It all started when I met a group of folk harpers in St. Patrick’s church. It was Sunday, October 6, 1996 at 2:30 in the afternoon and I was there as the Handbell Choir Director from the First United Methodist Church, Oneida, NY. Our bells were asked to share music for an ecumenical service for Victims of Violence. There were a variety of musical groups in attendance. One of the groups was “A Harmony of Harps”, a group of folk harps, all different shapes and sizes. Now, they didn’t play all in tune or all together, but I fell in love with the sound of the harp that day and soon after taught myself to play.
I became a member of “A Harmony of Harps” and enjoyed our monthly meetings. We would play duets and ensemble pieces of music. Others would offer solo pieces they have been perfecting. I quickly grew in knowledge of the harp. Approximately one year after I began playing the folk harp, our group offered a workshop and concert given by professional harpist, Christina (Tina) Tourin. She talked about Harp Therapy. Her father had been hospitalized for a serious illness. While there he asked her to bring in the harp and play for him, which she did. Very quickly, it became obvious to her and the nursing staff that harp music helps people. Soon other patients were requesting a visit from Tina and her harp. Hence, the “International Harp Therapy Program” was begun.