has been four years since the article from the newspaper was
printed and we have kept busy since then with many harp programs
and producing more harp recordings. Alex still teaches school
time and builds harps the rest of the time going full time during
the summer months. Since the time of this article, Alex has developed
his own line of Italian harps, and a new line of more affordable
harps. A ten-string Davidic harp was also added to the variety
of harps that are now available. A new book was just released
by Alex titled: “Morning Meditations” and is a real
inspiration to Christian musicians.
Dena & Joanna are still at home busy teaching private music lessons and
have enjoyed taking their harps on mission trips in the last few years (Belize,
Grenada, & Haiti). They just completed their eighth recording this fall
titled “This is the Day” and have lots more plans in mind for future
CD’s. Joanna’s tendonitis in both hands (which started at the end
of 2005), together with a house fire in February 2006 (which forced us to move
out of our house for six months), slowed us down for most of 2006. Joanna’s
condition improved, so we started our family harp programs again in December
other children have grown in their music skills, and enjoy participating
in family programs. We have combined a number of instruments with the
harps to make for an enjoyable program. Sue continues to home school
the four youngest
children and enjoys being secretary for the harp business and program
manager for the family.
The Marini Family—December, 2006
Anthony (16), Emily (12), Joanna (21), Sue & Alex, Paul
(14), Dena (23), Mark (10)
Only a year has passed since the last update, but our family
life is very different these days..... mainly due to a double wedding.
Dena started a courtship with Nathan Hochstetler from Tennessee
in January of 2007 and Joanna started a courtship with Stephen
Dindinger from Colorado in April of 2007. By July both couples
were ready to take the big step and decided to get married the
same day. So on Saturday, September 15, 2007, the girls were married
in the Chapel at Garden Spot Village (which was a nice facility
close to our home). After the wedding Dena and Nathan spent a week
in Virginia and then headed west for three weeks.... they are now
living in the New Holland, PA, area.
and Stephen spent the first two weeks on Union Island in the
Caribbean and then came to PA for a week to pack up her things
and then headed for Colorado where they are now living.
started up our family programs this month—losing one musician
(Joanna) and gaining another member of the group (Nathan). Dena
was able to reorganize
our programs, and we have been busy ever since early December. We have also
scheduled some time at the studio in mid-January so that when Joanna and
Stephen come for a visit we can finish a “family CD” which
we had started before the wedding. We hope to do some of our
family’s favorites and
polish it up before the spring conventions.
(17) is looking forward to graduating this spring, so that
he can pursue other interests... like visiting his sister Joanna
and working at a cattle
ranch in Colorado, and perhaps making another trip to Tennessee. He continues
to work part time farming, driving tractor and looks forward to fall harvest
time. He enjoys playing the guitar in our programs and also plays the cello.
(15) is quite skillful in many different areas, like music,
painting, and juggling. He sings and plays a number of instruments
in the programs like
hammered dulcimer, flute, piccolo, pennywhistle, mandolin and guitar. He’s
a sophomore in high school and looks forward to completing high school as well.
(13) is in eighth grade and has developed her skills in harp
playing and has been hired this year to play for special events.
Besides harp, she
helps in our programs with singing now (since Joanna is gone) and plays the
(11) has also progressed in his skills as a musician and enjoys
entertaining people. He also plays harp in our programs, as
well as the mandolin
and pennywhistle. He is in sixth grade and does well in his schoolwork,
but would rather be reading a good book on a cozy chair.
continues enjoying her responsibilities as homemaker, home
school mom, and secretary to the harp business. There were
some adjustments to be made
after the older girls were married, but life has returned to a normal routine
still teaches at a Mennonite high school half time, and enjoys
harp making in his free time.... trying to develop new styles
of harps and does some writing
any chance he gets. He also started learning the harp himself—after making
harps for over ten years, he thought he’d try learning to play them.
You’ll often find him quietly playing a tune in the late evening after
the children have gone to bed. A sweet way to end the day!
year has swiftly passed by and we find more changes have come
upon us... we are now grandparents! We are happy to announce
that our second daughter, Joanna, and her husband Stephen had their
first baby (Nicolas Stephen) on Wednesday, October 22nd weighing
6 lbs and 15 oz. Grandma and Aunt Emily arrived in Grand Junction,
CO, the night before Nicolas was born and were glad to be a part
of the welcoming committee.
