The Wind Harp
Song From The Hill
Thanks to Michael for the hook up on this one. Top notch California hippy creepiness. The Wickerman meets Mirror maybe?
this is a nice one, great aeolian harp zones!
aelian harp chants!
check this LP out- 1979 UK LP.
picture didn’t show up?
the title is ‘Nature’s Dream Harp’
I visited this Harp in Chelsea, Vermont many times in 1973. The horses on the farm where it was located would put their heads in the base and listen. It was truly a cosmic experience and it had a life force to it!
I also trekked to the Chelsea wind harp in 1973. It was fascinating. And such a beautiful location. I’m trying to remember when and why it was taken down. Anyone know? I just hiked that hill again over the weekend and there’s little sign of what was there in the 70s, though the mountain top has yet to fully grow in with trees.
My name is Thomas Ward McCain.
I built the Chelsea Wind Harp.
I enjoyed reaing Richard and Patti’s comments.
I thought you both might be iterested to know that
a friend of mine since the days I built
the wind harp and himself a harpist his whole life,
Roark Barron, made last year a CD of the
original United Artists double-album recording
that sold out and was never reproduced.
His email is email@example.com
You can listen to a clp of it on my
http://www.deeratdawn.com website on the Music Page
and write to Roark if you want to buy a CD
I think its priced very reasonably.
I am building a new wind harp in Nikko, Japan
by the way. Times sure have changed. I got permission to
build the Chelsea Wind Harp from the landowner Warren Mattoon
with a wry grin and a handshake and promise from me
that it wouldn’t hurt his cows. The meeting lasted one minute.
Japan bureacracy has taken seven years
to secure the location legally etc… and still going on.
Oh well… I’m patient.
November 17th, 2009
Ward am I wrong or is the Harp of 1973 on an Island in the Gulf of Maine on family property? If so can it be visited by admirers? I was a friend of Chuck who made the original recording for United Artists.
Hi Richard – I thought that it was moved to Long Island? Maybe not. We actually may have met. Chuck, Star, Harry and Haz were friends of mine as well. I lived in Chelsea, and they used to stay with us whenever they travelled to Vermont.
I was there for the original recording. I was 11 at the time and wrote the poem on the inside cover. I remember many a cold morning waking up in the van and kicking the cow pies out of the way to get to the microphone. Chuck and Star unfortunatly are no longer with us both having died far too early but always living life on their own terms.
Thanks to the builder for the pleasure of hearing this amazing instrument back in the 70’s. I got to visit it twice, during the weeks in two consecutive summers I camped at Sky Acres Girl Scout camp in adjacent Washington, VT. We walked over the hills to get to it and I remember the excitement as we neared the site. Unfortunately both times there wasn’t much of a breeze so the music was quiet but it was definitely making some audible noises. I always wanted to return when it was really windy, but it wasn’t to be. I recently dreamed of those summers and remembered the harp and had to look up to see what became of it.
To Thomas Ward McCain:
Thom I wanted to thank you for making the Chelsea Wind Harp. It had a wonderful effect on my life Believe it or not. The music sent me places few people have to opportunity to go. I have the Album but trying to listen to it after 40 years of scratches is pretty hard to get through it all. I will contact the person who re-recorded the Album and will definately purchase it.
Thanks again Thom.
I would like to see a high quality CD label reissue this LP and outtakes. Who owns the rights to this album and where are the master tapes? A 180 gram LP reissue would be nice, too.
I bought this LP when it first came out. Area progressive rock radio stations gave it very decent airplay. I foolishly sold my copy in the 1980s.
Greetings Mark Dillman and other readers of this page,
I am Ward McCain, builder of the Chelsea Wind Harp.
I stumbled onto this page and read the comments.
Thank you to those who shared kind thoughts and appreciation.
I gladly defer your appreciation to Warren Matoon, the dear and very kindly farmer
who gave me permission to build something so foreign to him, and without hesitation, on his hill.
For Mark, let me try to answer your question re who holds the rights to the recording now..
Roark Barron a harpist and family friend, digitally remastered the original UA
double album two years ago. He recently visited me in Hawaii and gave me the master CD and a few
copies still not sold.
So that is the situation.
Feel free to contact me.
