All the News...

January 2020

Welcome to another year for adventure and discovery.   We are currently volunteering at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne FL. As with most adventures this is a delightful experience where we have met new folks and made more friends. 

On the porch of the Lighthouse Keeper's House
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park 

One delightful lady, Nancy Beth Jackson, is a reporter who captured our service in a story for the local paper. You may want to read her article on Key News,

November 2019

Our travels are slowing down, after the Barberville Fall Festival at the beginning of the month we headed south and are now settled at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.   This is an island connected by a causeway to Miami so yes it has an international clientele.  

Our main "job" is interpreting  the Lighthouse and Keeper's House until the end of February.  We lost no time in donning period clothing and bringing music to the Keeper's House on holidays and many Sunday afternoons.   So do stop by when you are in the area.

October 2019

Where's the time gone?  It has been a busy month...traveling back to Florida, visiting friends along the way, reconnecting with our Florida support system, playing tunes, volunteering, and enjoying life.

So here we are at the end of October having assisted with  the Quilt Show at Stephen Foster FCC State Park, given a near perfect performance at the Central Florida Folk House Concert in Winter Park, and getting ready to share our music, talents, and time at the Barberville Fall Festival.
From the Concert Promotion Flyer

September 2019

Welcome to fall.  As Ohio prepares for harvest season our Florida friends and family are dealing with hurricanes.   But there are options like joining us at the Yankee Peddler Festival in Canal Fulton Ohio.  We are playing your favorite harp/guitar and banjo/guitar duets for the first three weekends this month.

Can't wait to see your smiling faces.

August 2019

What a wonderfully busy summer on our travels through the midwest.   We have shared music with folks in every state, sometimes participating in a jam, at a pub session, or by campfire.  At other times we have been the entertainment for friends, children, families,  gatherings, and  neighbors.

Feel proud that in the USA we have good and friendly folks.  But don't expect consensus, people are opinionated.  Now it seems most of the  folks we encounter seek commonalities and tiptoe around our current political situation. 

The mid-west is a great place to understand the development of our nation with most lands opening for settlement around 1800.  This westward immigration impacted the native inhabitants, their spiritual values, lives, and eventual poor treatment by the US government.  The logging, mining, and farming built our country but changed the landscape; interestingly, today states and organizations are restoring the land to an earlier time.

One takeaway 
...Music is always regional
...but sometimes not from the region you expect!

Florida and Alabama is where old-time reigns at jam circles
Mississippi sports the blues
Tennessee,  Kentucky, and Indiana tout bluegrass first followed by southern old-time and Celtic
Michigan... Can you polka? From the Scandinavian, Cornish, and Irish roots
Wisconsin is a true melting pot where any style can be found and often in in same set.

June 2019

Summer is our time to explore new locations and revisit from previous trips.  So this year we will travel north to the Michigan UP (Upper Peninsula). Along the  way we are planning on attending festivals, hiking and kayaking trails, visiting friends  and  family,  and learning more about our wonderful country.  

May 2019

Spring is festival season in Florida and this May has been particularly busy with performances,  jams, workshops, and playing sound or set up crew at several events.  You can read about those on the  Upcoming Events and Recent Appearances.

It is also the month we managed to  finally get some of our original ssongs of Florida on a professional recording.   Starlight Sound in Lake City had an opening.  Donald, the owner and sound engineer,  was wonderfully easy to work with,  he made you feel like family.  But still recording isn't easy...

Donald playing back the preliminary mix.

Know how you feel about posing for photos?
OK then,  consider putting your voice, words, music, and playing skills down for posterity...or until all the evidence no longer exists.

We were captured live....warts and all.

Yes, it can be unnerving.   And listening to the final results can be humbling.  But we are folk singers who have written some good songs and so I am relatively happy with the results. 

The recordings for Gopher Stew and other Tales should be available for download in the near future.  Drop me an email if you want to be notified on release.

Recent Appearances

Recent Appearances 

Yankee Peddler Festival in Ohio 
Thank you to those who support our music 
and appreciate heritage and tradition.

November 2 & 3, 2019  
Barberville, FL

October 27, 2019 - 2 PM
Central Florida Folk House Concert @ Winter Park Library
Winter Park, Florida

September 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 2019
Canal Fulton Ohio

May 24-26, 2019
White Springs,  Florida 
May 25,  2PM @ Cousin Thelma's Gift Shop Stage  
May 26, 10-11 AM Sunday Morning Music @ Jam Tent
May 26,  4-5 PM Old-time Tunes @ Jam Tent

Marg leading another fun harp workshop
May 11, 2019
2 PM - A Celebration of Folk Music @ Cousin Thelma's Gift Shop 
White Springs,  FL

May 3-5, 2019
St. Augustine,  FL
May 5th 12-1 PM, Folk Harp Intro @ The Folk School
Workshop notes in PDF. (View or download)

Sharing songs, stories,  and history
at the Florida Agricultural Museum

Yes, Seminole attire because of
their contributions to Florida.

