Farewell to the Northwest, Will Not Be Touring, and Selling a Place of Inspiration

Farewell to the Northwest and will not be Touring

Deirdra and I would like to thank you for all your interest and support of my music over the years. We are in transition now with selling our home in Oregon (see below) and moving back to California to be closer to family.  I will not be touring performances at this time.

Click to sample my various programs:

My recent “Celtic Pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s World” performances all ended in standing ovations with several audience members volunteering their response to the program. (here are just a few):

“You gave us an experience that was magical and uplifting. People left feeling in a higher ‘space’ than they came in with. It was profound!”

Alan Minor, Portland

“The escape was ethereal and just what the Doctor ordered for lowering everyone’s BP!   Thank you for such a melodic and edifying transport from the everyday grind to the sublime.”

Nancy Ames, Houston

Selling a Place of Inspiration

John listens for music in the garden

Musically, everything has come in stages, where I seek out inspiration and stop everything else to try to capture it when it comes.

I then write it down and try to get to know it better.

Later will come recording and ultimately performing it in concert to share with all of you.

Our home grew out of a similar approach where we wanted to live in a place of inspiration leading us to buy some land on top of a ridge overlooking the Willamette Valley.

Another 12 hour day and I am wondering will I ever play the harp guitar again

Deirdra coordinated the design and we both jumped in to help out with the construction, one board, rock and plant at a time.

John in the “Great Room” under construction

Deirdra acid stains the concrete floor in the “Great Room”

(this is not to say we could have done it without the help from dear friends and local trades people).

The “Great Room” Looking South

The “Great Room” Looking West

The “Great Room” Looking East into the Kitchen

We have hosted great friends,

Celebrated magical gardens,

Plucked through many Harp Guitar Retreats,

and experienced joy and laughter here.

This is where some of the greatest moments of my life happened, for which I am most grateful. It is now time to move on to new adventures.

As you see, we are not just selling a house, but a place of great inspiration.

If you would like to see more vividly the work of art that we have called home these past twenty years, click to take a VIDEO TOUR, 3D HOUSE TOUR, or to explore the HOUSE LISTING.

Let us know if you, or someone you know, might want to be the next owner/caretaker of this visionary place that seems a world apart.  Perhaps it will be a place that will inspire your next adventure.

Wishing you all the best,

John and Deirdra

Remembering My Venice High School Motto “Rowing, Not Drifting” (one or the other will have an oar in the water)

Harp Cliff Cottage Overlooking the Willamette Valley

“Celtic Pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s World” Houston, Texas and Farewell NW Performances

Hello Friends:

I am touring my “Celtic Pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s World” concert this coming March and hope that some of you will be able to join me in the Northwest and in Texas (see dates and locations below).



Reasons to turn out to experience Celtic Pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s World“:

  • AWARD WINNING MUSIC (“Eire – Isle of the Saints”Winner of “Best Celtic Album of the Year” and “Wayfarer – Ancient Paths to Sacred Places” nominated for the same title)
  • MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION by photographer Dennis Wiancko visually takes you on location to the very sites where the music was composed
  • STORYTELLING in the old Bardic Tradition illuminates the Celtic belief in “Thin Places” where the Irish believe that the distance between Heaven and earth and the difference between the past, present and future is “thin.”
  • ARM CHAIR TRAVEL ADVENTURE at a fraction of the cost of actual travel. 😉
  • FAREWELL NORTHWEST PERFORMANCE as John will soon be moving out of the area.

I hope to see you there.

John Doan









Friday, March 8, 2019, 7:00pm,Unity of Portland Church4525 SE Stark Street, Portland, Oregon 97215. Admission by a suggested donation of $15-$20 at the door. For more information, call 503-234-7441. www.unityofportland.org

Saturday, March 9, 2019, 7pm, Trinity Lutheran Church, 320 SE Fir Villa Rd.,    Dallas, Oregon 97338. Admission is by suggested donation of $12.00 for adults and $10 for Seniors and Children. For more information, call 503-623-2233. www.dallastlc.org

Sunday, March 10, 2019, 3:00pm, PAC (Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center), 588 16th St, Astoria, Oregon 97103. Admission is by suggested donation of $12-15 for adults and $10 for Seniors. Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 503-338-2306. supportthepac.org

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7:00pm, Cullen Hall – University of St Thomas,4001 Mt. Vernon Street, Houston, Texas 77006. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 Seniors (65+), UST faculty, staff and students are free. This event is sponsored by the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies. For more information go to Center for Irish Studies/Events