Tel: 808 238-0789
In the early 2000’s i lived in Nikko, Japan and got as far as
obtaining Mayor, Prefecture/Federal support and agreement to
provide a location for a new harp. But fundraising to build my new design
Nikko Wind Harp is to this day still a challenge.
PS: Re those who have asked where it is today, I must apologize that I
know only fragments of its history after completing it, June 1971. I soon after became a Buddhist
monk from 1973-2000 and never had any contact or news vs a vs the harp.
I left that life in 2000 and my mother explained that its main beam cracked
when still in Chelsea due to kids climbing up to the outermost point up the strings line
and a young boy then Chuck Anderson who often climbed the hill to watch me work, raised money from the town to have it reinforced with a steel beam
and when too many visitors made it too much for Warren to deal with, my mother had it taken down and
piece by piece and rebuilt in Maine, Newcastle I believe. It then was moved one more time and the last word
is that by late 80’s with no one to tune it, or tighten the strings, and set on a fairly windless location, it simply fell into
disrepair and I think its timbers etc, lie in a barn somewhere there.
The memory of sitting quietly under the the strings of your harp will never leave me. I hitchhiked up to Chelsea, my baby on my back, fiddle over my shoulder, with a friend from Cambridge MA around 1973. I don’t remember my lovely friend’s name. I can’t tell how many times I have tried to describe the power and beauty of that harp.
you definitely love for more online
Dear Mr McCain,
I was never able to visit the site where your wind harp was located, if I remember correctly it was more or less held secret to minimize the visitor traffic. Nevertheless the album became not only one of my very favorites, it became a special memory after life took me in other directions & the album was lost somewhere along the way.
Many thanks (belated) for building such a beautiful instrument & sharing it with so many people. Good luck with your efforts to obtain permission from the Japanese authorities.
– Frederick Pfaff
I went to the Wind Harp many of times as a child. I remember being there with the cows. My parents were Chuck and Star(Doris). My sister is on the cover.
Dear Ward, It has been quite a long time since I e-mailed you. There will be one in the mail when things slow down here. Hale and I are both retired now but busier then ever. Hope things are going well for you on your new Wind Harp. I have a copy of the album and when something came out in the newspapers I tried to save it in an album. Hope everthing is going fine and I will get a note off to you soon. Diane
I remember climbing the hill with my parents, my sister and husband and there 2 kids at the time. I have several pictures of it but none with us in them. Too bad. David
This was such a beautiful thing to see and to listen to. It seemed to be a secret and you only knew it existed if someone took you to see it. I visited it often in the very late 70’s. It was located on a back road, high on a hill, in the middle of an open field. People were not allowed on the private property, but I remember standing by the road, listening to it sing on a windy afternoon.
I always think of it when I travel along Rte One in Edgecomb, just over the bridge from Wiscasset, Maine. It was on a side road, with a few bends and turns to get to it. It so impressed me that 30+ years later, I still think of it often. It crossed my mind today, sending me in search on the internet for some sort of hope of finding a photo and a little information about it. This is the only site I found and am so glad that I did.
Thank you for sharing.
I was working at Kennedy’s garage when you came to use our torch to make the hooks that attached the strings to the sound board. I had long hair by then and at the age of 18 when change happens fast. You had a long lasting affect on me. The fact that you would put so much effort into a project that didn’t have any practical purpose started me thinking in a new way.
I can’t say how many times I went to the harp, but It was many. The most memorable time was when Noel, a girl friend of mine, talked me into going there one clear moon lit winter evening in December. It was so cold and as you can guess it was windy. we huddled under the sound board and listened to it sing like I had never heard it sing before, and felt it shake in the wind like I had never felt it shake. We were alone there for about 1/2 hour which was always my preference. I could have stayed there all night but neither of us were dressed for this experience, I was wearing a small jacked and low boat shoes, traipsing through a foot of snow, well we were young then, And yes Noel and I are are still friends.
I can’t tell you how many people were affected like I but for me it was the a portal into a new world where the importance of beauty dwarfed the importance of usefulness.
Today is my 50th Birthday. I am sitting in a cigar lounge in Colorado and happened to search for the Wind Harp that was once in Edgecomb, Maine. I grew up in Maine and have fond memories of visiting it regularly during my High School years. I even lived at the farmhouse just down the road for a short time. Just seeing its picture brings me back all those years. I am also a Buddhist and spent some time in a Monastery (as a lay person) in Canada. (Another poster mentioned they lived as a Buddhist monk) Thanks so much to the builder for those fine transcendent moments there in that Maine field of my youth.