April 27-28, 2019
Family Farm Days @ the Florida Agricultural Museum 
Palm Coast, FL

Barberville Spring Frolic 

April 6-7, 2019
Barberville, FL

Stephen Foster Song Night

April 2019
White Springs,  FL
Friday Night Folk Jam

Upcoming Events

Lighthouse Keeper's House 
- Special Sunday Afternoons 
- Events TBA
Key Biscayne,  FL

Front porch at the Keeper's House 

Yankee Peddler Festival in Ohio 

Marg and the Lever Harp

In the spring of 2018 I purchased a lever harp after a four year respite which allowed my tendonitis to abate and time for other musical journeys.

 Harplessness had other unexpected consequences, including a band name change from Heart Strings to Gopher Stew to highlight our Florida Folk Songs.   Now, I needed a melody instrument so most of our Florida songs moved from harp to banjo.  In the mean time I wrote songs for the ukulele and moved a few songs to that little wonder.  Well, not suprisingly, many tunes are better on the banjo or ukulele...but not all.

The harplessness gave me time to gain some competency on the fiddle... But the Harp Sirens called.

Harp Siren
from earlier days...
A little searching online found a slightly used Westover Therapy Harp, one that captured my heart years ago.  So taking this as a message, the little harp is now mine and stealing much of my music time.  Don't worry banjo and ukulele you are still easier to carry, quicker to tune, and perfect for most of my original songs.

Sugar Cane Stage, Barberville Spring Frolic 2019.
Notice the harp front right. 

The Band

A Florida based folk band featuring

Marg Chauvin 


Bill Messer 

The story...
When we joined forces in 2002 creativity blossomed.  Marg had previously been known at folk festivals as a traditional Celtic Harper and a Florida Master Scottish Harper, a rare title.  Bill’s claim to fame was South Florida Festival Director and backup guitarist.

The focus of Heart Strings changed from primarily instrumentals with Bill's addition of folk songs and creative guitar backup. This resulted in two instrumental CDs. 

Next Marg tackled the banjo which lead to her playing and singing old-time music and writing Florida Folk songs. A purchase of a junk ukulele for canoe camping has led to a new love affair and songs written on the ukulele, these days a Florida ukulele. And don't be surprised to see the less formal name Gopher Stew for the folk songs venues.

Regardless where you find us expect a wide range of songs and tunes from originals and folk songs to heritage music.

You may enjoy this  video of Gopher Stew

A song based on a story about my dad and his cousin
Fred Chauvin and Stewart Pacetti

Marg "harping" a few Celtic favorites. 
And our recordings...

Photo credits to Gail Carson,
Thank you Gail.

Our Music

Most musicians will tell you their favorite music genre is what they are currently playing.  In Marg's case, the instrument often dictates the genre.

The  harp means Celtic or songs.

You may enjoy 
Singer of Songs
...based on a poem by Marylou Sutherland 

But the guitar fits most styles. 

So, here are a few of our favorite styles for jamming and performing.

  • Florida Folk

In Florida our folk songs revolve about life in the Sunshine State.  We have several original selections from animals to notable people and traditions to life styles.

"The Red Bug Blues" written by Marg after a walk in the woods.  

  • Old-time 

At Stephen Foster State Parks a teen captured one show with videos, outlined in 

  • Early Country/Blues

Now there are many wonderful songs by other Florida artists so why not share their work, with permission of course.

Video of Florida Home, a Robin Plitt song we shared in the Tower at Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park.  Thank you to Ellen Atwood Acres for the video.

  • Celtic

The harp was Marg's main primary musical instrument for many years.  During that time she won multiple Scottish Harp Competitions achieving the title of Master Scottish Harper.

We have two CDs and you can download individual tunes or entire albums
(Album titles link to the download page)


"Soothing root music from traditional Celtic to recent compositions; a beautiful blend of harp, flute, and guitar."

Over There 

"Celtic harp played with infectious joy and echoed in the guitar accompaniment."
The tunes are drawn from Scot and Irish traditional ballads and dance.

And coming at some point...
... our Florida Folk Songs...