News from the Harp Foundation: Celebrating New Beginnings in 2015!

Thank you, BHHS Legacy Foundation!

BHHS Legacy Foundation


The Harp Foundation

Through Experience Matters with a

Resource Development Encore Fellow!

The Harp Foundation welcomes Gary Yazwa (Yaz) as our Experience Matters Resource Development Encore Fellow. Gary is a seasoned executive having created and grown the Tempe Boys and Girls Clubs and those in the East Valley before moving to Seattle, WA to achieve his considerable success growing their Boys and Girls Clubs. He already has The Harp Foundation Board and staff moving quickly into a new strategy and action plan for fund development and sustainability. We are grateful to BHHS Legacy Foundation and its leadership for their generous funding of Yaz’ position and development, and for recognizing the impact our live therapeutic harp music contributes to reducing pain and anxiety for patients all over the Valley.

Thank you BHHS Legacy!


Jocelyn and Len create partnerships with

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Scottsdale Memory Care

We are happy to announce new partnerships with new locations for our harpists to provide the power of live therapeutic harp music.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Scottsdale Memory Care inaugurated live therapeutic harp programs in January, 2015 and will continue these programs open-ended. We are thrilled to work directly with CTCA as our missions are similar in providing integrated medical modalities to patients, their families and medical staff, and we look forward to growing our programs with them over the coming years. We are also pleased to provide a means to decrease anxiety in a memory care facility at Scottsdale Memory Care and hope to increase our collaboration with them over time. Harpists Jocelyn Obermeyer and Shannon Schumann were instrumental in making these opportunities come to reality. Thank you, too, to our Board member, Cheryl Hintzen-Gaines, for introducing The Harp Foundation to CTCA! It’s a great partnership.

The Dennis Mitchems Fund a Program honoring their close friend, Kenneth Husband and his life’s work, at the Beatitudes Campus of Care through a lifetime friendship with our Founding Director, Joyce Buekers!

The Harp Foundation is pleased to begin a live therapeutic harp program at The Beatitudes Campus of Care both in their care facilities and generally. Dennis Mitchem and Ken Husband were lifelong business partners and the Mitchems, long time family friends of the Buekers, started the fund for this program to begin in the Spring at The Beatitudes Campus of Care.

Thank you, Joyce and the Mitchems!

Dignity Health offering Human Kindness

And always, Dignity Health partners with us to try new areas as harpist Jocelyn Obermeyer rotates through both Barrow Rehabilitation and the new Hospice of the Valley unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital with live therapeutic harp music. Thank you, Sister Margaret and Arnold Bohn, for our new “leave behind” postcards. We are making a difference for patients, their families and the medical staff!

Thank you Dignity Health!

Victoria Lund Foundation Continues our work at Cardon Children’s Medical Center

Our strong program at Cardon Children Medical Center continues with another generous grant from Victoria Lund Foundation. Three of our harpists play for all floors at Cardon Children’s and work side-by-side with the music therapists on their staff. There are priceless stories of families requesting the harp be played for their child.

Thank you, Victoria Lund Foundation, for your visionary gift to sustain our program for many years!

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center loves our harpists as do the many people we serve at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center.

You can actually find a small group of women talking happily when the harp is playing while they are getting treatments. Our work reduces pain and anxiety!

Mark your calendars to participate in Arizona Gives Day on April 7, 2015 with a gift to

The Harp Foundation!

Alla Plays to a Young Listener!

Our Therapeutic Harpist, Alla Yashneva, plays her harp to many listeners at the newly established live therapeutic harp program at Chandler Regional Medical Center. Thank you, Marty Breeden!

A young boy is mesmerized by her playing. Alla usually plays for the medical staff in the Trauma One Unit at CRMC to reduce stress levels in this highly charged emergency room.

Our harpist, Laura Goldstein, joins MIM!

Laura Goldstein, one of our therapeutic harpists, has joined the Musical Instrument Museum as an Assistant Curator. Stop by to see her or invite her to speak to you with your guests. She has many stories to share!

Congratulations, Laura!!

Stephen Hartman, American Virtuoso Harpist,

in Concert

The American Harp Society and Harps Arizona will sponsor Stephen Hartman, American Virtuoso Harpist, in concert, free to the public:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

3:00 PM

Desert Foothills United Methodist Church

2156 East Liberty Lane

Phoenix, Arizona 85048

Join The Harp Foundation as a member!

Become an angel and support our overall programs across the Valley. Call our office to become a member or donate on our website at! Help reduce anxiety for patients in hospitals!

The Harp Foundation

(602) 265 4014

400 W. Camelback Rd. Suite 304

Phoenix, AZ 85013


Copyright © December, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

The Harp Foundation | 400 West Camelback Road • Suite 304 | Phoenix | AZ | 85013

Art Rocks! presenteer: Anne Vanschothorst – Dance! Marie Dance!


It’s things like this that we live for

Why Do You Need Live Music? Part I

David Ice - Harpist

David Ice (pictured above) is a fabulous Phoenix harpist. He is also an entertaining writer, and gets to the point in a way we can all appreciate. Here is an open letter to a bridal magazine, which he posted in the Harpcolumn (membership required to view forum posts)

As a vendor at the recent Bridal Fashion Debut bridal show in Phoenix, Arizona on June 10, 2012 I was given a copy of your magazine.

