“Humans of Sacred Heart” – Anna Oliver ’24

How long have you been playing the harp and what inspired you to start? 

“When I was six years old, my family traveled to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  During our trip, I saw many people playing traditional harps and immediately fell in love.  My dad bought a small harp for me, but it took a long time to find a teacher, so I did not start formal training until I was twelve.  I soon graduated to using a slightly larger 22-string harp and I am now playing a 45-string pedal harp.  I now play with an organization here in Greenwich called Music in the Woods.”

What does your orchestra typically do to celebrate Christmas and how has COVID-19 altered this?

“In normal years, we play Christmas music and give small concerts.  Additionally, I often go and perform in different places like retirement homes as a representative of Music in the Woods.  Most of the time, we hold small concierges for a small group of people.  It is a unique performance because for these concierges our audience selects the music, meaning we must learn whatever they require us to play.  It is a wonderful way to be exposed to all different genres, but during the holiday season, we tend to see overlap in music requests.  With COVID-19 restrictions, our holiday traditions have been more difficult, but I am still learning the different carols on my harp and we plan on holding a Zoom performance soon.”

How does participating in holiday performances augment your Christmas experience? 

“It certainly makes the Christmas season more exciting and each performance is different.  The many concerts tend to make the holidays very busy, as they can be spread across the whole month of December, however, I can meet a lot of new people and it is wonderful to spread the ‘Christmas Spirit’ through music.  Visiting places such as retirement homes can be deeply impactful and the residents love seeing harpists and hearing the music.  One of the upsides of working with Music in the Woods is that it is very flexible, and not everyone in Music in the Woods performs during one concierge, meaning I can still celebrate the holidays with my family.” 

The King Street Chronicle thanks freshman Anna Oliver ’24 for her contributions to “Humans of Sacred Heart.”