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of Great Britain and Ireland

In 1984 a small group of lyre players from England met at Elmfield School in Stourbridge for a weekend of lyre playing and discussion about the lyre. They decided to meet again after a year.

In 1985 a larger group met in William Morris House in Gloucestershire and decided to form an interested group of players who would like to meet regularly, to play together and extend the work with the lyre in schools, communities and related activities. Following the meeting in 1986, again in William Morris House, the first newsletter "The Lyre" was produced and circulated to many people and organisations where the lyre would be known.

At the meeting the following year, it was agreed to form an informal Association of Lyre Players with the name : "Arion" - taken from Greek Mythology. Regular Newsletters would be circulated, and membership of the Association would be by annual subscription. Members would receive two Newsletters a year, with articles of interest and music written by members. Published Lyre Music would be advertised.



The Greek myth tells us that Arion was a much admired composer and performer on the lyre who, while under the patronage of King Periander of Corinth, asked permission to attend a festive contest for musicians in Sicily across the sea. "Stay here," urged King Periander, "for those who strive for fame often come to disaster." "If I win," answered Arion, "it will be to your Kingdom that fame will come." At last he was allowed to go and, needless to say, he won the contest and set out on a ship bound for home with a reward of gold and silver. Arion rejoiced in the calm sea and warm sun and looked forward to the welcome he would receive at home. But one day the sailors gathered round him and said: "Arion, you are about to die, for we shall kill you and take your gold and silver." Arion pleaded: "Spare my life and all the music I have yet to offer - take the bags of treasure, I will give them to you gladly." But the sailors would not listen for they knew they would never be safe if Arion was alive to tell of what had happened.

"Very well," he said sadly, "I shall die as I have lived - give me leave to make ready and to tune the strings of my lyre in a manner suitable to one about to address the Gods." So wearing his festive robes, with the laurel wreath on his head, he took his lyre and tuned each string for the last time. Then he started to play, to compose and sing out his gratitude for life, his praise of the Gods and his hope of eternal life. Then he stood, up and gazed into the blue waters "Come with me, O lyre of my heart," he said. "We shall not be parted in death; together we shall not fear to cross the dark river of death to arrive where all music is created." He raised his lyre into the air and sprang into the deep water; but he did not sink below the waves for while he had been playing many dolphins had gathered round the boat and Arion, sitting on the back of one of them, was carried safely to shore. There he gave thanks for his deliverance and journeyed on to Corinth.

King Periander greeted him with joy but was astonished to hear what had happened to him on the journey home. When the ship came at last to shore, the sailors were brought before the king beside whom stood Arion - exactly as they had seen him on the boat with his robes, his laurel wreath and his lyre. They were amazed and fell at his feet as though he were a God. "Restore what you took from your passenger who trusted you," said Peiander sternly, "and go forth from this land to find another in which you may be received and repent."

"Fame is good," said Periander to Arion, "but may bring disaster - better it is to do each day what asks to be done".


Since 1987 the Arion Association of Lyre Players in Great Britain and Ireland has met annually, usually in late February, at various locations in both countries. As many of the members of the association live and work in Camphill communities the yearly meetings, or Lyre Workshops, have been hosted by Camphill centres (see ) .The emphasis of the meetings has always been on "taking the opportunity to play together", although other activities, such as eurythmy, singing and bell-ringing have taken place. Sometimes a special guest has been invited to work with the lyre players. The Lyre Workshops are open to all; beginners are always welcome and the planning group takes care to cater for their needs. In addition, since 1997 ,a smaller meeting has taken place in the autumn, focussed on music therapy. All details are given in the Newsletter. The Arion Association of Lyre Players Newsletter has appeared twice yearly, in Spring and Autumn, since the first issue in Spring 1987 and includes lyre music, articles, news and information shared by the members and contributed from far and wide.

To contribute to the Newsletter please write to:

For membership enquiries please contact :

Peggy Grimshaw, Marsh Villa, 5 Passage Rd., Saul, GL2 7LB, G.B.

e mail:





updated 20.10.2008