Born: October 22, 2008 -- 6 pounds, 15 oz.
Stephen & baby Nicolas
are also happy to announce that our oldest daughter, Dena, and
husband, Nathan, are
their first baby (a boy!)
the end of February. They just live 15 minutes from us and have
continued to help us in our music ministry. We averaged about 4
to 5 programs a month this past year—but this month alone we
had 12 programs; which kept us “harping” around a lot.
We’re not sure what our music ministry will be like in 2009,
but we plan to continue with whoever is available. Paul and Emily
are really progressing in their music abilities and have recently
been hired to play at weddings and special events as a harp & flute
duet, so there is a lot of potential with them. Mark is also progressing
in his music abilities and people who have come to our programs
through the years have noticed a big change in his skill level
(18) is at the end of his high school studies, and looks forward
to working some for his brother-in-law, Nathan, in construction
and also making
harps with his father at the shop. He also has done some farming this past
fall, but his most recent adventure was herding cattle in the mountains of
Colorado the old fashioned way on horseback. He just loved the wide open
and the beauty of the mountains. We really appreciate Anthony’s contribution
to our harp programs... he plays cello and guitar which adds a special touch
to the songs.
(16) just got his driving permit and is looking forward to working
this summer for his brother-in-law, Nathan, in construction and
from his high school program here at home in the summer of 2010. He juggles
many instruments in our programs.... you’ll see him go from the hammered
dulcimer to the mandolin, to a penny whistle, guitar, flute... and then sing.
He really enjoys recording music on his computer and putting together home
(14) is now a 9th grader and has really put her heart into her
music lately. She continues with harp, but also plays flute,
penny whistle, bowed
psaltery, and sings with Dena in the programs.
(12) is usually the champion at ping pong here at home, as well
as many other games. He impresses people at the programs with his ability
not only the harp, but the mandolin, penny whistle, and the bowed psaltery.
is an active guy, and flies through his 8th grade school work, so he
go outside or play a game.
took on a full time teaching schedule this fall which has been
a challenge as harp orders have increased. Recently his ten-string
popular with those using harps for ministry to hospitals, and orders
came in for his Roma Rosa harp as well. So this year he has been stretched
but seems to be on top of it. He looks forward to taking the seniors
from his school on another trip to the island of Grenada this spring,
the responsibility of organizing the whole event. Sue continues as
usual at home giving her energies to home schooling, home making,
and the home
She enjoyed her first trip out west to Colorado to meet her first grandchild,
and to spend time with Joanna and Stephen. We are truly grateful to
the Lord for good health and strength to continue in the work
that God has
us.... until He comes.
From left: Anthony, Emily, Alex, Mark, Sue, and Paul
On Sunday, March 1, 2009, at 4:59 p.m. Craig
Alexander was born to Nathan & Dena Hochstetler. Dena was
hoping to have a home birth, but needed to be transferred to
the Reading Hospital, and
after 41 hours of labor had the baby C-section. Craig weighed in
at 8 pounds and 12 ounces and was 21 inches long. Both mommy and
baby are doing fine.
Alexander (1 month old)
At the end of May, we enjoyed a family reunion when
Joanna, Stephen, and baby Nicolas came from Colorado for a two-week
visit to PA. We took four of those days while they were here, and
all of us (including Dena, Nate, and baby Craig) piled into our
large 15-passenger van and headed to the Marini reunion in Massachusetts
where Great Grandpa Marini got to hold his two new great-grandsons
for the first time. It was a special occasion to be at the home
where Alex grew up in East Bridgewater and to meet with all the
relatives again. While in MA, we enjoyed the ocean and toured Plymouth
Plantation and went aboard the Mayflower II before returning back
to PA. It was a blessing to be all together again and watch the
two cousins interact with each other.
