My friend Christina and I started playing harp duos together the very first semester we got to Eastman for our master’s degrees. I think that our teacher accepting two graduate harpists together in the same year was a little unusual, so we were very happy that we both got in! Both of us are very quiet people, so I think that we decided to take chamber music together as a way to become friends.
Anyway, it worked! The two of us took chamber music together our first year, and then began gigging together our second year. We played at a school, lots of retirement homes, and finally at an art gallery where several dancers from the University of Rochester performed with us in a routine they had choreographed themselves (which was one of the coolest performances EVER). We were getting to the end of our time in graduate school together when we finally said hey… we should do this for real.
We decided to form an ensemble and attempt to play professional concerts together, and so Lilac 94 was born. I have to say, coming up with a name for our group was tough! I’ve never gotten a tattoo, but I imagine it’s a similar process - you want to choose really carefully, and make it something meaningful. We wanted a name that would reference Rochester or Eastman, hence the lilac part - the flower of Rochester is a lilac. 94 is the number of strings we have between our two harps.
Since after graduation Christina moved to North Carolina and I now live in New York City, getting together to play is a little more difficult than it used to be. We have had several trips planned together, the first of which was this past January, when I went to North Carolina on my winter break. We played several concerts together - a children’s program for the students at Wilmington Christian Academy, and a concert program that we recently came up with, “The Harp is a Drum,” at a local church. We were also hired by the Friends of Music on Bald Head Island to come out and play a concert for them, which turned out to be our most interesting adventure yet.
For starters, Bald Head Island is, well, an island. So we had to take a ferry to get there.
We got our harps like this to the venue, which was a cute little chapel a short distance away.
We got dinner at a local bar/restaurant. I had a salad and these fried cheese things, which were AMAZING.
I mean, it was fresh mozzarella, fried. Way better than those crappy fast food cheese sticks. How could you go wrong?
The bar was covered in doodled-on dollar bills.
Oh yeah - and the concert was great, too.
I had such a fun time playing harp duos. I can’t wait for the next time (concert dates in New York coming soon!!!!)!!!!!!!!