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Harp in a Big Band

I love playing with a big band. The acoustic-electric Camac Blue harp can go right into the house system and be heard clearly over all the brass, saxes and rhythm section. With the right arrangement, the harp can lend interesting colors and textures to the mix.


Rose Garden Wedding

At Fess Parker’s Rose Garden the rose bushes have matured and are in full boom. With the bubbling fountain, the perfect blue sky and the beach just across the street it’s a fantastic location for a wedding celebration.

Harpist plays in Rose Garden at Fess Parker's.

Blue Harp Wedding

Last week I had the pleasure of playing for a wedding ceremony at the beautiful Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. The groom had asked me if I would accompany him while he serenaded his bride in the middle of the ceremony. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. I thought he might feel so emotional that he would get too choked up to sing but he felt it wouldn’t be a problem, so I arrived early before the wedding for a short rehearsal of the song. It went fantastically well, sooo....

In the middle of the ceremony, the groom walked to where I was positioned with the harp, picked up his guitar, and we hit it. The guy sang like some kind of rock star and it was nothing other than pure fun to play back-up for him! He maintained complete composure but I got a bit teary because the song was such an open-hearted declaration of love and he sang it with uninhibited passion.

Laurie plays Blue harp at Ojai Valley Inn

The bride and groom had informed me in advance that their color theme was blue and orange so I though it was a perfect opportunity to bring the Blue harp. After all, it won’t always be the case that I own a harp that is color-coordinated to the event so I thought I should take advantage of the moment!

Pink flower on Blue wedding harp

Blue Harp for Jazz

Lately, I’ve been considering the benefits of an acoustic-electric harp as I find myself more frequently playing in large ensembles. I have excellent pickups on the soundboard of my concert grand harp and they make it sound great when amplified. The problem comes when I need lots of volume -- if I just keep turning up the sound it can get muddy and boomy as the five pickups try to take in the vibrations of that entire soundboard.

So last summer at the American Harp Society Conference in New York City I had the chance to hear Camac’s Little Big Blue harp in action during several concerts and I had the time to play it myself. Certainly the color is attention-getting but the power is also impressive. I took the plunge and brought that harp home and I’m enjoying getting to know all the possibilities it has to offer.

The Blue harp can be played acoustically and has a sweet tone but the real thrill comes when I plug it in -- there are 44 pickups, one on every string, so even when I dial up the sound every string comes through clearly without dissolving into muddiness. There are many possibilities for varying the sound but so far, I’m just happy to be heard.

My Blue harp (who’s name is Betty) made her debut at Soho, a local Santa Barbara club, with my jazz combo. It was so easy to plug it in and not have to fiddle around with sound - I was heard over the drummer, keyboards, sax, guitar, bass and vocalist and had no problems with feedback or distortion.

Laurie plays blue harp at Soho.

A few days later I took her to a Christmas party as a solo act. Camac makes this harp in any color, including natural wood, but blue was the original color and I like that it’s less than subtle. ;-)

Blue harp with Christmas tree.

A New Year’s Eve gig was another opportunity to take Betty out to ring in 2013. I’m looking forward to making more great music with the Blue harp!

Laurie in blue dress with blue harp.