So excited! My new van Mary has arrived and we are getting close to departure. There is so much still to do but I wanted to send a shout out to everyone who has supported and encouraged me over the past months. My folding bike is already safely stored in the “garage” and I’ll soon have a mattress too! Today, I’ll take a short drive up to Cam Clark Ford Airdrie to say a special thank-you and let them hear what hopefully many others will be able to enjoy in the coming months – always in a covid-safe way!
Once again the pandemic has thrown a huge curveball – not particularly unexpected but still so frustrating and discouraging. Although the planned Harp to Heart launch concert cannot now be presented as planned with so many wonderful colleagues making music together, there will still be a livestream on April 18th and I really hope to see you there. Please go to the Polaris centre link for more information and to buy your online access ticket. More than ever, we need to support each other in whatever ways we can and I’m determined to carry through on my commitment to share the comfort and transformational power of my instrument and live music as well as I can.
Nearly a year has passed since we all began to face the challenges that the new virus was presenting to us. My last post in May spoke about Life in Limbo. I have long since realized that we could not remain that way, while also recognizing that moving forward with any kind of specific “Plan” was not possible. At best it could be “plan” with a small “p” along with an internal attitude of acceptance that it would be so for a long time – maybe even forever! Is this what we are all meant to learn? That yes, we can have good basic ideas on how we want to live our lives and at the same time, be open and present to what each new day offered to us? In my own experience, life is certainly most interesting at the edge of “knowing” and in my own spontaneous response, though I sometimes long for a time to breathe and just rest. It’s all about balance, right?!
When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all concerts, I felt called 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.
By the beginning of September 2020, I had purchased and modified a Ford Transit High-roof van (the only vehicle tall enough to fit my concert harp) into a self-contained, rolling tiny home and concert hall. And so I set off on the first Harp to Heart (HRP2HRT) journey with my beloved harp, Amadei, my yoga mat and my cat Misty for company, intending to ease mental health stress for as many people as possible.
Over the next 7 weeks, I drove 6000km through Alberta and British Columbia and played a total of 33 events for seniors, students, disabled 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 to escape the reality 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.
After an incredible first journey, I got back home exhausted, excited and ready to consider how to move forward with Harp to Heart. An offer from Cam Clark Ford Airdrie for a new vehicle helped me make the decision to purchase a new van to be built to my specs and a sponsorship from Strut Creative for a new website were two unexpected confirmations that I was on the right track. There are many other aspects of planning in the works to be ready to be back on the road for a cross-Canada journey in April 2021. As you can imagine, my personal, emotional and financial investment in this project is great. The cost of gas, harp strings, insurance and mobile internet are ongoing expenses I really need help with in order to bring Live music out into the world right now.
The new Harp to Heart website is under construction and will soon be live. For now, I am asking for your support by contributing and sharing my fundraiser to your communities.
Please click on the Harp to Heart logo for more information and photos from the first trip and follow #HRP2HRT on Instagram and Facebook for more photos and stories. I would be thrilled to have you on this journey with Amadei and me!