St. Brigid''s Flame is Mary Radspinner on harp and accordion, Constance Braden on winds (Irish flute and whistles), and Elizabeth Jeter on hammered dulcimer.
Mary began harp studies with Jeanne Henderson in the Milwaukee Public School System. Jeanne provided many kids with the opportunity to learn the harp who may have never had the luck otherwise. Mary credits her love of music and the harp to Jeanne, a wise teacher who imparted many different styles of playing to her students, preparing them for all kinds of work in the music world.
She also studied string bass and voice. In 1977 she earned degrees in applied harp and music education from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI. During the next 10 years she taught elementary general music, elementary band, high school orchestra, choir and music theory. Along with teaching in the public schools, Mary taught harp privately, and at one point had 41 students. She is also a certified Yamaha keyboard instructor.
Mary free-lanced in Houston for 11 years, playing an average of 4 events per week, and during that time she served as substitute harpist with the Houston Symphony and second harpist with the Houston Ballet Orchestra.
She has served as president of the San Jacinto Chapter of the American Harp Society, SW Regional director of the American Harp Society, and president of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen. She chaired the International Folk Harp Conference held in Galveston in 1998. Mary is the immediate past president of the Scottish Harp Society of America. She served as editor-in-chief of the Folk Harp Journal for the 6 issues interim between Nadine Bunn and Elizabeth Paine.
In 1993 Mary and her husband John Gill opened Melody''s Traditional Music & Harp Shoppe, a harp specialty store in Houston, TX.
Mary instituted the harp events at the TX Scottish Festival in Arlington, and has chaired the harp competition events for the Houston Highland Games. She was a winner in the Florida Summer Harp Seminar pop harp competition in 1994, and is the 1995 Texas champion Scottish harper. She performs and gives workshops throughout the country on harp techniques for relaxation, ensemble ideas and improvisation.
In 1999 Mary and husband John established Afghan Press, specializing in harp music publications. The publishing company is now expanding to include recorder and dulcimer music. Afghan Press is named after John and Mary''s beloved Afghan Hound, Melody. (1987 - 1998).
Mary is currently enrolled in a 3-year program of healing at the School of Transformation and Change, Houston, TX. She is a certified Dahn healer. Mary will begin certification classes in pet acupressure in the Spring.
Mary and John reside in Cypress, TX. with a large family of dogs and one cat.
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