About

The Colorado Harp Ensemble is composed of several Colorado harpists and has decades of experience entertaining audiences in the Denver-Metro area. Combining classical, pop, jazz, latin, and celtic music, the group's repertoire reflects a wide diversity of interests and backgrounds.

Artists Bios

Joan Fitzpatrick’s earliest choral and orchestral ensemble music experiences were gained growing up in the New York metropolitan area with the inspiration of the Bernstein years at the New York Philharmonic where she participated in the Young Musicians Program. During an all-too-brief summer of harp study in high school with Dewey Owens, she went on to win a first prize in the Hunter College CUNY Harp Feis in Manhattan. After 30+ years of continued ensemble choral experience in the San Francisco and Denver metropolitan areas, she finally returned to her first love, the pedal harp, in 2002 under the guidance of teacher Don Hilsberg in Denver and Nathalie Chatelain in Geneva. Joan finds the challenges of ensemble playing to be most rewarding both in orchestral and choral settings. Currently Principal Harpist with the Araphahoe Philharmonic, she has performed with the Jefferson and Aurora Symphony Orchestras and enjoys playing with local choral groups and instrumental ensembles.


Erin Newton has played harp for 20 years and having recently invested in a Lyon and Healy concert harp to step up her game, she anticipates she'll never be too old to rock and roll. With pop arranger Penny Beavers as her early inspiration, Erin's elementary school assembly performances of pop standards and Christmas favorites led to gigging for special occasions, competitions which provided funds for future study and a grant award to study at the California School of the Arts with contemporary composer Susan Allen. While earning two degrees in Geology in Massachusetts and New Zealand, she pursued college music study of the classics with Boston harpist Felice Swados, and later with Courtney Hershey Bress. After completing a European tour with the New Zealand based Von Bingan Opera, Erin performed with grammy award winning hip hop star Kanye West and was featured with the University of Colorado Summer Opera Series. She continues to perform regularly with orchestras and ensembles throughout the Colorado Front Range. Erin holds strong to the belief applied to music and life that if it's not inspiring or, alternatively, challenging, it's not worth doing.

Gale Brown has been a music lover all her life. Beyond the harp, she enjoys both the piano and flute. Gale says her life changed when she saw a celtic harp in a music store. She immediately fell in love with the instrument and it has been the center of her musical world ever since. Her larger celtic harp was a wedding present from her husband who lovingly hand-made it especially for her. She plays both celtic and pedal harp styles. Gale has studied harp under a number of teachers, including Sharlene Wallace in Toronto, and Barb Lepke-Sims and Carolyn Kuban in Colorado.  For over twenty years, Gale has performed as a soloist, with a flutist and singer at numerous weddings, receptions, and other social gatherings. She has participated in harp ensemble concerts, in church orchestras, performed at nursing homes, libraries, and festivals. Gale has taught piano and harp to adults and children, and is currently working as a studio music teacher. She has been part of the leadership of the Colorado Celtic Harp Society, and is an active member of the Mile High Chapter of the American Harp Society.


Catrine Watt studied classical voice at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, France, and later at the University of Nevada, Reno, performing in  productions with the Paris Trinity Choir, the Nevada Chamber Opera Choir, and the University of Nevada Symphonic Chorus. After moving to Denver, she studied the celtic and pedal harps with Margot Krimmel and Rachel Star-Ellins. She won First Place at the 38th Annual Colorado Scottish Highland Festival and founded the Colorado Celtic Harp Society. Expanding to jazz after a Lyon and Healy Jazz and Pop Harpfest festival, she studied jazz performance and improvisation under the guidance of jazz harpist Cindy Horstman. In addition to performing with the Colorado Harp Ensemble, Catrine enjoys playing at private events, weddings, and with contemporary bands of various musical  persuasion.


Susy Spangler began her harp studies in high school after having tried organ, piano, guitar, and flute.  Much to her father’s consternation –he hated moving it– she chose the harp.  Susie studied two years with Pat Croke in Colorado Springs, and two years with Anne Adams at Mills College.  For many years she split her harp time with raising a family and her career as a teacher.  Still, she found time to play with the Lakewood Symphony, the Mostly Strauss Orchestra, and several private functions.  She resumed her formal studies under Caroline Kuban for several years and now studies under Courtney Hershey Bress.  Susie joined the Colorado Harp Ensemble in 2010 and is excited to contribute to their evolving program.