A Calm Before the Storm…

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  I ended up having a quiet Christmas home alone with my kitties this year while my husband traveled to visit family.  A few days earlier, Gurney – our cat who was very sick back in July/August – started showing signs of the same illness again.  Between needing to keep an almost constant eye on him and our other cat Riley’s feeding tube, it was decided that I should just stay here.  It was a bit surreal spending Christmas home alone, but the fact that I’m going into another year with all 3 of my babies means that it was worth it!


Christmas Blessings

The last few weeks have been filled with some very welcome blessings!  Not the least of which is Gurney seems to be back to normal and Riley had her feeding tube removed last week.  I can’t begin to describe the weight that has been lifted from me.

Gurney has resumed his job as the household crazy cat. Here he is making a bed of my harp cover, as he does every chance he gets.

I had a fantastic time performing with the Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra for the first time a few weeks ago.  It was an absolutely lovely concert and I met some wonderful musicians.  I look forward to performing with them again in the future!  Unfortunately, none of my family were able to attend the concert, so I don’t have any pictures of the beautiful church or the performance.

I also had an amazing time performing with the Roueché Chorale up in Chattanooga the weekend before Christmas.  I performed with the orchestra and choir, as well as twenty minutes of solo prelude music at the start of each evening.  The church was packed for both performances and the concerts were extremely well-received.  Mr.Roueché’s arrangements and selections for the program were gorgeous and the overall experience was absolutely stunning.  Even though I was a performer, even getting to listen to the performances was probably my favorite Christmas experience to date.  My parents enjoyed the first performance so much that they drove up to Chattanooga from Alabama the following evening just to see it again!  My best friend Edna, who lives in Iowa, also attended both performances…though that could have been in part because she was staying with me and was forced to go wherever I did while she was here… 😉

Photo by Berrie Smith, taken from the Roueché Chorale Facebook page. (Click the picture for link.)

One other blessing that happened right before Christmas was….the long-awaited return of my piano!  It was delivered a couple weeks before Christmas, but was so out of tune from the repairs and shipping that I had to wait until I was able to have it tuned a little over a week ago before I could really play it.  The piano is 28 years old and was extremely faded in certain areas from 20 years in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, so the finish was evened out while the piano was up in Indiana at the factory.  The result is that the piano now not only sounds a great as ever, but looks practically brand new!  It’s not quite the deep red cherry that it was in 1989, but the piano tuner could hardly believe it wasn’t a brand new piano when he walked in the front door!

Originally knowing Walter Pianos only by reputation, the piano tuner and his apprentice both fell in love with my piano during the time they were here.

More exciting news in recent weeks include the purchase of a brand new Chicago 40 pedal harp by one of my students!  Congratulations, Anna!  One of my other students has also just put a deposit down on a wonderful 85E pedal harp.  I happened to be at the harp store when the current owners brought the harp in and was able to check it out and play it.  I knew immediately that it would be a fantastic fit for my student, so I’m excited that she’ll be able to check it out and see if she agrees.


What Comes Next?

So what comes next?  So many things!  As I mentioned in my previous post, the next few months are really filling up for me.  There’s a period of time through February and March where I think I’ll be traveling every weekend!  While I’m not looking forward to the driving, I’m looking forward to the reasons that I’ll be driving!  I still can’t specifically talk about a couple of them, but there are a lot of things in the works!  Here are some highlights:


On February 18th, I’ll be having a Masterclass in Athens, Alabama for all of my Tennessee and Alabama students.  I think this will be a great experience for the students involved and give them a chance to really take time to study one another’s playing.  All of my applicable students are currently working towards performing in the Masterclass, so I’m looking forward to a full and informative class!

AHS Evaluations

On February 3rd and March 10th, I’ll be serving as the adjudicator for the Georgia Chapter of the American Harp Society’s Auditions and Evaluations.  It’s not a contest so much as a chance for students of all ages, levels, and backgrounds to perform and be evaluated.  On February 3rd, students are invited to come perform true solos and receive feedback and evaluation from me.  On March 10th, they’ll return and perform the same solos for me, receiving feedback and comments on their improvement and progress over the weeks between.  I haven’t had the opportunity to hear very many student harpists in Georgia since I moved, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of talent we have in this area!

Upcoming Solo Recitals

I’ve been hard at work preparing for my upcoming solo recitals in the Spring.  My first recital has been officially scheduled for Sunday March 18th at the Blackman United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  I have tentative dates for the rest of the recitals, but am waiting for final confirmation before announcing them.  Later dates will include performances in Madison Alabama, Alpharetta Georgia, and possibly a location in south Florida as well.  Keep an eye on my website and Facebook page for announcements and information regarding all performances.

You know things are official when I buy new harp shoes!