My entire life has been devoted to making music and sharing it. I’ve toured the world and have had the honor of playing for the Queen, Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana, as well as Prime Ministers and Ambassadors in spectacular venues like the ornate Rudolphinum in Prague and on the Selaron Steps in Rio de Janeiro. I also love sharing my passion for the harp, an instrument often overlooked as “just a pretty thing angels play”. Did you know Led Zeppelin isn’t the only rock band to get a harp remix? And that Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” can get a harp makeover?
Throughout my long career, I have been blessed to experience the transformative power of music on listeners’ moods. Spontaneous responses like “you made me forget,” “the sound gave me such peace,” and “the music took me somewhere else” confirm that. During the most challenging times, we all need the comfort and consolation of music to give us courage and hope. Alongside concerts for adults and seniors, connecting to and mentoring young people has long been a focal point of my career and the stresses placed on them now and in the long-term is very much on my radar. A 7-year-old needs just as much reassurance and support as a 77-year-old and music is there for them all.
Calling on Courage and Connection
When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all concerts, I felt determined to find a new and safe way to bring the comfort and solace of live harp music to people who feel isolated, exhausted, and anxious. A little injection of joy and relief can go a long way in these challenging times. So, I thought to myself, how do I create a fully self-contained, rolling tiny home and concert hall all in one? I soon purchased and modified an older Ford Transit High-roof van, the only vehicle tall enough to fit my beloved concert harp, Amadei. It would suffice to get my harp and me on the road as quickly as possible.
In September 2020, I set off on the first Harp to Heart (HRP2HRT) journey with Amadei, my yoga mat and my cat, Misty for company with the intent to ease mental health stress for as many people as possible. My journey took me 6000km through Alberta and British Columbia over seven weeks. I played a total of 33 events for seniors, students, handicapped people at seniors’ care residences, hospitals, and schools, to name a few. As I traveled, I also popped up in campgrounds and front yards—wherever people needed relief from the stresses of 2020. From my COVID-safe “concert hall,” using an amplifier, I played in many configurations, including for audiences sitting outside in the sunshine, or sometimes, placing the amplifier inside a residence with Amadei and me sitting on the other side of a window. Even Misty became a beloved entertainer from his passenger window or on his long leash.
Reaching Further with HRP2HRT 2.0
Thanks to the incredible support of Cam Clark Ford Airdrie, I am now building out a brand new van to meet the needs of a much longer trip. The first cross-Canada journey is set to begin in April 2021 and I am reaching out for your help. HRP2HRT is all about connection, creativity and courage, and I am inviting you to be part of it. The majority of preliminary costs during my first road trip were covered by donations along the way. To truly be financially sustainable, I need more support—support from you— to help with van payments and maintenance, gas, insurance, on-site accommodation, internet connection, harp strings, etc. Any donation makes a difference, and I am grateful for whatever you can do to help me share the beauty and calm of live harp music. It is through your generosity that I will be able to pay it forward.
With the generous sponsorship of Strut Creative of Calgary, I am launching a new website on which you can follow my journey—our journey—make comments, see some cool pictures and fun videos. I’ll also be posting on various social media platforms to stay connected with you and keep you informed.
Thank-you in advance for giving your heart to HRP2HRT.
- Marilyn Mann
- dan Beyaert
- Barbara Henniger
- Karl Hirzer
- Monica Helgoth
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