Wedding Wednesday | Cornelius Pass McMenamins

A couple of weeks ago I got to play harp for a wedding at the Cornelius Pass McMenamins, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to review this lovely wedding venue. I have played at both the Grand Lodge and the Edgefield McMenamins before, but Cornelius Pass has a special rustic charm that set it apart!

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The wedding took place in a secluded section of the grounds.  Fortunately, the weather was perfect, so I didn’t need the tent that McMenamins was holding in readiness against the possibility of rain!

IMG_0495 (800x598)  I loved the idea of having all the guests sign a tree instead of a guestbook!

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There were charming nooks and crannies for the wedding photos!

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The most unique aspect of the Cornelius Pass McMenamins is the Octagonal Barn. This historic structure is very rustic inside – with rough wooden floors and open beam ceilings, but paired with formal cloth covered tables and candles the effect is stunning! I definitely recommend checking this one out!

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 4045 NW Cornelius Pass Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124

Accommodates: 400, but property-wide arrangements can be made for up to 1,000

Pros: Unique setting, indoor and outdoor options, large and small weddings can be accommodated, venue can provide chairs, tents etc.

Cons: multiple weddings taking place at once, food and beverage purchase required


Playing Today at Bitterroot Scottish Irish Festival!

We are delighted to return for our 3rd annual year to the Bitterroot Scottish Irish Festival in Hamilton, Montana!

We will perform Saturday, August 24 at 10:00am, 3:00pm and will call dances in the evening around 7:00pm.  We will perform again on Sunday, August 25 for the Kirk’n O’ the Tartan at 9:00am and in the afternoon at 3:00pm.  


Friday’s Feast | Zucchini Tomato Frittata

With our garden overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes, a frittata makes quick and satisfying lunch!


2 Tbs. butter
2 zucchini
1/2 onion
2 tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
fresh oregano
fresh thymne
6-8 eggs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Swiss cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Slice zucchini and onion, chop tomatoes. Saute zucchini and onion in butter.

Put zucchini and onions in a 9×13 pan, and arrange tomatoes and basil and herbs over the top.

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Beat eggs with salt an pepper. Pour over vegetables and top with cheeses.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with fresh rolls!

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(Apparently we ate the finished frittata before I could take a photo….so here it is ready to go into the oven!)

Concert in Hoodsport

For a number of years we attended an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration every year in Montesano, Washington.  After a rollicking afternoon of sack races, three-legged races, a pie contest and potluck, everyone would gather around a big bonfire for a time of singing. After the organized singing was over, a man began playing gospel tunes on his banjo and Krista joined in with her recorder. It became a tradition to jam after the campfire, and as we added instruments it became even more fun!  Randy invited to perform a concert at his church in Hoodsport, should we ever be in the area.

Several years after that last party we finally found ourselves passing quite near Hoodsport, and Randy and his family did an amazing job of organizing the concert.  We were thrilled with the amount of people who came!


It is a beautiful little church, and it is always inspiring to see a full house!


A Cappella!


We were so blessed to have Dave, a professional soundman, bring all his equipment and run the sound for the concert!


An Irish dance!


Kathrina and Sarah played the music


We hope to make it there again sometime!

Wedding Wednesday | The Portland Rose Garden

{We’ve played music for a lot of weddings – so here on Wedding Wednesday we will be discussing all aspects of a wedding, from from food and location, to music and dress. Let us know what you want hear about!}

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In the Rose City of Portland roses don’t just bloom in June! In the International Rose Testing Garden roses bloom from June through September. Founded in 1917, it is the oldest garden of its kind in the United States.  Quaint pathways wind through numerous kinds of roses, and there are several lovely spots for a wedding!

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The Shakespeare Garden contains many plants and flowers mentioned in his plays, as well as roses named in his honor.

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The Shakespeare Garden can accommodate about 75 people, however due to park regulations only 12 chairs can be used, with placement being limited to the hard surface areas.  The rest of the guests can stand or sit on the lawn, so this venue is best for shorter wedding ceremonies.

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The Gold Medal Garden is a prime choice for a small, intimate wedding; especially as it has a gazebo in case our Portland rain decides to make your wedding memorable! It can accommodate 25 guests, with up to 6 chairs allowed.

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Even in the rain, roses are beautiful!

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An outdoor wedding I played for in September in the Gold Medal Garden.

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Always take time to smell the flowers!

