Every Harpist’s Worst Nightmare

5

As I turned to move my harp cart to the side, I let go of my harp. Seconds later, the royal blue transport cover quickly came into my peripheral vision, the knee block heading straight for the curb. Why couldn’t I catch it? Why did I let go? Why is this happening to me??

With help from bystanders, I picked up my harp and loaded it into my car. I was stunned and immediately drove to a fellow harpist’s house for comfort, letting the damage behind the cover go unknown for the next 4 hours. “Harps fall, and they are fine. . . Right?” After I had eaten way too many chocolate chip cookies and convinced myself that my harp was fine, I drove home, took a deep breath, uncovered my harp. . . .

And burst into tears. My harp was broken. The impact left disgusting scuff marks and a nasty half-inch wide crack in the knee block. I stood there in hysterics, trying to push the knee block back together with brute force to close up the gap in the crack that exposed the raw insides of the unfinished wood. I decided it wouldn’t work and called my close harp friends, my parents, and Megan Hoeflicker at Virginia Harp Center. Thank. Goodness. For. Insurance.

I had to wait two excruciating days to call Anderson Group Insurance and Lyon and Healy. I also had to wait a WEEK for the weather on the East Coast to warm up enough to safely ship it to Chicago! A month later, work has begun on my Ebony Style 30 for a full recovery.

Moral of this story: If you don’t have insurance for your harp, get it now!! I also feel so so lucky to be a part of such a strong and supportive community of harpists. So many harpists have reached out to me who understand what it means go through such a tragedy. Loading a loaner harp for my first gig after the fall felt like an affair! It’ll be another 3-4 months before I get my harp back, at least I will get her back!

Has your harp fallen? What happened? You’re not alone!

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About Author

I am a recent Temple graduate with my masters in Harp Performance. I grew up in Findlay, Ohio and currently teach and freelance in the Philadelphia area.

5 Comments

  1. anitajaynes@yahoo.com on

    I took my harp off the cart, set it down, and turned away for an instant. When I turned back, it was tipping over. Everything went in slooooooooooow mooooooooootion. I couldn’t catch it. And yes, the knee block broke. How did this happen? I set down the harp with one of its front feet on the foot of a Manhasset music stand. And that was enough to unbalance it. Moral of story: watch out for music stands and keep one hand on your harp! Anita Clark Jaynes (Omaha, NE)

  2. I do had this exact split. It was actually the chunk of wood ahead if the screw that is holding the shoulder block down to the harp. It looked just like this. The neck was actually still on and well help on by the other second screw. I build many of my own harps, mainly kits at this point, though a few from scratch, so didn’t have a meltdown. Since it was a repair I had never done… and the harp was used and well out of warranty, i took it to my local luthier and advisor when there is a problem. We checked with a well known and experienced harp maker to double check the repair ideas we had, and he concurred.
    The broken off triagular piece no longer fit. When the wood comes off it expands he told me. We had to gradually do some very very careful chiseling and shaving of the wood. It was hours done til it fit. The we reglued it. My luthier neighbor is an artist at doing invisible repairs. He has taught me a lot about woodfilling and re-matching stain and wood grain, using different shade stain pens.
    I hope your repair, as awful as it looks, proved to be essentially cosmetic. I went out of my mind too initially…. but it was repaired and holds fine. Part of the problem, the block the wood grain was in a way that when you out the screws in, it was acting as wedge like when you split firewood. The luthier was incredulous that both it was done that was and also that it just didn’t split on its own years back. If it comes apart again (which it has not in a good long whilem he has a thought to insert a dowel straight through horizontally, and put the screw in that….and we can make it be invisible too with a bit of artistry. I trust with a proper repair your harp will be….or is at this point as good as new!

  3. PS… goodness, the typos… or was it auotcorrect…. and way I TOO had this split, looked exact… and the neck was stil well HELD on….!

  4. vivian-stoppel on

    I didn’t drop my harp, but the post office did…I shipped my harp out to have a matching stand custom built and received the beautifully refinished harp back with the top of the pillar/neck broken irreparably. It had to have a new neck put on, but the post office didn’t pay the claim for almost a year, after repeatedly closing the case without payment. I, along with the harp builder who had shipped it and insured it, kept pestering them and finally, finally got reimbursed for the repair work. I’ll never rely on any carrier’s insurance policy again. Now all my harps are insured through Andersons….

  5. Jerusha Amado on

    Vivian,

    I had a similar experience but for me it was with a gold pedal harp. The trucking company damaged it, causing 13 cracks in the column and also dents in the fluting. It was a pretty bad incident. I too have Anderson Musical Instrument insurance, and they have been wonderful for me.

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