(with Craig), and Joanna (with Nicolas)
June 5, 2009
Craig (3 months) with cousin Nicolas
June 7, 2009
Marini Family (left), Dindinger Family (center), and Hochstetler
Photo taken: Sunday, June 7, 2009
month of December is always a busy one for our family with all
the music programs that we do, although this year we did not
do as many as other years
(only 8 events compared to 15 some years). Many of them are company dinners,
and we still have a couple more programs next week to wrap up our Christmas
season. Then we will be putting our focus on the next event…. we’ve
been asked to provide music for the “We Care Prison Ministry” in
Alabama during the last week of January which will be something new for us.
continues to make harps in between teaching classes at Faith
High School, and this year he was asked to take on the administrative
position as principal.
So far it has been going well and God has given him the extra grace and wisdom
needed for that job. He’s working on a new harp design this month that
already seems to show potential (a 38-string Regency style with a Roma Rosa sound
chamber) and has a number of customers waiting for it. His waiting list for harps
keeps growing… which keeps him and the boys on their toes.
Anthony graduated high school, he has been busy with farming,
and helping his brother-in-law, Nate, with roofing in between
his trips to Tennessee
and Colorado. The other children continue on with their home schooling,
will be graduating this coming spring…. which will leave us with two students
for next year. When Paul’s not doing school work, you’ll find him
at his computer editing photos or creating a new advertisement for someone. He
has great interests in photography lately, and enjoys going with a couple friends
on “photo shoots.” You can see some of his creativity on face book.
He continues to enjoy music and developing his skills on the guitar, flute & dulcimer.
Both Anthony & Paul have been active with our church youth in helping with “Clubs” on
Wednesdays twice a month, which is an outreach to city children in a local town,
and they also go weekly to the city of Reading with another group on Thursdays
to help with a youth outreach to city teens.
has enjoyed the opportunities she’s had to volunteer at a local private
elementary school where she assists a second grade teacher once a week, and she
also has been giving private harp lessons in the home here. She amazes us with
her harp & flute skills….after Dena & Joanna got married, she rose
to the challenge and filled the needed position. She recently bought herself
a piano, and you’ll find her often playing it. Mark has been creative at
making his own flies for fishing… now he just has to find a market for
them. Mark goes with his other two brothers to the shop on occasion to help his
father build harps…. but he’d rather be fishing! He continues to
develop his harp playing, and many people who have seen us through the years
marvel at his abilities. He has also picked up guitar and enjoys playing some
new tunes with his brothers. All the children (including Dena & Joanna) have
been working on a new family CD for some time now… and we hope to get it
keeps busy behind the scenes juggling her many roles as home
maker and secretary to the harp business. It’s a challenge sometimes to teach school, invite
customers into the living room to try out harps, and keep the laundry going and
meals on the table – but it’s a fulfilling job that I wouldn’t
trade for anything. This year I have found great joy in being a grandma and look
forward to watching my little grandsons grow. I am inspired as I read in the
Bible of Timothy’s grandmother, who transferred her faith to her grandson
who lived a life that honored God.
we look to the beginning of a new year, we wonder what this coming
year will bring…. happy times or sad times, financial gain or loss, health or sickness – all
we can do is trust in the God who is in control of it all and who gives us the
grace and strength to face whatever comes our way. One of my favorite verses
from the Bible is: “And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans
Hochstetler Family—December, 2009
Marini Family 2009
the last update, we’ve had lots of opportunities
as a family to minister with music. In January, we took a trip
(with Dena, Nate & baby Craig) in an RV to Alabama to participate
in the “We Care Prison Ministry” for a week. It was
a wonderful experience for the whole family.
provided a harp program in four different prisons… they
made for some of the best audiences we’ve ever played for
(very responsive and appreciative).
This spring we were back to the studio working on a family CD
which we hope to be finished by the end of this year.
This CD will be special, as it will have many of our family favorites
and will include all the children.
special event that took place this June was when our family took
a trip to Colorado (with Dena,
Nate & baby Craig) to see
our other daughter Joanna, her husband Stephen and baby Nicolas.
We had the privilege to do a harp program for Joanna’s church
in Grand Junction, CO, where all the children were together again
playing instruments and singing.