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

Accommodates: up to 75

Pros: World-class roses provide natural beauty, inexpensive

Cons: Guests must stand, no reception facility, no indoor option

~ the Second Rose

Friday’s Feast | BBQ Tuna and Pesto Pasta

The delicious scent of  BBQ wafted towards us as we walked the docks in Newport Bay looking for fresh tuna to purchase for canning. A weather beaten  fisherman leaned over the side of his boat calling “Fresh barbecued tuna! Come and try some!”

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At that age I usually didn’t care much for fish, but at the first bite of that smoky tuna I  was captivated! Ever since, our family has bought several extra tuna fillets to barbecue each summer.  It is absolutely delicious pared with our favorite pesto pasta and a green salad!Image

BBQ Tuna

Marinate a fillet of tuna in about 1/2 cup of soy sauce for 6-24 hours (the longer you marinate it, the saltier it will get). One fillet usually feeds about six people, but make extra for having tuna sandwiches the next day!

Place the tuna on foil and poke holes in the bottom of the foil with a fork so the smoke can come through.  Barbecue the tune, for about 20 minutes, or until if flakes easily with a fork, turning once and basting it with soy sauce.

Rotini with Pesto Sauce

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup melted butter
5-10 large fresh garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon pinenuts, optional
3/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. rotini pasta, or your favorite kind

In a blender or food processor, combine cheese and basil; add melted butter. Process until finely chopped. Add garlic, pinenuts, and olive oil separately, blending well after each addition. Let stand at least one hour. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well. Mix half of the pesto with hot pasta. Additional pesto sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month, or can be frozen in ice cube or muffin trays, and then stored in plastic bags.

Serve the tuna and pasta, passing additional pesto sauce for everyone to pour over their pasta as desired!

Monday’s Musings | Those Moments of Life…

We were in the living room doing our vocal warm-ups.   Kathrina kept trying to talk about the various tasks that needed to be completed in the two second pauses in between exercise sets, but that wasn’t going very well. Inevitably, it would take longer than two seconds to tell something, and she kept spilling over into the next set, much to the chagrin of the rest of us.  Finally she laughed and said, “I read this status update on Facebook the other day.  It said, “You know that feeling when you have all your ducks lined up in a row? Me neither.””

Then we all had a good laugh and Noah poked his head into the living room.  He had apparently overhead our conversation from the dining room where he was working at the table.

“And then there’s the guys version of it,” he said. “You know that feeling? Me neither!”

Yep, my brother has a good sense of humor!

~ the Second Rose

Online Music Release Party and Give-Away!

A few years ago we recorded our most popular classical pieces to help us showcase our skills for potential brides, but we never released them to the public.  Now that has changed!  Our arrangements of Cannon in D and Rondeau (also known as the Theme from Masterpiece Theatre) are now available for digital download.

Since two pieces aren’t quite enough for a full-length concert, we are having the release party online.  You participate by commenting on this post and we will draw for prizes.  The winner will get a homemade treat, one of our CDs (your choice!) and a Whispering Roses T-shirt!  Two runner-ups will receive homemade treats!

Comment once for each thing that you complete.  The more comments you have, the more chances of winning!  The drawing will be August 20th, 2013.

1. Read this post completely

2. Purchase our two new instrumental tracks from CD Baby (after all, this is a release party)!

Whispering Roses: Canon in D
Whispering Roses: Premier Suite De Symphonies: Rondeau

3. Like us on Facebook (or let us know if you already do!)

4. Follow our blog (or let us know if you already do!)

5. Share about this give-away on your Facebook page, blog, or other social media. (One comment for each place you share it!)

6. Look at our new website, and tell us what you like best about it!

7. Tell us which of our recordings you already own.

Wedding Wednesday | Gray Gables Estate

Located in the heart of the residential Milwaukie area of Portland, Grey Gables Estate provides a classy atmosphere for any wedding or banquet. We played there as a quartet for a banquet several years ago, but recently revisited it during a NW Wedding Pro meeting. Special thanks to Beverly Mason for the photos!

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Gray Gables offers an elegant setting for your wedding – indoors or out. They can accommodate up to 290 guests, with different garden options for smaller weddings.

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The landscaping is exquisite!

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Indoors is elegant without being pompous.

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The indoor event room is classy and comfortable.

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Here we are playing for the NW Wedding Pro event at Grey Gables!

 ~ Quick Look ~

Location: 3009 SE Chestnut St., Portland, OR 97267

Accommodates: up to 290

Pros: Elegant, complete wedding packages minimize stress, free parking, indoor and outdoor options

Cons: Required wedding vendors don’t allow for a do-it-yourself approach