Jen’s Harp Experience
This is the story of Caroline and Jennifer and how they came to know Michelle and Flora through a Harp Experience
For my part, I am always looking for thoughtful and unusual present ideas and much prefer giving family and friends an experience they will treasure as opposed to a present that ends up in a school raffle. As Jen explains below, in our mid-thirties we compiled lists of 40 things we wanted to achieve/experience before reaching 40, therefore the seed was planted on this memorable lunch date many years before.
Although I had this fabulous idea of giving Jen the opportunity of playing the harp and fulfilling one of the more unique experiences on her list, finding a local harpist or music teacher willing to give a one-off lesson/experience was not so straightforward.
After a few failed attempts, I stumbled on an article about a harpist holding a concert in a local school close to where my own children, and indeed Jen’s children both went to school. That harpist was, of course, Michelle Dalton. I could see from Michelle’s facebook page she played at weddings, birthdays and christenings, therefore I decided to enquire about a one-off harp experience and I am so glad I did, as it led to the wonderful experience Jen so beautifully recounts below…..thank you, Michelle.
My part of the story –
Years ago, Caz and I sat down in the alchemist in Brum and we began to compile our 40 before 40 lists. We are both busy mums with jobs and 3 children apiece, so we are used to time flying by. The list was about identifying experiences that we would love, and rather than them go onto that bucket list that we never get around to doing, it gave us the permission, if you like, to prioritise some of the things that we wanted to achieve.
My list included a lot of travel, but after I have written the obvious ones down, I got to think really hard about what I wanted to do. Like many, I’d always been mesmerised by the angelic melodies of the harp, and I’d stared in wonder at it when I’d been to concerts. I loved the Christmassy feel of the instrument, and how it could convey such a range of feelings and situations. Without knowing how I’d make it happen, I wrote it on my list. “Have a go at playing the harp”
Many months later, Caroline surprised me on my 38th birthday with the girl of a harp experience. My lovely friend of over 30 years had tracked down Michelle, explained the situation and bought me a harp experience.
How many people can remember what they got given for a particular birthday? It has to be a really special gift, right ? I’ll always remember this gift, because receiving it, the anticipation and the experience itself were amazing.
As soon as I met Michelle, we hit it off immediately. She introduced me to her harp, affectionately called Flora, and told me all about her journey through music. She played for me, and I was in heaven. Then I had a go. I felt the weight of it against me, and I learned about the pedals and the different sounds they create. To be so close to such an impressive instrument and have a mini private concert is an experience in itself,
Michelle was great at explaining it to me, and within 30 minutes, I was even playing a tune. I then did what everybody wants to do – that gorgeous, dreamy thing where you draw your fingers over the harp to make those heavenly sounds – performing a gliss, was sheer bliss! The whole experience was exhilarating, and a real dream come true. As a flautist, I’d taken my flute along in the hope that we could do a bit of a duet. It was so nice to play together. It led on to a concert in the local community where we both played together – yet another exhilarating experience!
Michelle is so enthusiastic about the harp that it’s infectious. It was a truly special gift, from a truly special friend, and what’s more, a friendship with Michelle sprang from it too.
I can’t recommend Michelle and her intro to harp lessons highly enough. It’s a great present – environmentally friendly and the chance to have an experience of a lifetime. For orchestra, concert or opera enthusiasts – it’s the ultimate gift.