Thursday, July 21, 2011 • A15
A workshop aims to bring artists together and develop a sense of belonging.
see page A17…
The World Harp Congress and Festival comes to Canada for the first time and a local talent will perform at an opening gala. by Heather Colpitts firstname.lastname@example.org
Plucked from obscurity But an upcoming performance has her nervous. Organizers of the World Harp Congress and Festival asked her teacher to suggest a couple of students to perform at the opening gala July 24. Cannon was chosen. That means she will be performing in front of the top harp musicians, educators and makers in the world. She’ll even meet the man who made her harp in France. For the congress, she’ll play Winter in Vancouver, an original work by her teacher,
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Elizabeth Volpe Bligh, as well as taking in the workshops, lectures and gatherings. Public performances in various music genres are held each evening of the congress which runs July 24-30. It’s the first time the event has been held in Canada. Find out more at www.worldharpcongress2011.com. Performing at the opening gala is a highpoint in the music career of a young woman who now plans to make music her life. Cannon started out playing piano like so many other kids. She saw a harp some-
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sther Cannon knew as a young child what she wanted to do when she grew up. “I told my mom I wanted to be a pedestrian nurse,” the 19-year-old Trinity Western University student said with a chuckle. And with a tousle of curly hair and a ready smile, she would have charmed patients as a pediatric nurse. But Cannon’s trips to the hospital nowadays don’t involve IVs and bedpans. Instead, she has to wheel in a 72-pound behemoth bound up with 47 strings and seven pedals so she can perform harp music for patients. One of her most unique performances occurred in a hospital. How often is a musician flattered by having an unconscious audience? Cannon’s mom asked her to perform for TWU director of choral activities Wes Janzen, who was seriously ill. He later told her that he didn’t remember much except for the harp music. “It cuts to the soul of people,” she said of music. Scientists will provide the explanation about what part of the brain fires off when it hears music or how music affects the brain’s neurochemistry. But they can’t explain why music exists in every culture and why it has for centuries. “It’s very powerful,” Cannon said. The young woman who lives in Milner has performed in hospitals as well as at private functions and weddings, business gatherings and churches.
where when she was 11 and told her family she would like one because it was pretty. But beginner harps aren’t something that can be picked up at a department store. Her father researched harps for about a year before buying a small one. “My dad said ‘if I buy you a harp, you are going to be a harpist,’” she recalled. Cannon played the $3,000 beginner model for three years before graduating to her current 72-pound, $26,000 model. The little girl who wanted to be a nurse realized at about the age of 15 that music was a career option. Cannon has her own website where people can book her for functions. Of course summers are booked up with weddings but other times of the year bring her opportunities to perform at other types of functions. Her opportunities have some from the connections she’s made as a TWU music student (she’s in the third year of a fouryear program) and the music sector. In addition to awards from various local music festivals, the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Academy of Music as well as events and workshops. In summer 2010, she performed at the Chan Centre with the Taipei National University of the Arts Orchestra (“We played Star Wars”), with the recording orchestra for the closing ceremonies of the 2010 BC Summer Games and at a swanky event for the cast of the Young and the Restless. Cannon admits she’s not a soap opera person but could tell the people there looked like they should be famous. The serving staff filled her in on who she was performing for. While others were asking to have their photos taken with the soap stars, the TV folks were asking Cannon if they could have their photos taken with her and her harp. The harp congress and festival is a chance for Cannon to meet the people in the harp world whom she views as superstars.