Celtic harpist Sylvia Woods hosts Christmas Sing-Along

A world-renowned harpist is giving Kauai the gift of music for the holiday season.

After its successful inaugural concert last year, Sylvia Woods is bringing back the Christmas Carol Sing-Along with Harps Concerts for two shows next month, celebrating songs of Christmas that the whole community can be a part of.

“I used to own the biggest harp store in the world in California for 20 years. And what I discovered was that people didn’t have a place to go to sing Christmas carols anymore,” Woods said. “Even if you go to church, you only sing one or two and a lot of churches don’t start doing that until Christmas. So we started doing these sing-along Christmas carols with harps with concerts at my store and did them there for many years.”

After living and working in California for over two decades, Woods moved to Kauai three years ago. She said she realized suddenly that she did, in fact, know someone who lives part time on Kauai, Madeleine Brandli, who plays the large concert pedal harp, so she thought it would be a cool idea to bring harp music to her new home.

“Last year was our first year and they were very popular,” Woods said. “People said that they wanted to come back next year so we decided to do it again this year.”

The concert is a combination of a sing-along and harp music.

“The great thing is, everybody loves harp music; whether they know it or not,” Woods said. “And every culture that’s developed the harp, it’s always been considered a magical or spiritual instrument. It touches people in a place that no other instrument seems to, and Kauai is such a special place. So I think it really fits in with the whole spirit of the island. People get to see the harps which they don’t often get to do here.”

Bob Smith, a Princeville musician, will lead the singing while Woods and Brandli play the harp. Those who attend will receive a booklet with the lyrics of the carols.

“The two things are that people don’t get to see harps, and people don’t have a place to go sing Christmas carols. We’re doing this at the beginning of the month before it starts getting too crazy, and it’ll be the kickoff for the Christmas season.”

The first concert will take place 9 p.m. Dec. 3 at Church of the Pacific in Princeville. The second show will be St. Michael & All Angels Church in Lihue at 4 p.m. Dec. 4.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

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