Harp Of Saint George
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Finding work as a harpist was never my expectation. I moved to Las Vegas to escape the brutal Cleveland winters.
I planned to major in special education and UNLV's tuition was affordable for locals. The fact that the dry climate eliminated the humidity based sinus headaches I had learned to live with was an unexpected bonus. I was looking for a way to support myself in the meantime....
A relative overheard someone mention that harpists were being "imported" from other states. Live harp music was being included in
more venues, but at the moment, there weren't enough local players. It wasn't long before I got a call from someone telling me he had heard I played the harp. The man's name was Paul Balfour and he was the main reason the use of harp had grown. He was playing in Caesar's Palace's house orchestra and working as a soloist in the Palace Court restaurant in between. Was I interested in helping to popularize the harp in Las Vegas..... ?
I wasintroduced to commercial music and encouraged to join the musician's union. I was given special permission to start working before I could officially join because of an unexpected circumstance. Bob Newhart had chosen to end his show with a 10 minute finale from A Chorus Line, using dancers and an orchestra. His 3 week engagement began the next day & they still needed a harp. The harp lessons I took throughout my youth studying with the conservatory students of Alice Chalifoux (protégé of Carlos Salzedo)at The Cleveland Institute of Music provided the foundation that enabled me to learn how to play in the popular style that was requested for music on the strip. I had studied with Ann Hobson Pilot, Jeanne Zumbiel, Lisa Wellbaum Geber and Elisa Dickon while they were students of Miss Chalifoux. I learned to play commercially in Las Vegas from Paul Balfour, Olivette Miller and Kippy Lou Brinkman. They helped me to achieve my goal of paying for school while continuing to find work as a harpist. I was able to do both for much longer than I expected and even developed some ways of combining the two.
After spending many years in Las Vegas, I met a wonderful man named Stephen Clark. There was just one problem: he longed to get away from the heat and chaos of the city. Before long, I had added a hyphen to my name and was living in the more peaceful, beautiful, and cooler city of St. George.