On Sunday, October 10 Esabelle harp made her first-ever appearance at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury, VT! This special cross-strung wire harp played an improvised arrangement of a medieval organanum, Benedicamus Domino (from the Abbey of St. Martial), accompanied by husband George Matthew Jr. on the church’s 1875 Johnson tracker pipe organ.
The organ is tuned to A440 but to prevent wire string breakage her builder designed Esabelle to be tuned to A415 (any higher than that and her wires will start snapping!). So George accompanied my improvisation on the harp, playing a half tone lower on the organ. A lot of sharps!
We are having hybrid services now in the age of Covid, both in person and on Zoom, so Esabelle was fitted with a microphone, as was the organ. The cable came discretely out the back of the harp and I played her standing up, with the instrument sitting on the organ bench next to right next to George and the organ pipes a few feet away from both of us.
We have live sound reinforcement in the church, which made the low notes on Esabelle easily boom throughout the sanctuary! The top notes shimmered and sparkled on top of the organ’s singing pipes. During rehearsal the Congregational Church’s bells could be clearly heard through our open stained glass windows (required for in-person attendance to keep the air flow moving, but now makes the church a bit cold on these cooler New England autumn mornings).
We had success with our Zoom transmission and live presentation, and we hope to be bringing Luna harp in for an offertory sometime soon before the icy weather hits!