Presently this summer, Alex is busy catching up on harp orders
and the boys have been regularly coming to the shop to help. Alex
continues to make harps at the wood shop at the school where he
teaches, but we are looking into starting a new shop location in
the town of Blue Ball so that the boys can work full time on harps
this fall and winter. Pray for us.
December – 2010
the last update, we opened up a new Marini Made Harps shop in
the town of Blue Ball this August.
We’re renting a small
area in back of the Blue Ball Machine Company. It was a big project
installing new equipment, and moving harp stuff from the school
where Alex was building harps to this new location. It took a number
of weeks till we were operational, but now it has really made a
difference in productivity… we are moving quicker through
our customer list and the boys can come whenever they want to work
has recently been experimenting with a new “Ultra-Light” harp
which is 34-strings and only weighs about 14 pounds (see above
picture to the right). Hopefully if it passes the test of strength
it will be a popular one at
the conventions. We
still provide harp programs throughout the year for a variety
of events. Dena, and her husband, Nate,
continue to help with the
programs; and baby Craig usually steals the show with his cute
smiles during one of the songs where Emily holds him to play the
hand chimes. As the family grows, and the older children find other
interests, it is uncertain as to how long we will continue these
programs… but we are thankful that we have been together
this long. Paul and Emily are now playing duets for special events,
and enjoy this type of work. Emily is in her junior year, and looks
forward to graduating next year. Mark just started high school,
so he has a ways to go yet.
enjoy watching our grandchildren grow, and Grandma is looking
forward to her trip to Colorado in June
to welcome Stephen and
Joanna’s second child. God
has been good to us, and we continue to look to Him for direction
in the coming months ahead. Pray for us.
Dena & Craig Hochstetler
Joanna & Nicolas Dindinger
Summer – August
Some highlights in 2011 so far include… a family reunion
in early March. Joanna, Stephen & Nicolas came from Colorado
for a week, and we enjoyed having everyone together. After many
months of illness, “GG” (Great Grandma), especially
enjoyed her St. Patrick’s Day with the grandchildren and “great” grandchildren!
Alex, Sue, Paul, Nate & Dena with Craig
Anthony, Joanna & Stephen with Nicolas
In front… “GG” (Sue’s mother),
Emily and Mark
Craig (left) with cousin Nicolas
We had our second Christian Harpfest event held on March 18th
with special speakers: Eduard Klassen from Canada, and Joanna (Marini)
Dindinger from Colorado. We had a number of harpists join us for
the day, and then we gave a concert together to a FULL house at
Weaverland Mennonite Church in East Earl, PA.
speaking to a group of harpists
at our Christian Harp Fest
Klassen joins the Harp Workshop
for a concert at the Weaverland Menn.Church
June 6th, Joanna & Stephen gave us another grandson named
Genesis Philip who we all call “Geno.” Grandma was
able to fly out on July 4th to meet the new grandchild and to help
out for a week.
with baby Geno
Joanna, Nicolas & baby Geno
We’ve been working on the family CD, and all the recording
is finished… now the cover design, copyrights, and final
editing need to be completed. We are sure looking forward to finishing
this project (which started before the girls got married over 4
years ago!). We will let you know (with a new update) when this
recording is available.
Alex and the boys continue to produce quality
harps at our new shop. He enjoys creating new designs, and lately
developing a new minstrel harp which just sits on your lap comfortably,
without needing a stool. Sue just started learning harp using the
Bass Minstrel with the new stand, and Alex also enjoys relaxing
in his recliner chair playing hymns on his new “Lap Minstrel” harp.
working on a Roma Rosa Harp
looks sunburned after working with Padauk wood
like a new season of life is upon us with young adults involved
in a variety of ministries, and
grandchildren visiting often… so
we continue to look to the Lord to guide our family’s future.
Update – December
Alex keeps busy teaching school in the mornings and then going
to the harp shop afternoons. He continues to create new harps
that just dazzle the industry! Check
out his new “LAP” harp displayed on the harp page! We have enough
harp orders to keep Alex & all the boys busy at the shop.
is a busy mom staying after two active boys these days and we
are also anticipating another grandchild….
Dena’s little girl this February—pink for a change!