“We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will,
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”…..
[I][B]Posted from my IPhone[/B][/I] ~Max 3/21/2013
Was remembering my family’s visits to Chelsea, Vermont in the ’70’s, and hiking up to visit, and listen to the Wind Harp in the field there. Somewhere here at home is a picture or two of my sister and I standing in front of it. That harp had a strong impact on me as it did on some of the other commenters here. Being next to it, hearing it sing its song was magical! Although I am not terrible surprised, I am disappointed that it is no longer there. I was hoping to take a trip back to Chelsea to see, and listen to it again. I will certainly contact the gentleman about a cd of the original recording. I hope he has another one to sell!! Many thanks to you, Ward for building such an awe inspiring harp, and to the Matoons for allowing you to build it on their property, and then allowing others to experience its wonder!!!
My first gal Judi Monson and me used to climb up to that hill in Chelsea at night in the summer and have sex under the harp. Our boy Joplin was born crosseyed and his teeth grew in sideways and I blame that damn harp’s vibrations.
It sure sounded pretty though.
A visitor to the Pratt Library at Goddard College asked some questions about whether a large harp on a mountain in Vermont was still there, where was it, who built it, put it there, and so on. She had heard about it from a bus driver who had been there back in the day. I dug around and did a few google searches which led me to this blog, among other places. Sorry to hear it was dismantled and is no longer embracing the winds of Vermont or Maine. I will try to get a recording from Roark Barron. Wonderful to hear how easy it was, permission-wise to install it on Warren Matoon’s land so long ago. Let’s hope for some enlightenment on future sites.
All good wishes, Paula Tamburello
I enjoyed listening to the LP years ago and still have it including the poster and would like to find a good home for it.
This is to J. Huff of November 23rd, 2013. While in the Navy, in the mid 1970’s, I listened to this wonderful music and made a “boot leg copy” of it on a cassette tape. Unfortunately, with all the moves that a military person does, the tape got lost. IF you still have the the LP record and poster I would like to purchase it from you. If you care to call me my phone number is: (619) 575-5584.
Thanking you in advance, Herman Carney
Can you tell me the address of the Harp that use to be in Chelsea,VT.?
that didn’t come out right.I want to know where it use to be in Chelsea.Vt. thanks
This is Thomas Ward McCain.
I built the Chelsea wind harp.
That was a long time ago….
But many are still trying to find
a good recording of it I hear…
SO, a few years ago I had the
original United Artists vinyl remastered
as a CD, beautifully rendered with
a new lovely photo of the harp on the
It is available from me:
Just write me at:
I will mail you a CD.
You can pay when you receive it…
PayPal or by check…
Happy New Year
In the early 70s I traveled from Jefferson, NH to see the wind harp on several occasions. It was a very spiritual and joyous event for us, and I am still grateful that I had the experience, especially the last time, during the height of fall foliage. I later moved to the area, and now friends have built a yert on a hill neighboring the site of the wind harp. As a house warming gift I have had the poster that came with the vinal recording that I purchased many years ago mounted for their wall. I appreciate the gift of the wind harp, and so thankful I got to go there; how amazing to sit on that hill, listening to the sound, seeing the beauty of the Vermont Hills. I am also glad to read the comments here, and to see that over time folks still appreciate the gifts of the harp. Thank you Ward McCain. Hope for your goodness and health as you travel further on your life journey.
The harp referenced as having been “moved to Maine” is NOT the Vermont harp! http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/11/living/wind-harp-to-be-installed-at-umm/
I was employed at United Artists when the Wind Harp album was released. I have a copy of the album, but it is not the same one I received as a UA employee.
You can see and hear the REAL album on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID-kZ2ySHL0
Vividly remember visiting the Wind Harp with friends from Harvard in summer of 1972. My manager, Bruce Patchen from Boston was ecstatic about recording it. The farmer who’s land is was on was concerned about his cows giving milk after it was erected. The builders were in doubt as to where they’d find strings long and thick enough to use.
A year later a group of us went looking for it at night. We’re not sure which road we took to get there. Once we were within a mile of it we could all hear it! Music of the God’s and Goddesses.