” …his playing is an exquisite union of the ancient and the contemporary, the austere and the sensual.” The Washington Post

“John’s performances and imaginative compositions on Eire: Isle of the Saints stands today as one of the most creative, significant and polished works of the entire genre of the progressive Celtic scene.”  Stephen Hill – Music of Hearts of Space (NPR)

“John’s music is like magic. No special effects or illusion, real hands on real magic. Where all of this music is coming from seems like a mystical experience.” Mason Williams (Classical Gas)

“The powerful combination of the visual images, storytelling, and music was experienced as both traditional and new: reminiscent of the ancient tradition mixed with innovative use of media. You took us to another time and place and back again.  Extraordinary!” Marylhurst University

Farewell “Christmas Unplugged” Northwest Tour 2018

Hello Friends:

The Holiday Season is approaching and I will soon be performing my Farewell “Christmas Unplugged” Northwest Tour. This Emmy-Nominated concert will continue in the southwest where I am moving closer to family, so if you have missed this show, or always wanted to turn out for an evening of Holiday fun, song and story, this 32nd annual season may be the one not to miss.




“John Doan reminds us, in a way that is funny, musical, and touching, how we might find something we’ve lost from our homes and hearts.” Focus Magazine



What started out as “A Victorian Christmas with John Doan” over the years turned into “Christmas Unplugged – Reclaiming the Holiday Spirit” to reflect how our hurried lives are often caught up in a virtual reality.  One wonders if we will ever find our way back to a time when we again rely on one another to pass the time?

Well, don’t think too hard on it, just come on out to re-experience what that may have been like as we once again enjoy an evening of singalongs, century old instruments, a parlor stage, and hundreds of Holiday archival photos.

See below for the locations of the Farewell Christmas Unplugged Northwest Tour. 

If you can’t make it out to a concert and are looking for some stocking stuffers you may want to order from my website the now classic recording “Wrapped in White – Visions of Christmas Past”

“Editor’s Choice: John Doan’s “Wrapped in White” breathes new life into old carols and evokes the nostalgic, mystical side of Christmas.”  Billboard Magazine


John Doan in concert with his popular Victorian Christmas Show playing electric guitar


Or perhaps you may want to order a DVD of the hilarious Emmy-Nominated performance “A Victorian Christmas with John Doan”.   




It includes an earlier video also seen on PBS titled “A Christmas to Remember with John Doan”.



My wife Deirdra has also written, and wonderfully illustrated, a Holiday children’s book “Niki Nisse and the Christmas Star – A Nordic Tale of Santa”.







The supply of these are very limited so order early.

Have a happy and meaningful Holiday Season.



SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018 AT 7:00PM – PRESENTED BY: Trinity Lutheran Church, located at: 320 SE Fir Villa Rd., Dallas, Oregon 97338. Tickets at the door suggest donation: $12 for adults and $10 for Seniors and Children. For more information call 503-623-2233.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2018 AT 7:00PM – PRESENTED BY: Willamette University Music Department, Hudson Hall on the campus of Willamette University, located at: 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301, Advanced Tickets: $15.00 adults, $10.00 students and seniors. Tickets at the door: $18.00. Free Tickets: Willamette University students, faculty, and staff are available up to one week prior to the event (tickets are limited). Tickets Available at: Willamette University Music Department or at the door. For more information and for phone reservations call (503) 370-6255.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018 AT 7:00PM – PRESENTED BY: Lewis & Clark Bible Church, located at: 35082 Seppa Rd, Astoria, OR 97103. Tickets at the door suggest donation: $12-15 for adults and $10 for Seniors and Children. For more information call 503-325-7011

“Call him Mr. Christmas” – Statesman Journal

“John Doan breathes new life into musty tunes with his pristine, intricate picking, which is laced with the delicacy of a snowflake … that evokes the nostalgic, mystical side of Christmas and leaves the shopping mall sentimentality behind.”  Billboard Magazine

“John returns audiences to a time when we use to dream before movies did that for us.” Mason Williams

“John’s music is simply beautiful. No, it is more than that, it is heavenly!” Burl Ives

Highlights of Harp Guitar European Tour Summer 2018 Part 1: France

Fall is upon us and I feel like I have been running since May only recently catching my breath.  In that time I was on a six week concert tour in Europe, have hosted the 11th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat, performed on several occasions and started teaching again this September. I will be reflecting on some of these adventures in a variety of brief upcoming posts.

May started out with finishing my 40th year of teaching at Willamette University. I really love working with all the amazing young people I get the opportunity to teach and know.  From year to year my students seem to never age!  They are always 18 to 22 years young.  It feels like I am the one who continues to pass through time a year older.