(21) has many different skills… and worked at farming this summer
part time, and remodeling this fall with his brother-in-law, Nate, part time;
and this winter he’s helping make harps at the shop. For adventure, he
loves going white-water rafting out west. He also enjoys playing tennis with
his brothers and volleyball with friends.
(19) has been working at the shop making harps, but most of his
focus has gone into theater this year. He’s been in two different Christian shows
(one in August and another this December). He loves singing, acting, and performing
with a variety of instruments. He’s also very involved in a variety of
children’s ministries and camps. Tennis has also become popular with him
and his brothers, so they try to fit that in.
(17) is a senior this year, and also got her permit. She’s looking
forward to completing the hours required so she can get her license soon. She’s
involved in Christian theater also, and is involved with a variety of ministries
to city children.
(15) is growing taller and taller each month! Mark’s got 2-1/2 more
years of schooling before he graduates… but he has lots of
interests to keep him going—tennis, fishing, volleyball and ping
pong (just to name a few!).
He also helps with making harps at the shop in the afternoons sometimes.
Sue’s life is filled with lots of activities… and you’ll find
her schooling Mark & Emily in the mornings, secretarial stuff for our harp
business like showing harps in the living room to a customer…. or at the
computer answering customer questions…. then later she’s
in the kitchen making supper—never a dull moment!
Marini Family—December, 2011
We are “still” working on the family CD, and hope to have it released
soon after all the paperwork is done. This has been a VERY long project!
needless to say, our lives are VERY full, and VERY blessed!
Nate & Dena
Stephen & Joanna
with Nico & Geno
are happy to announce the birth of our granddaughter: Dosei RuthAnn
(pronounced: "Daw-say") who was born to Dena & Nate
on Tuesday, February 28th weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz. Her big brother,
Craig, turned 3 years old two days after her birth, and loves
to hold her and kiss her face. We are enjoying this little bundle
of "pink" and praise the Lord for a good delivery and
a healthy baby and mommy!
RuthAnn (4 days old)
continues to work on harps at our shop in Blue Ball full time
during the summer months. At the
end of August, he’ll go back to teaching part time
at Faith Mennonite High School and continuing at the harp shop. Anthony helps
out building harps in between farming and traveling, and Paul also helps
make harps in between working part time for a fencing company
and his ministry opportunities
for city children. Mark has worked at the shop making harps this summer,
but will be back to schooling at home the end of August.
cutting out a harp on the band saw.
in the finish room.
constructing the sound chamber of a
putting finish on a LAP harp.
early June we enjoyed a visit from Joanna & Stephen with
their boys Nico & Geno for two weeks. We took them, along with
Dena & Nate and their two children Craig & Dosei on a trip
to New England to visit family. We rented a cabin on a beautiful
lake and spent time with relatives.
view of the lake from our cabin in
Craig & Nico
holding the fish that Mark
at the cabin on the lake.
Emily (holding Dosei), Mark with Craig, Geno and Nico
all enjoyed our time at the ocean near
were glad that Joanna and family were here to help us celebrate
Emily’s graduation from high
school. We had a nice ceremony with PHAA at the Forum in Harrisburg
on June 16th and then later
that evening had a private ceremony and party at the Welsh Mt.
A family photo taken at Emily's graduation party
on June 16th.
From left: Paul, Mark, Nate & Dena (with Dosei & Craig), Emily, Sue & Alex
Joanna & Stephen with Geno & Nico, Anthony
continues to build harps morning and late afternoons between
his Health, Woodshop, and New Testament Survey classes at a local
Mennonite High School.
He is thankful that despite the declining economy, our harp
business is thriving. Here’s some pictures of Alex working at the
shop on a harp from start to finish…
cutting out a harp
stringing a harp
Sue continues to juggle her responsibilities of homemaking,
home schooling, caring for her elderly mom, and secretary to the
harp business... and she often has customers here to visit our
showroom (which is our livingroom!)...
Anthony (22) isn’t traveling, farming or rafting down
a river he’s usually making harps too. He was invited to
join a construction crew in Colorado the last couple months, so
he’s enjoyed spending time with his sister, Joanna. He’ll
be back home next month, but he hopes to return to the northeastern
part of Colorado this summer for the annual cattle drive. This
month he took a trip with some friends to CA to do white water
rafting. Here's a picture of Anthony in a special raft called "Creature
Craft" which can handle any type of water...
rafting the North Fork of the
Craft" can handle this
Class 5 river!
