Pot Luck

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Getting your fill is a piece of cake.

Alison Reese is Editor of Harp Column.

Alison Reese is Editor of Harp Column.

I love a good potluck dinner. Who doesn’t? Filling your plate high with an array of meatloafs, Jell-O salads, mystery crockpot casseroles, and enough deviled eggs to stuff yourself silly. You’d think, given my penchant for potlucks, that I would love the all-you-can-eat buffet, but you won’t catch me dead at an Old Country Buffet or Ponderosa. No, it’s not just the abundance of choice at a potlock that I love, it’s that nearly every dish is a homecooked specialty of the person who made it. It’s not mass-produced. It’s good, authentic, original food.

In each issue of Harp Column, we aim to give you the best potluck we can muster—plenty of good stuff to fill your plate from experts and interesting voices, and a selection that offers something for everyone. I think this issue is a perfect example of a harp potluck.

Vancouver Symphony Principal Harpist Elizabeth Bligh Volpe weighs in with this issue’s Sounding Board on orchestral markings. Her humorous and spot-on thoughts had me nodding my head and yelling “Amen!” as I read her article. This may become required reading for my students.

We close out our Arranger Profile series with one of the harp world’s most prolific arrangers (she has over 200 arrangements!), Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher. This has been a fascinating series of vignettes, and Rees-Rohrbacher’s profile is a fitting end to the series.

As usual, our Ask the Experts column gives us three thought-provoking perspectives on a potentially sticky situation. I look forward to reading this column every issue just so I can mentally file all of the great advice in case I need it down the road—which I have.

Our feature “Musical Comfort Food” fits right in with all of this talk about potlucks. We asked harpists a simple question: what music do you crave when you want something warm and nourishing? Their answers were as varied as the musicians themselves. The one response we did hear over and over—“That’s an interesting question that I’ve never thought about before.” What’s your musical meatloaf?

Before you get too comfortable, we’ve got some work for you to do. In “Five Easy Fixes”, top harp technicians from across the country reveal five things all harpists should be able to fix on their instruments. Don’t worry. They are all fairly simple fixes and the harp techs give step-by-step instructions. Wait, it gets better. Several technicians even include how-to videos that are available at harpcolumn.com.

Our interview this issue is a first. We sat down with not one, not two, not three, but four members of the Fleisher family as they premiered a four-harp concerto with the Naples Philharmonic, under the baton of legendary pianist Leon Fleisher this past fall. The Fleisher’s family tree is a fascinating one, as is the tale of how this concerto came to be (the idea came to Leon Fleisher in the shower).

Harp Column CD review editor Alison Young, a classical music host and producer on Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media, gives her “outsider” ear to two new albums you don’t want to miss.

Finally, what potluck is complete without good friends. After a year away, Music Review editor Jan Jennings is back! Jan’s music reviews have been a mainstay of Harp Column since the the magazine’s inception (more than 20 years ago!), and as with an old friend you haven’t seen for a while, it’s good to have Jan’s familiar voice back in the music review.

Enjoy the potluck, but make sure you leave a few deviled eggs for me. •

Alison Reese is editor of Harp Column. She is a freelance performer and teacher in West Michigan. E-mail her at areese@harpcolumn.com.

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Editor of Harp Column, freelance harpist, private teacher, hot yoga lover, and grammar geek.

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