CHQ in DC Part 2


Yesterday’s performance was an experience I will never forget! Standing (and lots of sitting on the floor) room only!

Kelsey arrived just in time for brunch Sunday morning. Weather was so crazy Saturday night, but thankfully everything held up for her to get into town for the concert. We had a great brunch at Boqueria, a quick 20 minute recharge nap, hair & makeup then we headed over to the Kennedy Center at 2:45pm. The harps were already delivered, uncovered and on stage waiting for us when we got there.

One of the biggest challenge as a harpist is having to perform on an instrument that isn’t yours. Our attitude was this: figure out what important parts we each have on the program and choose harps accordingly. For instance, Kelsey has a ton of low register cello solos in the Bach, I have an important low bass part in Musings, and Cathy & Lynn have loads of important super high 1st/2nd octave solos. We did our absolute best tuning the harps like crazy from our arrival until the concert at 6pm and I think they held up pretty well considering two of the harps were BRAND new (loads of new strings that don’t want to stay in tune yet) and of course I broke a string right before the concert! I have to admit it is quite terrifying to play some of these big solos on a harp you’ve never played. I performed on a  Venus Aria. The spacing and pedals were quite different from my L&H 23 at home so a few tricky spots had to be worked out in a matter of minutes on stage. We had just enough time to run our entire program on the new harps and a few minutes of personal practice before the show. I often think harpists get too wrapped up in the idea that they can’t perform on any instrument but their own or need a ridiculous amount of time to get accustomed to a new harp and therefore miss out on the opportunity to perform for a wider audience. Thankfully over the years I’ve owned 3 different brands of harps: Salvi, Camac and Lyon & Healy and had copious experiences over the years traveling without my harp: summers away at harp camps, Interlochen, summer music festivals, lessons with harpists all over the world, AHS conferences and subbing with various orchestras.  To me, this is just part of being a harpist!

You can watch the entire performance on the Millennium Stage Archives. Thankfully you can’t see the sweat dripping off each of our faces during the Glass or the crazy blisters Cathy & I developed! Enjoy! CHQ Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Performance

Next up – this Thursday CHQ and Chicago Harp Ensemble Alumni perform Terry Riley’s In C with over 80 musicians at Chicago’s Millennium Park InChicago.



About Author

I'm a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet and have performed with the Chicago, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Opera Australia Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I’ve performed with Janelle Monáe, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Ricardo Muti, and for the Steve Harvey Show on NBC.


  1. Gretchen Cover on

    What a flawless performance. You would never know from the high level of playing that there was so much backstage “drama” or sweating. CHQ members are true pros in every way. I hope others will click on the link and take the time to watch an outstanding concert. Congratulations!!!

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