What distressed me was an article. In it the author states “if the DJ’s already there for the reception, you just have to adjust the time for the ceremony…’s cheaper than bringing a harpist or a guitar player in.”

The advantages of having a live musician—an instrumentalist—for the ceremony are huge, and I feel this has been totally neglected and our contributions ignored. Indeed, with the possible exception of the Phoenix Boy’s Choir, I can find no other ceremony musicians advertising in your magazine. And, given the above statement, I can guess why.

Why do I feel this way? Let me explain, and please, really think about what I’m saying.

Let us assume that a DJ is providing the ceremony music for a wedding ceremony. Now, I’m not picking on DJs at all. This is just the physical reality of how things are.

All it takes is one lost bobby pin and all the timings, rehearsals, and planning go out the window. The ring bearer starts to cry, and simply refuses to go down the aisle. (I see this more often than not!)

The DJ has 73 seconds of recorded processional music. And the kid refuses to budge. What is the DJ going to do? All he can do is hit REPEAT.

A live musician can do much better. For example, I can realize what is happening, and think to myself, “okay, go back to bar 17, play up to bar 26, then vamp on bars 23-26 until the kid starts moving, and then jump to the coda.” Voila….a processional that times out perfectly. If I need an additional 22 seconds of music—or 8—I can make it work. A DJ has no other option than hit REPEAT and fade out. Think about this. Play a CD….hit repeat at the end of a tune, and then fade it out at random. This is exactly what the audience will hear.

Conversely, you can rehearse a processional until you are blue in the face—but at the actual event, people are nervous and can practically run down the aisle. Your 73 seconds of music must now be cut to 42 seconds. A live musician can do it. The DJ has no option but to just fade it out—just like turning down your car radio.

And more often than not—we’ve ALL done it—you hit the wrong button or hit it too many times on your CD player, your iPod, your computer—and the wrong track plays. Another vendor told me about a wedding where the Canon in D didn’t repeat…what came on was the Theme from The Tonight Show. Oops. I’ve personally heard a DJ start the first dance for the bride and groom and hit the wrong button on his computer, and what came out the speakers could only be described in polite company as The F-Bomb Deluxe.

Similarly, having a family member sing to a karoke track can be hysterically awful. People get nervous and emotional, and it’s a rare wedding where something does not go wrong using a pre-recorded track. I was at a wedding on Sunday where the singer (a family friend) got nervous, and was soon 4 or 5 bars out-of-sync with the track. It was truly awful. A live musician can follow and accompany appropriately. But a mechanical recorded track marches on regardless of whatever problems the singer is having!

Another personal story: I had a bride ready to go down the aisle. I got the cue from her, and started Here Comes The Bride. A couple of seconds later, I looked up to see where she was. She was nowhere to be seen!!!

I started adapting and vamping. It was the longest 90 seconds of my life—did she get cold feet? Was she the proverbial “runaway bride”??

She finally reappeared. It seems she forgot her bouquet, and ran off to find it!

Had it been a DJ, he would have had no option than to hit REPEAT several times. And it would have been immediately obvious that something was wrong.

As it was, I was able to vamp a very long Fanfare and Introduction to the classic Wagner processional—while aging about 10 years in the process—praying she would reappear! But in the end it was seamless and nobody knew what had happened.

If a bride is spending huge sums for everything else to be perfect, why gamble on the ceremony music? Would you advise, “don’t worry about shoes, nobody looks at your feet anyway”? Music is the emotional glue that holds the ceremony together! Has there ever been a wedding guest who stated, “Every time I see a pink lisianthus I cry remembering your wedding” or “every time I see a Vera Wang #1729 I think of your wedding”?

But people will say, “Every time I hear that song, I think of your wedding.”
Since the music is so important, isn’t it equally important to make sure it fits, it is in sync, and it is as flawless as possible? DJs can only do so much. A live musician can do so much more.


David M. Ice

I  mean, which would you rather have – this…

Or this?

The Triviality of Impossiblities

Deborah Henson Conant, arguably the most creative harpist alive. She’s working in a new way, touring with Steve Vai this coming fall, and chronicling it in her blog:

I’m so far out of my comfort zone – so far out of my natural-ability-zone. … When I see my students experiencing it, I know it’s just their brain shifting from an old way of knowing music to a new way, and that the deep sense of disorientation and uncoordination is part of making that shift.  I know that the things that seem obvious to me, are often completely invisible to them until the structures finally become clear in their minds.

There is a saying in mathematics: Every problem is impossible until you know how to solve it, and then it’s trivial.  Confusion is a good thing.* When you are confused, that is a clue that there’s more to the what is happening than what meets the eye — you are in a rich situation, and you are on the verge of discovering something completely new, something that no one has ever known before, and you are going to make it yours.

So is confusion an essential part of creativity? Is it even possible to make anything new without feeling groundless? At least for a little bit?


* Thank you, Joe, for this lesson.
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