Almost 4 years ago, Mahlon came up to me and showed me a picture of little pink and purple harps. I honestly thought they were toys. I laughed a little and asked him what he wanted to do with those.
He said he had seen them at the NAMM show, and he would like me to go down to southern Indiana and check them out.
I didn’t work for Mahlon yet, and I honestly hadn’t touched a harp in quite a while. I had played in school, but I had never owned one of my own. I didn’t think it was really worth the trouble. Then I saw the price.
The reason I quit playing the harp was financial. I couldn’t afford one.
Those things are really expensive!
I had looked into renting a harp – but with a list of restrictions a mile long, and an expensive process to boot – I couldn’t see doing it on a piano teacher’s pay.
I told him that I really didn’t know that much about harps anymore. But, I would be happy to help him out.
A couple of weeks later, my mom (also a former harpist) and I went down to Rees Harp Company in Rising Sun, Indiana.
There we met Garen, Melissa and Darlene. They were all super friendly. We toured the factory, played harps, asked a lot of questions… It was super cool.
The big surprise of the day was the harps themselves. I couldn’t believe how good they sounded! They seriously blew me away. They weighed about 3 pounds, and started out at under $500! I wanted to take one home that day!
When I went back to the store, I apologized to Mahlon for calling them toys. They are hand-made, finely built instruments – with all the details in order. They sound great, they look cool, they even come in electric models. Awesome.
I gave him my blessing to bring them in. I even agreed to help figure out what he could do with them.
A few short months later, I was working for Mahlon part-time, when the first shipment of Harpsicles arrived.
We had so many colors in that first order.
It was so much fun; getting them all out, giving them all names (this one’s Conner, that one’s Edward), tuning them, playing them… I felt like a kid on Christmas.
Over the years, we have had several more big shipments. I still look forward to getting them all ready to go out in the world and make new harpists.
We’ve continued to work with Rees Harp Company, and they keep exceeding our expectations. They’ve helped with every possible angle. Everything from customers slipping on the ice and smashing their harps, to having William and Garen come up to teach us how to regulate and repair their instruments. They are still awesome.
Now, I’ve been playing again – and teaching. We’ve expanded our program in many ways. We do lease to own, trade-up programs, more teachers, workshops, ensembles, skype lessons….
We’ve even added a second brand – Dusty Strings of Seattle, WA – to our shop. (More about my love for them later 🙂
I love it all.
Now, anyone can play the harp that wants to. Finances don’t need to stand in the way.
I’m so excited to see it all continue to grow, and bring this amazing instrument into more and more lives.
Thanks for Reading & Happy Playing!