At the end of this semester I was awarded “Professor of the Year” by Rosalind Fraser during Willamette University’s All Greek Awards 2018 night.





Within the week I shifted to my other persona as a performer and was in Bordeaux France for an International Harp Guitar Festival along with some of the instrument’s finest players.


You may want to familiarize yourself with the work of James Kline, Jason Carter, Jan Vanek and Yaouen.  It was so fun and inspiring to be among them for two days of concerts (Jason was unable to attend).

The event was billed as featuring the harp guitar but while in France one also celebrates fine food, and there was a lot of it.  The point of it all was to build relationships among old and new friends, and make some soulful music.



Some of the food was presented in unusual ways such as being  served by the chief carrying a plate of food on her head!



Each evening was magical and I was even given a gift during the concert of a fresh baguette.

There were several European harp guitar makers in attendance all bringing a sampling of their wares.

Each are accomplished makers (group photo left to right Joris Feuillâtre, Eric DarmagnacBenoît Meulle-Stef, Cédric Verglas, Sylvestre CharbinDavid Fenkhuber, Sean Woolley) with David Fenkhuber (Rohrbach-Berg, Austria) (Gard, France) and Sean Woolley (Gard, France) featured in right photos).

Benoît Meulle-Stef brought several amazing harp guitars from Belgium that not only spoke with great tone and volume but physically had a magnificent presence.

A favorite pastime was to take pictures in an attempt to remember how special it was to hang out with all these truly wonderful, talented, and interesting people.

The whole event was made possible by the vision and hard work of Annie Claire Marie Drouillard (seen on the left in the above photo) and her helpful volunteers. I was touched when she told me that she came to the harp guitar after discovering my recording Eire – Isle of the Saints.



Once the festival was over I took off with my wife Deirdra to explore another adventure a few hours drive north of Bordeaux toward Nantes to the small village of Chateau-Guibert.








Some old friends, Anne and Malgwyn Elmer, who are inspirational writers and speakers, offered to host a house concert in their home.







In France, a concert is not just about music.  It is about enjoying the moment face to face with friends around a table of food and bottles of wine.






Moving from the concert stage at the festival with its auditorium seating, stage lights, amplification, guitar cables, etc. to sitting in front of a fireplace with instrument in hand and friends and neighbors gathered about, we all relished in the intimacy of the moment.


Deirdra and I soon sped off to Roscoff Harbor to catch the ferry to Cornwall, England continuing our dream tour adventure of concerts and exploring life in foreign lands.



(to be continued in “Highlights of Harp Guitar European Tour Summer 2018 Part 1: England”).


11th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat turns into a Hair Raising Experience!

The 11th Harp Guitar Retreat and House Concert turned out to be one of the most fun and magical to date!

John Doan Look Alike Contest

One of the highlights of the event was the “John Doan Look Alike Contest.”

Everyone really tried their hardest but didn’t want to lose any hair over it.

John Coaches Angele

Angele Can’t Help But Improve on the Image





Bruce Doan

Lavinia Doan

Aleksey Doan

Nick Doan

John Coaches Steve

Steve Doan

Tasha Doan

Deirdra Doan




















The contest ended in a draw (we were laughing so much that we forgot to take a vote).



The event started with a sunset-lite evening get together catching up with old friends and making new ones.



Steve Bissell had been away on business in Kazakhstan and didn’t even have time to take off his Kalpak when he arrived. He brought with him a dombra hoping to add a few strings to convert it into a “Doanbra” for the Harp Guitar Retreat.




Everyone got along so well that they wanted to be roommates for the weekend but later thought better of it.



Nick shows off his Sandpiper Harp Guitar

Aleksey shows Nick and Tasha some crwths he made. They discuss for hours how to properly pronounce the name of the instrument.


The evening turned into an amazing jam session. Tasha thinks that she should maybe take up the harp guitar since everyone else is having so much fun.





On down times the retreat turned into an ongoing “Show and Tell.”















After morning class and the daytime private lessons …



Nick Opens the Show.





Saturday night turned into a potluck/house concert open to the community.




Bruce shares his new Emerald Harp Guitar with the audience before he blows them away with his singing.



Lavinia performs with her harp guitar backup group
















During our last class I shared a story about catching Julian Bream (my favorite classical guitarist) back stage after a concert.  I asked him if he could tell me in one sentence what I needed to know to play like him.  He turned to me with his hand half cupped over his mouth, and under his breath said, “Don’t tell your teacher, but just have fun!”







And that is just what we did!

