sunstream. Your music is always good, but what has always made the books extra special for me, is what you write at the end of each piece about how and where it came to be. It’s like sharing your family’s life. I’m sure everyone who uses your books feels they know you well. Keep ‘em coming! Muriel Willingham

I am getting a vision of being a “visiting harpist” for that forgotten elderly person who sits alone much of his/her time in a small home or apartment with few if any visitors. I cannot think of a better body of music to learn and take to these elderly people than your original compositions. Thank you for your dedication and all of yourself that you put into your work! Peggy Glenn

Your songs are so beautiful, I just get lost in them and the time flies by while I am playing. I have lately noticed people pausing outside my open windows in the garden to listen to the songs. Your music is my treat after I do my finger exercises and other assignments! Susan Graham

I want to thank you for your gift of exquisite music and song. I absolutely love playing your music. It truly fills me with joyful peace. My partner feels the same. Several of the brides we worked with chose selections from your books. That made me very happy. Cindy McCormick

Last Friday evening, I played in a very small French restaurant. It was so small I just brought my 26 string harp. The biggest applause was when I played your Gossamer Gate. Thanks for a great tune. Chuck Wilson


Dance Thru the Music

"I am amazed, I can really play these tunes!" Jenny Swanson, Oregon

"Sharon's new book for beginners is full of lovely arrangements that are much more interesting than the usual beginning fare, including some extended harmonies and interesting rhythms. I'm not a beginner myself, but I very much enjoyed just reading through the book for my own pleasure. Anyway, I'd buy the book just for the beautiful cover, like all her covers." Kathy Chanik, Virginia

"I received your new book this past week, and it is really delightful! I love the cover - it is so colorful and interesting,
and goes so well with your previous books. Congratulations and Job Well Done!" Beth Kolle, Washington


Where the Fingers Fall

My top three favorites from “Where the Fingers Fall” are Childgrove, French An Dro, and The Ashgrove (which, as far as I’m concerned, is the best arrangement of this traditional tune that I have come across so far). Jan Dromlewicz

When I was young, I had some sort of toy, I can’t even remember what it was, that played the tune of Grandfather Clock. I had forgotten all about it, but as soon as I started playing it from your book, the tune came back to me as if I had just heard it yesterday. Thank you for that bit of nostalgia. Kari Gardner

I have A Rose in Winter and Where the Fingers Fall and I must say, out of ALL my stack of books, your music is my favorite!  The music is absolutely wonderful, and you have made it relatively easy to play. Rebecca Bowles


Prelude For Peace

I purchased your beautiful 'Prelude for Peace' to perform with a music group I belong to.We have just finished 9 concerts all over the place (all for charities) and mostly in churches. One was for Amnesty International and another was for homeless and struggling youth. Your music was a smashing hit.
We didn't have a cello so we used a bass clarinet and we couldn't get any handbells (something we don't use a lot in Australia) so we had to use a Glockenspiel. I hope you don't mind me making do with these other alternate instruments.
Congratulations and thank you so much. Noni 

From Sharon: Annie and I are thrilled with your performance.We don't mind in the least that you were creative and made it work for you and the instruments that you have. In fact we encourage that!! At the Big Sky Folk Harp festival this year (2009) about 12 of us under the conductorship of Laura Zaerr rehearsed this piece one time and performed it at the Saturday night Ceili. It was a lot of fun and proved to be a very doable and beautiful piece for a group to pull off!

"I spoke with the music director at the church where I direct the handbell choir, and your piece is scheduled for Thanksgiving Sunday as the combined prelude/introit. We will be assembling the full compliment of instruments, minus the cello part which will be played on electric bass and doubled by the bells. I can't wait to start working on this! I've also convinced the music director to program your beautiful creation for the ecumenical Epiphany concert next January. I wish you much success with this beautiful creation!!" Thom Dutton

An update from Thom (Dec 2009): "The music at the Wellfleet Congregational Church in Massachusetts, went over so amazingly well. On person told me that he usually sits through the prelude with his mind racing, but not today. With all the musicians and the beauty of the music, he was totally focused for the first time. Now it's on to the Epiphany concert with the same instrumentalists and a 50 voice choir." Thom Dutton

