Tuesday, January 21, 2014

HarpFusion in Church

It's easy to see why angels play harps in heaven. 

On Saturday afternoon, some of them were in the apse of St. Mark Catholic Church. With strong fingers and graceful wrists they plucked and strummed and caressed the strings.

With a sharp pull and a graceful release, 
hands up, curved fingers freeing the vibrations, 
the audience silent,
the leader, raising her hand in triumph, as the music died.

It was something to behold, something to treasure.

I was there because a friend from The Happy Ladies Club extended an invitation.
Her church was throwing a party for its new building 

Auntie Em played the harp in her youth.  I wished she were by my side on Saturday. 
I wanted Christina-Taylor, too, so I lit a candle, just in case her spirit was wandering in the neighborhood, looking for a pleasant afternoon respite.
I was in church, after all.
Harps are beautiful instruments.

and so were the women who played them.
Look at those smiles.
They buy their own dresses, in complimentary hues. 
The first set, ranging from Disney's Electric Light Parade through Greensleeves to Klezmer Dances, was played in turquoise and teal.

They sat on stools, with perfect posture
leaning in and out, 
holding the harp and pressing the foot pedals, beating time on the sound board or the sound box, 
small smiles, head tilts, bigger smiles,
shrinking into the sounds as they grew weaker and lesser and higher and then growing larger and larger as the music did and her smile, oh, denizens, her smile was something to see.  
They are all students of Harp.
They are merit scholars and double majors in math and bassoon and dance.
They are on their way to PhD's and Masters Programs and carry a 4.0 along with the biggest musical instrument a parent could be asked to transport.
"What kind of car does your family drive?"  I asked the Knight sisters.
"A very big van." 

The intermission was just long enough to admire the new building and make some new friends.
This church was a very friendly, welcoming space, even for a snarky heathen like me.
Though my friend worried that I'd limp into the baptismal font by mistake,
thus forcing her to adopt me as a new convert,
I think I'll be back more often for the music than for the Gospel. 

But I will be back. 

After all, it's not every weekend that I can hear two sisters riffing on the theme music to a Spanish language cartoon "we watched when we were trying to learn the language"
playing an arrangement they created themselves
on their harps
on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Life is good.


  1. I love harps! They are one of those instruments that do sound heavenly. I love how beautiful they look too. Wish you could post sound too. Just thinking about how lovely they are puts a smile on my face.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures too!

    Megan xxx

  2. Harps and organs. Love the music that comes from those instruments. There are very few in Fresno which saddens me no end. You were indeed blessed by the angels.

  3. i would go anywhere to be able to see and hear a harp. I have always harbored the ambition to learn to play them. Maybe in my next life.

  4. I don't know if I can figure out how to post a song..... I don't want to take away from their fund raising, which is selling the cd's to fund their international travel.

    I will try to put one song up ... a new skill to develop, at the behest of my readers. So, kenju, perhaps you need to learn the harp in THIS life?!?!? If I'm expanding my techie skills, why don't you expand your musical ones?!?!?

    Just sayin'.....


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