Playing for the Pope

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Melissa Dvorak is an active freelance harpist and teacher in the Washington, D.C. area.

Melissa Dvorak is an active freelance harpist and teacher in the Washington, D.C. area.

Tight security and transcendent moments performing for the pontiff.

Standing in front of a long security line, two security guards eyeball me.

“I need this,” I repeat. “I can’t play without it.”

I smile hopefully. It usually helps. But I’m met with another skeptical, squinty look.

“And how do you use this again?” one of the security guards asks.

“I place it on the harp, like this,” my hands miming an invisible instrument, “and turn it this way for flat or this way for sharp.”

The second security guard puffs up a bit and responds very officially, “I’m sorry, miss, we can’t allow weapons through the gates.”

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