Magazine Makeover

Alison Reese is editor of Harp Column. She is a freelance performer and teacher in West Michigan. Email her at

Alison Reese is editor of Harp Column. She is a freelance performer and teacher in West Michigan. Email her at

As you might have noticed by now, this issue of Harp Column looks a little different. The magazine’s design, which has served us well for 13 years, was in need of a little makeover.

I know feel like that from time to time—need to clean out the closet, update the wardrobe a bit, and maybe try a fresh new hairstyle. We didn’t do anything too dramatic with Harp Column’s look; we’re not talking cosmetic surgery and purple hair here. We just tried to update our look and tidy up around the edges.

If you put this issue next to one of our first editions back in 1993, you’d see a dramatic difference. Printed on heavy paper, newsletter style, our first few years were an experiment in the capabilities of the latest desktop publishing tools of the early ’90s. In 1995 we upgraded to glossy paper and ditched the column that adorned our cover in the first couple years, followed up in 1996 by a full-fledged redesign of the magazine. We upgraded the look of the magazine with new fonts and made the most of the strides in advances in graphic design with more art in the magazine.

As the world moved into a new millennium, we figured we should move into the future too. We updated our look again in 2000, saying goodbye to the “the” in our name, becoming simply Harp Column. We tweaked the magazine’s appearance once more in 2003, and kept that design until this year.

While our look has changed, our content and commitment to providing practical news for practical harpists remains the same as always. We are absolutely thrilled to have America’s great ambassador of the harp, Susann McDonald, grace the first cover of our redesigned magazine. In a wide-ranging interview, McDonald regaled us with fascinating stories from her life at the top of the harp world and shared her opinions on issues young harpists face today. This is, quite simply, a must-read conversation with one of our national treasures.

Don’t stop reading there, though. We have a variety of opinions, reviews, and feature articles in this issue, including one that many harpists will find useful. Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you want to give back to your community, so you try to start harp program at an underserved school or maybe get some concerts going at a local homeless shelter. But despite your best efforts, nothing ever seems to get off the ground. What went wrong? Why did such a well-meaning project never gain any traction? In our feature story “Get Engaged” on pg. 28, author Jennifer R. Ellis unlocks the mystery of failed service projects and gives us seven practical strategies to build community engagement programs that actually work. It is an eye-opening perspective for anyone who has struggled in this arena.

We think you’ll enjoy what we’ve got in store for you in this issue of Harp Column. As always, we want to know what you think. Email us, talk to use on social media, or maybe even write us a good, old-fashioned letter. We’re all ears!

Through the Years

Harp Column’s evolving look over more than two decades:


About Author

Editor of Harp Column, freelance harpist, private teacher, hot yoga lover, and grammar geek.

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