Caroline MacKay - High Spirits Music

Harp School


CAROLINE teaches Celtic HARP to Beginning and Intermediate students at the KELOWNA and VERNON Community Music Schools and the PENTICTON ACADEMY as well as working from her Home Studio in WEST KELOWNA.

Private lessons are most effective for Beginners, while Performance Coaching, Arranging and Ensemble Direction are available for more advanced players. She also creates Annual Workshops for small groups, which are hosted in BC towns where there is a Circle of HARP players.

RENTAL HARPS are available through DIAMOND HARPS for those who wish to try out lessons without having to buy an instrument just yet. Husband Daniel Schmitt is the local Harp Builder, Artisan and Proprietor of Diamond Harps, an exclusively Canadian Company.

CAROLINE has developed MUSIC CURRICULUM especially for the Folk Harp student, with an emphasis on solid technique and relaxation. She specializes in Adult lessons, as well as Children and Teens. “Sound Advice” THEORY and EAR-TRAINING are components of her program and can be started at any level. See our BOOKS AND SHEET MUSIC page.

Ensemble playing is encouraged, and everything from Duos and Trios to a large group Orchestra are making waves around the BC Interior.



Every Spring, HIGH SPIRITS MUSIC plays host to a Celtic Harp Workshop. We started out on Vancouver Island in 1998, with KIM ROBERTSON, SHARLENE WALLACE, LAURA ZAERR and CAROLINE MACKAY teaching in the famous Chemainus Theatre in mid-February! In 2002, we moved the Workshop to NARAMATA on Lake Okanagan, and took advantage of the beautiful scenery and spring blossoms at the Retreat Centre. Since then, we have invited HARPER TASCHE, KERI LYNN ZWICKER, ALYS HOWE, REBECCA BLAIR, KIM ROBERTSON and SHARLENE WALLACE.

This year our venue is once again SILVER HILLS GORGEOUS RETREAT CENTRE near Vernon, BC. And we welcome REBECCA BLAIR back as our facilitator and performer! This HARP retreat is for INTERMEDIATE players. Rebecca’s career as a harpist and teacher has been both rich and varied. She is active in the Vancouver folk music scene, performing as both a soloist and with groups such as Triskellion.

Visit Rebecca’s website at

  • 2016 Course Description

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blues”.

This workshop will touch upon music from a wide span of eras – from a medieval melody and traditional Celtic tunes to a blues song. Rebecca will show how to evoke the distinct character from each of these musical styles.

  • Improvisational Bootcamp – Rebecca will make practicing fun by taking technical drills and applying them to improvisation.
  • Practice makes perfect – Satisfy the inner perfectionist by learning how to break down trouble spots in music into technical sound bites the fingers can completely understand.
  • The Lone Arranger – Step by step Rebecca will show to how to create an entire piece from a melody. Starting with a simple accompaniment, she will make it sparkle with the additions of ornament, rhythm and texture.
  • Improv builder – Rebecca will provide some simple harmonic formulas on which to build new and interesting musical ideas including introductions and interludes.
  • From the Practice Room to the Stage – Get some insider tips for preparing for a concert and coping with those nervous butterflies.



Mark your calendars for April 15 – 17, 2016….and be sure to send your registration early to secure a spot at this very popular Celtic harp workshop. For more details on on the weekend events or how to register, download the 2016 High Spirits Harp Brochure here.

2016 Silver Hills HARP Workshop Brochure and Registration Form


ALSO Coming up in SUMMER 2016

The 30th Annual ISLAND MOUNTAIN ARTS Summer HARP SCHOOL in Wells BC  — August 15 – 19, 2016

See the brochure and link below for a wonderful lineup of teachers and events. Instructors include

Caroline Mackay – Novice Class; Sharlene Wallace – Intermediate Class; Seamus Gagne – Intermediate Class; Phamie Gow – Advanced Class  ….. and Morag Northey, Cello Class

Check this out before you make your summer plans!! Not to be missed.



IMAGINE THIS … The sound of a 6 piece Harp Ensemble… Now, include Vocals, Cello, and Flute, and dresses that sparkle! Current and former students of the Harp School create performances for a Winter Season and a Spring Season each year. Under CAROLINE’S direction, the OKANAGAN HARP ORCHESTRA has a spicy repertoire and is a stunning visual display of Hand-crafted Harps as well. The audience is invited to come up and have a closer look at the instruments when the concert is finished.

Every concert is different, as we are always arranging new selections, from rhythmic Latin, to Celtic, original and Classical pieces.

View where we can be seen and heard on the CONCERT SCHEDULE page.