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Millennium Harp Quest (part 6)


Harping for Harmony sponsors Millennium Quests for harpers. The concept is to declare a quest for a one-year period that will stretch your comfort zone as a musician and provide a community service to your locality.

Jo declared her own Millennium Quest on March 13, 2003.

30. Hogmany Party, Germantown, MD

We attended a friend's Hogmany party December 31 - January 1, which featured lots of music. Although I didn't bring my own harp due to space considerations, I joined in on a number of tunes on one of my friend's harps. I even played along (accompaniment) to several tunes I didn't know after listening for a time through, which was an excellent stretch for me. (Especially in front of a large crowd of people, many of them terrific musicians.) In the morning we had another round of tunes with a much smaller crowd, and again I attempted some things I didn't know well, and managed not to get too embarrassed about things that didn't go as well as I'd like. I have clearly grown from this quest, and I'm quite pleased with my progress.

29. Future Care Extended Care Center, Owings Mills, MD

A friend gathered a number of musicians to play an impromptu concert on December 22 at an extended care facility. He has a relative who is living there, and he wanted to provide her and her fellow patients with some Christmas and Celtic music. My husband and I agreed to go, prepared to play a piece or two together (which we did.) We found out the day of the event that we were also to play along with other musicians in impromptu pieces.

I played with my friend Sharon Knowles as a harp duo for a couple of tunes, and I also played along with some musicians I had never met for a couple of Christmas carols and Celtic tunes. My friend's relative was ecstatic with our visit, and it was a very rewarding experience, even if a little scary to try new things in front of an attentive audience.

Jo playing with Sharon Knowles at the extended care center in Owings Mills, MD

28. Heritage Honda, Westminster, MD

We had car trouble on December 19 and I had to go back to the Honda dealership to get it fixed. I brought along my lap harp again and this time played through a fair bit of Christmas as well as Celtic repertoire.

Again, several people expressed interest in my playing. Although it still feels weird to get out my harp unasked in a public place, I am clearly less nervous about doing it.

27. Church Office, Westminster, MD

My church ended up with a personnel shortage, and I went in to provide phone coverage for the day on December 4. I arrived with harp and music in tow, knowing I desperately needed to practice for upcoming Christmas engagements. When I arrived, I found an office already full of people who were busily trying to get the bulletin done for the week. After confirming that they still wanted me to answer the phones, I set up and started practicing. All of the volunteers and staff that came through during the day seemed extremely appreciative of the music I was providing for them, even though to me it was practice time -- and an unusually long one. It worked out very well. I even had someone buy a CD. There was a time when I wouldn't have played there once I found other people were going to be there, so this quest has definitely served its purpose for me.

26. Unity Church, Frederick, MD

I was hired to provide two pieces of "special music" for the Unity Church service on December 1. When I arrived, I discovered that they didn't have an accompanist for their other music, and offered to accompany the music. They also asked if I would play some prelude music before the service, so I provided almost a half-hour of unplanned music for the event.


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