Black Mountain, N.C.
I visited the Chelsea Wind Harp sometime not long after it was built (I lived in Vershire 1968-1970, and I found the harp – rather by accident – not long after that time). It was a wonderful and mysterious instrument, and created a desire in me to build one myself. I live at 8000 feet in the Colorado Front Range now – as windy a spot as one could ask for – and that desire continues to bubble toward the top of my To Do list (rapidly becoming my “Do When I Retire” list). Thanks to Thomas McCain for his creation!
As you probably know, Randy and I were married on top of that hill in Chelsea by the Wind Harp. So pleased to be able to say that to the people in my life now. Many friends stayed over night to celebrate the day. Will always be an amazing memory of a very important day of my life. Glad to hear that many others have enjoyed it as well.
Love and Regards,
This wind harp is actually being reconstructed at the Owen Farm in Hopkinton NH. The costs have been keeping progress slow but they are hoping to have it finished by the fall of this year. Donations are helping and visitors are always welcome.
I’m so happy to hear that the Harp is being reconstructed. I would love to
support the effort.
I visited the Harp with friends ( Hollly Hamel, Mack Stuart and others) in Chelsea in 1971. It was a magical time and I
have memories that will always be special.
I’m new relatively to Chelsea, having been appointed to the court there ( it is , after all the shire town of Orange County, Vermont), and regularly take our 2-year-old German shepherd Eva for visits among the “old residents” of Orange County in the Highland Cemetery (Civil War era) during our lunch hour. At one of our most recent walks, I noticed a trail, newly marked, on the up-slope side of the boneyard. It was denominated as the “Wind Harp Trail.” Alas, despite our searching, we didn’t find a wind harp, but upon further research, I am further enriched. Thank you. I would also note, that one of the most impressive headstones in the cemetery is to the Matoons.
I visited the harp in 1970,my brother was a Physican Assistant in the town,Warren J Lord.He took my younger brother and I to see it. I never forgot about how amazing it was l always wished I had taken a picture of this incredible structure.I lived in Lowell Ma.and moved to St.Petersburg Florida in 1974 at 17years old.l have lived here ever since but always bring up the harp every so many years,a great memory. Thanks Kevin Lord
I grew up in Brookfield (in the 60’s-70’s) but have never heard of the wind harp in Chelsea! Fascinating! Here’s a link to a clip of the recording: https://youtu.be/ID-kZ2ySHL0.
I would love to read about any new progress on rebuilding the harp. Thanks to everyone connected with the original Wind Harp recording. It’s unlike anything else.
Greeting to all –
My wife and I hiked up the somewhat famous hill to visit the harp in the Autumn of 1972. Sandy was 8 months pregnant with our first son at the time. We were somewhat chastised for what some folks thought was a too grueling endeavor for a pregnant woman. It all worked out better than we had hoped even though the winds were light and the sounds were lighter. I had to put my belt on our dog so he wouldn’t startle the horses but he didn’t really mind. The memory of that day 48 years ago still lives with us both.
Thank you Mr. McCain for your inventive construction. Thank you Mr. Barron for your expertise. And thank you (posthumously) for a truly memorable life experience.
In my previous post I inadvertently failed to mention the name of Mr. Mattoon, the provide of the site on which the instrument was placed. Without his generosity and willingness there would be no memories for my wife and myself. I’m writing back now to acknowledge him for his contribution name, understanding he is no longer with us.
I never made the trip to the hill, but I first heard of it during construction. My neighbors visited frequently and spoke about it often. Their daughter is on the cover. That young girl may be 50 by now. I will make a special effort to get to the Owen Farm in Hopkinton, NH. Perhaps I should bring a bottle of dandelion wine as a tribute to my friends. Thank you Mr. McCain for building the harp. Nikki is the most beautiful place in Japan. A harp would be fitting there. Hakone also has a few hilltops that may be appropriate.
The original wind harp has been restored! Details here:
I first learned of the wind harp when reading an article on the town of Chelsea in Vermont Life magazine in the early ’70s. A brief note in a later issue mentioned the recording. This was hard to find however and was later out of print. I finally found a used copy in the early ’80s and was intrigued by the sound. And yes, it’s true that excerpts from the album were used in The Exorcist soundtrack and are credited on the LP and CD.