This post was originally published Dec 1, 2016.

Holiday music was the reason I became a harpist … but maybe not for the reason you think.


holiday-music-is-here-whether-you-like-it-or-not-v2 I could be pretty snobby about what I sang when I was a young adult, and when my college chorus was singing a Christmas song I didn’t like, I figured out THE BEST way to avoid having to sing.

I noticed that the music said “Optional Harp or Piano Accompaniment” – and since I’d had a whopping six harp lessons as a kid, I asked the conductor, “If I can learn to play this on the harp, can I play instead of singing.”

“Oh sure,” she snickered, “Sure. If you can learn to play this on the harp, you don’t have to sing.”

Then she showed me the harp that was stashed in the band closet, and I worked like a dog (by the way, I did once have a dog who worked like a dog – but that’s another story).  I learned that music.  And more importantly, I didn’t have to SING one note of it.

But after that concert, the band director came to me and said, “You know, we need a harpist in the band.  How about we pay for your lessons and you become the harpist.”

Ahhhh … if only all my other efforts at avoidance worked out so well.

Our lives never go in a straight line, do they? You think you’re finished and you’ve just begun.  You try to walk away from one thing only to realize you’ve walked smack-dab into something you’ll build your life on.

I never realized the harp would take me around the world, give me a Grammy-Nomination, lead to performances with major symphonies, to playing with some of the world’s greatest musicians, innovating a new kind of harp that’s been named for me, writing concertos and chamber music for the instrument.

All I was trying to do was AVOID singing a Christmas song I didn’t like (and by the way, I still don’t like it).

How about you?  

Has avoidance ever turned  you towards a lifelong passion you might never have considered?  Has it given you anything else?  I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments below.

And while you’re thinking about it go download my Holiday Album, “The Gift, ” and check out “O Tannenbaum” – that’s a song I’d been avoiding my whole life – and then I thought, Hmmmm …. I wonder if I could create a version I’d love.  And I did.  Now that’s my favorite cut on the album.



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