I am so pleased to write with some great news! After 5 months of travel, on January 31st I finally arrived in Brazil to begin work on the Harping for Harps project for which I began fundraising a year ago.
When I got to Rio, I was thrilled to see that the three harps which I had been able to donate had arrived safely from France! The sets of replacement strings were missing from the original shipment but they are also on their way to Rio now. The humidity here is certainly higher than in Calgary so it’s a good thing we’ll have the extra strings.
In the first couple of days, I met with most of the people with whom I will be working and discussed many of the details involved. There are only a couple of books for teaching so I have ordered some from the U.S. and France, hoping they will arrive in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be setting up two teaching studios as the projects are actually in 2 different cities (Rio de Janeiro and Vassouras, a small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro) so I will be going back and forth every week. There is still a lot of planning to do but I am very encouraged. I will have two teaching assistants, Rafael (seen in the photo above along with my dear friend and colleague, Cristina Braga) and Rayana, who will be with me for most of the time I am with the children. In this way, besides solidifying their own knowledge of harp technique and repertoire, they will also be learning teaching methods and be better equipped to continue the work with the children once I return to Canada.
As the children are now on the summer holiday and will not return to school until March 2nd, I am taking a few weeks up in the northeast of Brazil to work intensively on my Portuguese both in private lessons and in conversation with locals as well as to have some fun in the ocean. The upcoming time with the children is bound to be very intense and there is a lot of work to do to get the projects up and running on a solid foundation in the 3 months remaining in my sabbatical! The time already seems too short but if necessary, I may be able to extend it by one month. We’ll see!
To all of the Harping for Harps donors, I have a request for some feedback. It is quite common here to give names to the instruments (my harps all have names too!) and I would love to have your input on this. I have a few ideas for the 3 harps we have been able to donate so here are three sets of options:
– 1. Henriette, Carlos, Judy. This represents the direct lineage from my teacher, Judy Loman, a prodigy of the great Spanish/American harpist Carlos Salzedo, who was one of the two most renowned students of the great French harpist, Henriette Renié.
– 2. Calgary, Alberta, Canada – no explanation needed
– 3. Gabriel (Fauré), Claude (Debussy), Marcel (Tournier) – 3 of the great composers for the harp in the 20th century.
If you’d like to put in your vote for the naming, please leave it as a comment here. I will have to make the decision by March 1st so please get back to me quickly!