Paul (20) worked part time for a fencing company this past summer
and fall, along with making a few harps. He’s been very
busy with children’s ministries, and is helping with the
production of a play this month titled: “Jesus, a Walk
of Love” at a local theater. He’ll be joining Sight & Sound’s
Conservatory next month, which will consist of being a full-time
student attending classes, and being a part of their cast for
(18) has been involved in lots of children’s ministry
activities… such as Good News Clubs twice a week (which are
held at local public schools in the area), and “Tuesday Church” which
reaches out to city children in the evening once a week. She plays
harp for two local nursing homes once a month, and hopes to increase
that in the new year. She is looking forward to her trip in January
(with six others from our church) to Kenya, Africa.
(16) got his drivers’ permit, and gets behind the wheel
every chance he gets. This is his junior year of schooling, and
he is looking forward to graduating next year in the spring. When
he has extra time he’s usually fishing, or playing tennis… or
sometimes at the shop making harps. He also joins Paul & Emily
in the children ministries on Monday afternoons & Tuesday evenings.
This past year Mark took up a few culinary classes, so sometimes
we get treated to a special lunch or supper here in the “test
kitchen” at home!
There’s never a dull moment around home here… it’s
more like an airport, with youth taking off and landing throughout
the day. Trying to keep track of everyone’s schedule is a
real challenge sometimes! Life is full and overflowing!
married children are doing very well. Here are some recent pictures
Dena & Nathan
Dosei, 9 months + Craig 3 ½
Joanna & Stephen
Geno 1 ½ + Nico, 4
mom turned 80 years old on January 5th, and lived ten more days
till she passed away on Tuesday, January 15th. She had got the
flu a couple weeks before
which turned into bronchitis and it was really hard on her weak heart. She
was born in Rhode Island, married there, and will be buried there next to
her husband. She moved to PA eleven years ago to be near her
had lived next door to the Marini's. As you can see by her smile in the picture
below, her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her much joy through
the years, and we are glad that she was able to spend these years with them.
is back to school this week, with a lighter schedule than normal
(he’s only teaching a few woodshop classes this
year). He’ll be able to devote more time now to making
harps (he’s about six months behind).
many of the children were traveling this summer (Anthony, Emily & Mark
drove to CO to visit their sister Joanna for the summer), Sue
spent her time writing an
instruction manual for the
10-String Davidic Harp. It turned into a bigger project than anticipated,
but hopefully it will be helpful to the many customers who have
been waiting for a book like this. With it almost completed, we
hope to bring it to the printers in early September.
Anthony was offered a job in CO this summer, so now he is living
out West; and Emily decided to stay and help her sister Joanna
until she has her baby in October. Mark flew back to PA in mid-August
so he could join his parents on a trip to New England to visit
made two trips to Massachusetts to visit family this summer… one
in early June and another in mid-August. Alex’s dad (now
87) needs more attention, so he and his siblings are trying to
figure out ways to help. While in the New England states, we enjoyed
seeing the ocean again…
beach in Charlestown, RI
enjoying the beach sand
enjoying the rocks at the ocean
Paul started in January
at Sight & Sound’s Conservatory,
so he has a busy schedule this year… he has classes in the
morning, and then he’s performing in the shows in the afternoon & evenings
(with only Sundays & Mondays off). He loves what he is doing,
and hopes to continue working there next year after school is finished
in December—he just auditioned for their production of “Moses” which
starts in February of 2014.
at school – Sight & Sound
Paul gives the family a tour before
the show of “Noah” at Sight & Sound
This is Mark’s last year of home schooling… he’s
a senior now, and the last one to graduate—so this is Sue’s
last year of home schooling (after 28 years!), and she graduates
too! God is good, and we're looking forward to more grandchildren
coming!... one this fall (Joanna), and another one next spring
(Dena)—that will make six grandchildren for us! We enjoy our
family, and we are very busy serving Him with all the gifts and
skills that He has