—by Haley Rhodeside
Going for the gold—the second time around.
The year was 2009, and it was sometime early in December. I was having my last lesson of the semester, my first semester at Indiana University (IU) as a freshman studying with Susann McDonald. I don’t remember exactly what I played during that lesson, but it must have gone fairly well because towards the end, Ms. McDonald asked me, “Honey, are you sure you don’t want to do the USA Competition?”
Before Ms. McDonald asked me that fateful question, I had thought I was sure about not competing in the USA International Harp Competition. I had plenty of reasons not to compete—I was still young and inexperienced (having just turned 18 two weeks prior), and while I had participated in some competitions before, none were of this prestige or difficulty. But perhaps most importantly, we were six months out from the 2010 competition, and I knew absolutely none of the repertoire.