11th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat Reviews

“Fabulous retreat! I learn something new each time.  It was worth travelling from the other side of the world to the retreat. Thanks for making learning so fun!” Steve Bissell

“The Harp Guitar Retreat is not only a fantastic immersion into the art of playing the harp guitar but also into the fascinating world of guitar history in general.  I have been to several and still learn new things every time.” Nick Vest

“As usual the harp guitar retreat was just a whole lot of fun.  There is probably no more beautiful setting in the world than the top of Doan Volcano, nor any more peace that can be found gazing out through the leaves from the balconies surrounding the Doan casa. John and Deirdra really know how to make us feel welcome and enfolded in the warmth of their love.

The lessons were informative and useful, the house concert was delightful, the open air meals were refreshing, the time spent hanging out with each other and trading the knowledge we each brought to the gathering were all precious. If the retreat lacked anything, it was time to sleep; we were all too enthused to want to call it quits in the evenings because we might miss something! I’m looking forward eagerly to the next Harp Guitar Retreat.” Angele Blanton

“The retreat was very inspiring, and I enjoyed learning from everyone.  We are all unique individuals, seeing and experiencing music from different directions, which adds to the gestalt of the retreat experience.  I came away with something from everyone.

I would not change a thing about the retreat. The format is good, and you make this kind of music accessible, breaking the subject down in such a way that even people at different levels in the same class can take away what is useful to them, and will move them forward.  Your skill as an instructor and patience with everyone is outstanding, and rather refreshing.  I liked the choices of material and particularly liked the breaking down and demonstrating how the melody, bass and super trebles work in concert. Lavinia Ross

“What a wonderful time I had at the 11th Harp Guitar Retreat. It was evident to me the amount of love and effort John and Deirdra put in to this event. I think the others would agree, that they made each of us feel so valued.

We had individual tutoring from John each day, with the goal of helping each of us excel in our own musical journey. We were like sponges soaking in all the musical knowledge about how to play, not only the Harp Guitar, but the essence of music as a whole language.

One thing that really stood out to me was John’s description of musical tones in relationship to human feeling. It’s so evident in John’s compositions.!!! John truly is a Master of touching the human spirit through his music. I long to do the same!!!

I loved spending time with all my new friends, listening to them play their music! What a rare privilege to have spent time with John and Deirdra at their home. I came away very encouraged. I will remember it all of my days.” Bruce Labadie

House Concert Review

“We loved the whole evening. A very special memory.” Neil

“It was pure magic!” Miriam

“What a pleasure. Thank you for one of the most memorable and magical evenings of music in my lifetime. The stories you tell are part of the magic as well.  I am not sure how so much talent ended up in you John.”  James







11th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat June 28th – July 1st 2018 in Salem, Oregon

John Doan’s Eleventh Annual Harp Guitar Retreat is set for June 28th to July 1st 2018 in Salem, Oregon at the home of John and Deirdra Doan.  You are invited to join us. (see below for a daily itinerary, Saturday concert, testimonials, photos, fees, and registration information). Players wanting to learn more about the harp guitar have come from across the United States and as far away as from Europe, and Malaysia.

Harp Guitar Retreat Class with John Doan

The Tenth Annual Harp Guitar Retreat was a huge success with classes, private lessons, Harp Guitar Gallery, Music Nights, Concerts, and plenty of time hanging out talking about life and, what else, harp guitars!  We begin each day with a three hour group class where we are hands on the instrument exploring harp guitar playing techniques, music ideas, and even ensemble playing.


We always have a great line up of harp guitars of all sizes and makes, all for you to test drive at your leisure.







We even had the whole class play at a local World Beat Festival.  It was a hoot combining harp guitars with Chinese drum, an electric shovel guitar, and a real operatic soprano!






One of the nights we go down to the little nearby town of Independence, bring some harp guitars, and try out some local brews while sitting around a fire pit.




Other nights we hang out after dinner and play for each other.  This is a great informal way to share music, technical insights, and to get a chance to play in a stress free and supportive environment.


The instruments are very interesting that are either on site or brought by various players.  Here is Steve Bissell with the earliest known harp guitar made by the famous Larson Brothers around 1901.  It was completely restored by Kerry Char of Portland, Oregon and not only looks spectacular but it sounds with surprising clarity and forceful dynamics! Everyone in the class gets to hold and play some of the most amazing harp guitars on the planet!


Nick and Tasha Vest come up from Los Angeles and have performed not only throughout the event and into the evenings, but also have opened the Harp Guitar Retreat house concerts held on the deck or out under the trees on top of the Extinct Volcanic Plug where John and Deirdra host the retreats.




