In the summer of 2006 Bryan Bowers and Cathy Britell spent a leisurely dim sum lunch in downtown Seattle sharing our vision of an intensive week of autoharp teaching and learning in Seattle. Cathy had just attended a work luncheon at a camp on the East Side called Sambica and had seen its potential as a possible site to make this dream happen. We realized that we needed a crack Executive Director, and were able to convince Laura Gregg to join us. Then we thought about who we’d most like to round out our staff. First, the most inspirational autoharpist and music teacher/instigator we knew— Richard Scholtz, and the most skilled autoharp player, multi-instrumentalist and teacher —Karen Mueller.
All three agreed to join us, and when Richard could no longer take part, we were fortunate to be able to add the wonderfully talented and kind Tom Schroeder to our team.
When Laura passed away from cancer in 2017, Jon kindly took over the management job.
What has REALLY made SAW uniquely beautiful for us were the talented, kind, interesting, wonderful people who have honored us with your presence over the years. We have been SO blessed by making music with and getting to know all of you, sharing teaching and learning in all directions, and enjoying the enduring friendships we have made.
Over the past 2 years we have all struggled with COVID-19 disruptions in our lives. This year, we were really looking forward to SAW being in-person again. As we were developing our plans for this fall, we learned that Sambica has rented out our usual space to a K-3 private elementary school and they informed us that our programming would have to be completely on the lower campus except for meals, when we would possibly share space with the school children who would not be vaccinated or masked. We would have only 3 teaching spaces and no jamming space except for the Beach House. Obviously this is unacceptable for comfortable teaching/learning/music-making and living.
We searched extensively for other venues but there is nothing that would meet our needs in the area for any acceptable time period.
Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we have decided to end SAW. However we will still be playing and teaching at other autoharp events, and hope to see you again soon.
Meantime, we wish you good health, happiness and lots of great music!