Loyal Subscribers


We talked to three original Harp Column subscribers who are still reading “practical news for practical harpists” 25 years later

This article extra is part of the feature story Covering the Harp World in this issue.

When a postcard arrived in the mail back in 1993 advertising a new harp magazine, CATHERINE ROGERS thought it looked interesting, so she decided to give it a try. Harp Column magazine has arrived on her doorstep every other month since then.

What articles have you enjoyed over the years? “I loved the article about Kimberly Rowe’s experience playing on a cruise ship, the interview with Alice Chalifoux, the article about Alice Giles playing in Antarctica, the recent article about busking by Samantha Hickman, and the article about using iPads and other electronic tools. I really appreciate articles that address new repertoire, especially pieces useful for gigging harpists trying to please clients, although new orchestral, chamber, and solo repertoire is also interesting, particularly commissioned works. I also love the harpmobile updates.”

When do you read Harp Column? Do you have any reading rituals? “I read the print off the page as soon as it hits the mailbox. My husband knows he won’t see me again until it’s finished on the day it arrives. A cup of tea and some dark chocolate enhance the experience.”

What has kept you renewing your subscription for 25 years? “I know there will always be something really interesting in every issue, and usually there are several very good items with information I can use in a practical way. I enjoy discussing them with my husband and with one of my harp buddies.”

Have you subscribed to anything else for 25 years? “I’ve subscribed without interruption to the American Harp Journal (42 years) and Smithsonian magazine (39 years). I might give up Smithsonian but I would never give up Harp Column magazine!

What stories do you hope Harp Column will cover in the next 25 years? “I hope Harp Column continues to interview harp superstars as they come on the scene and their careers progress. I always want to know about new harp technology and other issues that affect harpists and how they do their jobs like string quality, changing musical tastes, legal issues like copyright, etc.”

What is your favorite part of the magazine? “I usually check out the ad on the back cover first—no joke. It’s always beautiful, and I want to see the latest, greatest harps on the market. Then the ‘Strange But True Story.’ After that I usually read straight through, front to back.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your harp life? “I’ve been a freelance harpist playing all kinds of jobs for many years. I also played in a community orchestra for 34 years. I love playing for weddings, funerals, parties, and open houses, and I try to keep my repertoire current. I’ve published a few pop harp arrangements of pieces which were requested but not available at the time to help other harpists meet those requests. I’ve always been interested in the technical side of the harp and how it works, how it has evolved, etc. And I love old harps.”

CALISTA ANNE KOCH was a young harp student when she saw Harp Column magazine promoted at the American Harp Society National Conference in 1993. Her parents bought her a subscription, and 25 years later her own harp students peruse her old magazines as they wait for their lessons.

What have been the most memorable articles for you over the years? “I recall so many. I remember, in particular, the article regarding male harpists, the article about Elizabeth Hainen getting the position at the Philadelphia Orchestra, and, of course, the one about the Atlanta Harp Ensemble, which I played in at the time.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your harp life? “I’m a professional harpist with many hats. I perform in and around middle Georgia; I teach private lessons to students of all ages; I am the harp professor at Mercer University; and I direct the Middle Georgia Harp Ensemble.”

What do you do with your old issues? “My students are always welcome to borrow my issues. I keep them in my studio for a few weeks. Once they have been seen by those that would be interested, they go in my magazine rack for a few months. Once it’s time to remove a few of them from the rack, I move them to a tub in the attic, where I have all of my back issues.”

What stories do you hope Harp Columnwill cover in the next 25 years? “I love reading stories that inspire me. I love the dark horses, the rise-from-the-ashes harpists. I want my students to hear and see others that can inspire them.”

What is your favorite part of the magazine?  “I can’t get enough of the ‘Strange But True’ harp stories!”

Ohio harpist BARBARA CROUSE was an active performer back in the summer of 1993 when she received the first issue of Harp Column in the mail with a bright pink insert that read “Attention harpists! Subscribe now and receive a discount!” So Crouse subscribed, got the discount, and has been a faithful reader of Harp Column ever since.

When do you read Harp Column? Do you have any reading rituals? “I generally read through the whole issue as soon as it arrives, then read the ‘Strange But True Harp Stories’ aloud to my husband soon after. “

What do you do with your old issues? “For years I kept every issue stacked on the floor by my harp but that soon took up a lot of space. Then I got smart and started tearing out articles most helpful to me and recycling the rest of the magazine.”

What has kept you renewing your subscription for 25 years? “I’m now 76 and trying to retire, but I want to stay in touch with what’s going on in the harp world. Even with my desire to simplify and downsize, there’s always something of interest to read in Harp Column.”

What is your favorite part of the magazine? “‘Strange But True Harp Stories’, of course! Seriously, I think the format and topics Harp Column has now are great; please continue as you have been for the past 25 years.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your harp life? “I’m a conservatory-trained pianist and organist with a church music degree. I didn’t start harp lessons until I was 40. I soon was a member of Joan Seymour’s Dayton Area Harp Ensemble with 22 harpists, the largest group of its kind at that time. I did freelance work for many years, and I’ve been principal harp (and occasional organist) for the Lebanon [Ohio] Symphony Orchestra since its formation in the 1990s. My lifelong career has been in the music field, and the harp has been just one part of that life. At this point I am trying to slow down, but it isn’t easy.”


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The Harp Column Staff has been bringing you great editorial content, interviews, features, and reviews since 1993!

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