Photos by Kaleah Wooten | Contributing Writer
This past Thursday, beautiful melodies breezed through Middle Tennessee State University’s campus when MTSU’s School of Music’s Harp Studio played a pop-up concert in the Quad.
Right outside the library, listeners got to witness classical standards, musical theatre favorites and R&B hits staged on the harp, one of the world’s oldest instruments.
The history of the harp dates back to 3000 B.C. Although the harp originated from ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures, the largest varieties of the instrument are found in Africa. The harp was once an aristocratic instrument, where the harpists were challenged to evoke three distinct emotions among audiences: tears, laughter and sleep.
Observers on campus were drawn in by graceful harmonies of the harp ensemble’s first piece, “Gymnopédie no. 1,” a famous classical piece composed by Erik Satie, followed by “The Little Fountain” (Samuel Pratt), a solo performed by Junior Victoria Roderick.
As the listeners sat comfortably and enjoyed the performances of classical themes, the third song of the set, tuned the audience in a different direction. Sophomore harpist Amaya Glover showed us the versatility of the harp with R&B ballad, “B.S.” by Jhené Aiko.
More strollers on campus became enamored as the instrumentalists strummed and plucked the tunes of “What A Wonderful World,” “Feed the Birds,” from Mary Poppins, and “Selections” from Cinderella.
So what’s so great about actually playing the harp?
Kaelan Allen, a freshman harp student, said that she likes to play instruments that are bigger than her.
Amaya Glover acknowledged that she admires the flexibility of the harp beyond classical music, like Grammy-nominated R&B artist H.E.R., who has featured the harp in her sultry tunes.
For Victoria Roderick, being a harpist is a spiritual experience. As a composer, Roderick states “the sky is the limit,” and she can “open herself up to many possibilities with the instrument.” She also explains her appreciation for the instrument because of how old it is, and yet its intricacies are still respected in the modern music world.
MTSU’s community experienced a glimpse into the complexity and elegance that is produced by the harp. The musicologist and Adjunct Professor of Harp in the MTSU School of Music, Dr. Sarah K. Crocker, said that she intentionally set the concert on April 22, Earth Day. The concert could not have been scheduled at a more perfect time— the day was delightfully sunny, and hues of spring were in the air.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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