The History of Heartland Harps
Welcome to our web site! We’re Dave Woodworth and Pamela Bruner, and we thought you might like to know a bit about us and Heartland Harps & Music.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s Dave went to school for cabinetmaking, then furniture design and finally opened a small cabinet and furniture business in Minneapolis in 1982. In 1984 he made his first instrument – a hammered dulcimer, built from plans found in the back of a book about dulcimers. Some friends saw the finished instrument and asked him to build them one. Ultimately he ended up manufacturing dulcimer kits for the store that sold him the original book. The same store called within 6 months to ask Dave to supply them with harp kits as their supplier was retiring, and the rest, as they say, is history! Since 1987 he’s been building instruments full time, mostly harps with the occasional dulcimer, and hasn’t done kits or dulcimers since the early 90’s. Even after all these years the harps continue to evolve, including into new materials like carbon fiber.
Meanwhile, Pamela was developing her career as a professional harpist, and began playing Heartland harps. She was impressed with the sound, and the comfort of playing due to the unique Heartland design, and started recommending them to people around the country. When she finally met Dave in 2000, they began working together, and were married in 2001. Pamela did all the hand-painted artwork on the wood harps, but, sadly, that is no longer an option on the carbon fiber harps.
Dave started developing a carbon fiber harp in late 2008, introducing the first Delight carbon fiber harp in mid-2009 to great success. The popularity of the carbon fiber harps finally dictated that Dave no longer build wood harps as of 2010. We now have 3 lever harp models and a pedal harp model that are making a difference in how and where harps are played around the world.
Dave and Pamela work together still to further refine the sound, look and feel of the harps, always striving to build the best harp that we can. Harp building is still as much an art as it is a science, and something that we feel very fortunate to be a part of.
The shop was primarily located in western Wisconsin up until 2003. We now live in Zirconia, NC, south of Asheville and right on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. To date, we’ve built well over 2,400 harps – over 1,500 in wood, and more than 900 in carbon fiber – sending them all over the world. Pamela has released nearly 20 CDs of harp music and harp and voice, and several books – you can visit her website at www.pamelabrunermusic.com to hear and purchase her music.