There's music in the air this month -- and have you noticed that much of it is coming from harps? Harpists play all year 'round of course, but it seems that December programs tend to feature harp music -- after all, the harp traditionally has been considered the instrument of angels.
Harps really aren't as rare as some people think. There are plenty of local harpists, and they're playing on everything from troubador harps to pedal harps.
Here in South King County, we have several resident harpists. Maybe some of you remember the 8-piece "harpestra" that performed last summer in Burien as part of the "Pieces of Eight" event at B/IAS. Earlier this month, the Maple Valley Library hosted a holiday concert that featured an entire harp ensemble from Auburn.
At two concerts last weekend, harpist and long-time Renton resident Patty Warden performed with the Federal Way Chorale. Here's a picture of her taking a bow with Chorale Director Laird Thornton (photo credit Randy Inghram).
Patty and several other South King County harpists also participated in the harpathon at Seattle Children's Hospital last weekend -- a 12-hour harp-playing marathon that raised over $3500 for uncompensated care -- way to go! Then a couple of the younger harpists at the harpathon -- Clara M of Des Moines and Bethany E of Kent, packed up their harps and headed back to South King County to play at a party sponsored by a Renton bank. There were blisters and sore backs by the end of the day -- you have to be tough to be a harpist!
Several of the orchestras that belong to SoCoCulture have harpists on their permanent roster. In Enumclaw, Karen Reinbolt is the harpist in the Plateau Community Orchestra. Here's a photo of her performing in a duet with her daughter Cassie at an orchestra concert last spring. The Northwest Symphony Orchestra has harpist Melissa Walsh, and John Carrington regularly performs with the Auburn Symphony.
It would be fun to hear some behind-the-scenes stories from local harpists. Does anyone care to share?