The ensemble looked at and played your Prelude for Peace. They were very enthusiastic. One of our members has a daughter with Down Syndrome and for years has limitedly played the harp. She can count simple rhythms. Mom had bought her a set of bells like those used in classrooms. It isn't the best of tone - but she went home to practice and by Monday her mother tells me she has the bell part down pat. We'll be working on it some more at practice this Friday. I'll keep you posted on our progress. Thanks, Barbara Christensen

Thanks to you and to Anna for the lovely "Prelude for Peace." It was performed at 2nd Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa, this past Sunday (November 15, 2009). There was a wonderful hush over the congregation, and many grateful comments were received after worship. We performed it with choir, two violins, viola, clarinet, cello, handbells & triangle. Kris DeWild, Director of Music & Amateur Harpist

All I can say is, "Wow!" We played through Prelude for Peace today and the first words I heard were, "Exquisite!" Then "beautiful" and then "wonderful" and the praises kept coming. Because of the simplicity we were able to feel the peace that our music was providing. Extraordinary! One of the husbands showed up at the end and he had to sit and listen and he agreed. Thank you for giving us peace.

Beautiful piece Sharon! I like how well the calm setting prepares the congregation for worship. This seems like a piece that any size of music ministry could prepare in a short time. Well done!


'Tis the Season

I have really enjoyed your "Tis The Season" arrangements - They are very elegant, nice to read and easy on the optically challenged. I played a few of them for my co-workers this week and they really enjoyed them as well. Alice Cover

I recently picked up your new Christmas book. It's delightful and I'm enjoying playing your arrangements. Jim Mosher; Oboe, English horn, Recorder and Folk Harp

I played your arrangement of 'What Child is This.' Thanks SO MUCH for making your arrangements available – they are easy-to-learn and elegant-to-play-and-listen-to. Karma Threet

I really enjoyed your Christmas book and ended up playing ‘Away in a Manger,’ ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,’ and ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ numerous times, including the first two at church and the last regularly (from memory) at the hospital. By next Christmas my goal is to have all of them memorized. Ann Jenkins

The arrangements are excellent!! This is a very good book. You have come a very, very long way!!!! Mary Radspinner (Afghan Press Publisher)

I am so excited about your Christmas book! I have needed this for years. Finally someone who knows how to put together lovely arrangements that are not too difficult to play and memorize! Peggy Glenn, Ohio

I just want to tell you how much I am enjoying your new Christmas book. I love it! The arrangements are delightful and simple but elegant. I think of you while playing the pieces. It makes them just that much more special to know the arranger. Kathi Holt

I really like "O Come All Ye Faithful" on the Reigning Harps website. I like the way you arrange. It makes sense to me and it's pretty. Jan Kingston

This review appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of The Folk Harp Journal: This new collection of 11 traditional Christmas tunes is playable for late beginner to early intermediate players. These arrangements are thoughtful and pretty, featuring a creativeness, which provides ‘something different’. Good fingerings are included, along with chord symbols, a wonderful learning and improvising tool. Lever changes are clearly marked, as are some helpful placings. Special features include: syncopated rhythms, glisses, P.D.L.T. and etouffe. Keys include F, C (Am), G (Em), and D. Time signatures include 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen switches from 4/4 to 6/8 and back to 4/4 again. Highly recommended for anyone! Denise Grupp-Verbon, Folk Harp Journal



I love the tunes Sharon has chosen for her Jewish music book. It's fun to step a bit away from modal Celtic music and experience these Jewish songs in harmonic minor keys. This book offers something really unique. Ann Jenkins, Issaquah, Washington

With clear arrangements and good suggestions for combining songs into medleys, this is a fun book for players of any level. It will be really useful at gigs too. Beth Kolle, Seattle, Washington

When I was in Melody's Music store in Texas, I had a chance to play through Sharon's new book, Shalom. I must say Sharon has put together some wonderful arrangements. I walked out of the store with a copy. Gretchen Williams

SHALOM is a wonderful book. I will be playing "Ma Navu" for part of the prelude at our hospice bi-annual memorial service next Saturday. Your book will see lots of service in my work with patients of various faiths. Carolyn Ancell, CMP, Tucson, Arizona (the photo on the left is Carolyn playing her walnut Thormahlen Swan for a patient.)


The Singing Tree CD

I just love your CD, The Singing Tree. When I’m in my kindergarten classroom, it’s the one that I reach for the most to set the tone for the day. The children ask for it often. Jenny Swanson, kindergarten teacher

If you'd like to be added to this list, just email me with your comments at: harps@thorharp.com


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