Jerry Voorhees came with a nice Dyer Style 4 harp guitar.  He played some really fine originals at the House Concert event.





Melissa Ferrell-Young, who is quite an accomplished opera singer, came from Seattle to look into ways to accompany her voice with the harp guitar.  She added so much joy to the event.


4. Harp Guitar Retreat Class Exercise




Overall, the classes give you an opportunity to try out unique techniques to the harp guitar.  Many of these are taught without having to read from music so you can focus on your playing.


5. Harp Guitar Retreat with John Doan Class Break





Rigorous effort needs frequent breaks, especially for fresh baked pastries.




Lunches, dinners, evenings at a local outdoor pub, and times between lessons provide hang times to relax and have fun and on occasion visit with Lyra the little French Bull Dog.

It is fun to see the friendships that develop at the harp guitar retreats.  

16. John Doan's Harp Guitar Retreat GoodbyesOne of our classes we even videoed an ensemble tune “Harp Guitar Sunset” that we debuted at the outdoor concert.

17. John Doan's Harp Guitar Retreat Final Class

Some Testimonials About the Harp Guitar Retreat


“Tasha and I had a great time at the retreat this year.  I had a major breakthrough on my super treble understanding.”

Nick Vest


“I was so thankful to be able to be part of such a fun, memorable and fascinating gathering of musicians, and to go home with some exciting ideas from your excellent lessons to apply to my own music making.”

Steve Bissell


“Thank you for the wonderful weekend and for the knowledge you have given me! I am hoping to return next year. I made some great friends and had so much fun.”
Melissa Young


“It was another magical weekend, and they just get better and better.

The retreat location in the canopy of trees above the extinct volcano is beautiful, and the view over the valley out the living room window is amazing. The rooms filled with instruments all waiting to be played and enjoyed was a real banquet for the hands and hearts and ears.

Our lessons were packed with information we could actually retain and use in our musical journeys. You are a true teacher in that you are able to find out what each person needs and then tailor the lessons to fit. Having the group learn and perform a brand new piece you composed just for the occasion was a real treat, and the start of a new tradition. The students melded together into a cohesive, mutually supportive group that enjoyed each other and had fun together.”

Angele Blanton


“What a privilege to have met and spent time, all too short a time with you. I can only hope it can be repeated. A truly unforgettable experience. Thank you for your company.

Unforgettable – unmissable – if you get the opportunity to attend a retreat with John at Prospect Ridge grab it firmly with both hands not forgetting to hold onto your harp guitar with your third hand, believe me you’ll need it.

On a slightly more serious note ………………

John’s ability to demystify the Harp Guitar with its myriad complexities, assess your rung on the Harp Guitar ladder and suggest the next step was breathtaking. I arrived  at Prospect Ridge somewhat concerned about the instrument I’d hauled across the Atlantic and left four days later convinced that I’d made the right decision.

A Thesaurus of superlatives would be inadequate to describe the experience.

The only regret – not going on the previous retreat!

So huge thanks to John & Deirdra – and the other attendees – Gerry, Steve, Angele and Melissa for an unforgettable and memorable few days.”

Robin Launder


“A splendid time was had! The local beer was great and the harp guitar playing was amazing!”

Gerald Camp the Third

Included with registration: All lodging and meals are on site and included with registration. Printed materials are provided for each student with a series of exercises and compositions to take home after the retreat.

Instruments available on site: There will be several harp guitars on site for your use if you do not have one of your own to bring to the seminar. You definitely will want to check out the latest model of Travel Harp Guitars from Lukas Brunner of Switzerland.

Incidental Activities: There is plenty of hiking trails, tax free shopping, local wine tasting, on site hot tub, trampoline, and wireless internet. The site is central and about one hour away from the Oregon Coast, the high desert of Bend, and the cities of Portland and Eugene. In between classes and private lessons there will be time to just relax, practice, read, explore the area, or casually visit with other harp guitarists.

Space is limited: Retreats are limited from five to seven participants and their guests. Spouses, friends, or family attend at a reduced rate. If needed an additional weekend retreat will be scheduled to accommodate more participants.

Participants Fee: $700

Included four nights stay, three group sessions, three private lessons, meals, evening presentations, and various incidentals.

Additional guests Fee: $250

Includes four nights stay, meals, evening presentations, and various incidentals.

To enroll or for more information call or write, please use our contact form. Or call 503-364-4787 or write to us at harpguitar(at)gmail.com or PO Box 5081, Salem, OR 97304.