Purpose and Motivations
Why does your work stand out?
I believe that for your event, you shouldn't need to settle for a pre-prepared mold. Music is expression, and whether you love the elegant classics, or gravitate towards the tender song that brings back the memories, or you're on the cutting edge and want that tune that just hit youtube, your event should be an expression of what you want and who you are. I realize that and I do my best to work on musical selections with you WITHOUT charging extra costs. My goal is your satisfaction.
I also make myself available via communication and technological sharing. Just as you wouldn't buy a wedding cake without tasting it, I don't expect you to hire me without sampling what I do. I'm flexible and conversant with sharing my music across the miles.
No matter what, you know what you're getting: exactly what you want.
What do you like most about being a harpist?
Honestly? I love making people happy. I'm know that's incredibly cheesy, but there it is! It's easy for people in the entertainment business to perform AT people rather than FOR them. It becomes about "art for art's sake," and loses all expression and connection. I love connecting with my clients and making them smile. I love being a conduit for music that will bring the sparkle and warmth to their event that they're looking for.
It makes me feel like I'm giving back to the world. It's a win-win situation!
Do you have a favorite story from your harp events?
Probably playing for a private birthday party. A gentleman contacted me to play for his wife's 50th birthday. It was a total surprise for her. He booked a private lodge on a lake and had me come in and play a harp recital just for them during her birthday dinner. I had asked prior for some information about her, and when I found out that she and her late father were Irish, I brought out my Irish archives and played her favorite "Daddy and me" Irish ballad! She burst out in tears - her face was radiant. I was so happy to be able to give something meaningful to her. Moments like that are what keep me going in music.
What advice do you have for a client thinking about a harpist for their event?
- Tell me what your vision is! It helps me personalize a selection of music for you.
- Being a musician is a lifelong study. Being a harpist further specializes us: it not only takes many years of study and dedication to reach a Master's level, but it also requires a lot of maintenance! Likening the harp to a car isn't inaccurate: you get what you pay for, breakdowns are expensive, and prevention of it requires a lot of cumulative care! And that's not even counting the "mom-van" we need in order to drive this instrument around! :-) When harpists say "we need this environment in order to play," or "this are our fees," you're not just paying for sound space as on a CD! You're truly receiving an afternoon or evening of a rare and precious art, imbued with all the expression of a human, and I pour myself into making sure that your guests' experiences are transcendental.
How did you decide to get in your line of work?
I first heard the harp when I was a toddler. My mother, who is a professional pianist, had a harpist friend named Christina Tourin. I used to listen to her cassettes all the time as a little girl, and it very much inspired me.
When I was 8 or so, my mother took me to the Cleveland Institute of Music's Christmas Extravaganza. We heard a harp ensemble playing Christmas carols, and I got stars in my eyes all over again. Afterwards, I snuck up to the ring of harps and started tentatively playing them. Being 8, I thought I could attract the teacher's eye and she'd offer me harp lessons on the spot. Being much wiser than an 8 year old, the harp teacher immediately ran over to me and shooed me away from the harp before I could knock it over, get gooey candy all over it, or attract hordes children.
With fierceness that only 8-year-olds can muster, I vowed to one day play the harp just to spite her! Thankfully, when my parents gave me a trial run via renting a harp for me for a year before purchasing, I realized that there's so much to being a musician and a performer that goes far beyond the glamour and stage lights. I've formed a relationship with this instrument and with my audience, and I do this because I delight in sharing what this instrument can do.