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‘Oldest Stringed’ Instrument as Versatile As It Is Beautiful; Harpist Performs in Johnson City

Harpist Haley Ping will perform as well as present the program 'Meet the Harp' at the Johnson City Library on June 19. Ping plays across Central Texas, including with the Fredericksburg Community Orchestra at the Van Der Stucken Festival in Fredericksburg in March. Courtesy photo

JOHNSON CITY — There's more to the harp than being an angel's instrument of choice.

Harpist Haley Ping plans to share the story and the music of the “oldest stringed” instrument during a Johnson City Library program. “Meet the Harp” is 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at the library, 501 Nugent Ave. The event is free. Refreshments will be served.

The program will include a history of the harp and how it is used in bands, orchestras, operas, and other musical entertainment.

The harp dates back thousands of years, all the way to ancient times.

“The most well-known harpist was King David,” Ping said.

According to scripture, David would play and sing praises while watching sheep, in times of both happiness and sadness, and when he needed forgiveness.

David inspired Ping to write the song “King David Plays the Harp,” which she’ll perform during the June 19 program.

She’ll talk about the variety of harps, including the 34-string troubadour harp, the 36-string Irish harp, and the double-action harp.

Ping, an accomplished harpist who performs with the Fredericksburg Community Orchestra, will play modern pieces as well as older songs to show off the instrument's incredible range.

“Harps have angelic sounds,” Ping said, "but they’re not just for angels in heaven.”

The musician began playing the harp two decades ago, and it has become a passion.

Ping previously performed at the Johnson City Library during a Christmas program this past year.

“I thought (the harp) would be great for Christmas singalongs,” librarian Maggie Goodman said. “I find harp music relaxing. The sound is beautiful. 'Beautiful' is not enough of an adjective.”

Ping knows the harp isn’t an instrument that many play. She hopes people will come to look and listen and discover the wonders and joys of the harp.

“I didn’t realize people hadn’t heard the harp in their life,” she said. “People like the mystique of the harp. They think it looks beautiful and majestic.”

Goodman agreed.

“The sound of it rolls and takes you over completely,” she said. “A lot of people relate harp music to one thing or the other and don’t realize how many different types of music are played from ancient times to present day.”

Go to jclibrarysite.org or call (830) 868-4469 for more on this program and other upcoming events.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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