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UW-Eau Claire Symphony Orchestra Debuts New Concert Grand Harp

RELEASED: May 9, 2005

Friends of Music logoEAU CLAIRE — The voices of angels will be heard again thanks to the purchase of a new Lyon & Healy concert grand harp for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire department of music and theatre arts through a campaign by the Friends of Music, a UW-Eau Claire Foundation affiliate organization, which raised $25,000.

The harp's debut was celebrated April 24 at the University Symphony Orchestra performance when Paula M. Smith, associate lecturer of music and theatre arts, gave a solo performance of "The Brook (La Source)" by Adolphe Hasselmans.

"We are so grateful for the Friends of Music campaign," said David Baker, chairman of the department of music and theatre arts. "It enabled the department to purchase a critically needed piece of equipment that we couldn't otherwise fund. The 30-year-old harp we had before was no longer reliable."

The money raised by the harp campaign is recognized as a contribution to Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's ongoing comprehensive campaign to benefit UW-Eau Claire's people and programs.

The harp will be used by the University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Symphony Band, said Baker. It also will be used for student recitals and may be used by the university's choirs occasionally as an accompanying instrument.

In addition to the concert grand harp, the department received an in-kind gift of a troubadour harp, a smaller harp students use for practice and private lessons, from Chris and Jana Lind of Eau Claire.

This is the second major campaign the Friends of Music has conducted for the music and theatre arts department. In 1998, the group secured three concert grand pianos, two for Gantner Music Hall and a third for Phillips Recital Hall through a campaign that raised $160,000. The Phillips Recital Hall piano was purchased as an outright gift from Mel and Eileen Cohen.

Baker said the music and theatre arts department is lucky to have the support of the Friends of Music and the many community donors who make it possible to conduct campaigns of this magnitude.

He noted that for the harp campaign one member of the Friends of Music, Roger Bethard, opened his Chippewa Falls home to the community for a salon concert that inaugurated the campaign and raised $8,000 and a second concert in fall 2004 to energize the campaign.

"The harp is the kind of instrument that appeals to people," said Baker. "So often when it is used in an ensemble, it is used in a solo capacity. Everyone hears it and recognizes it. I think it appeals to donors. We are grateful for the support that made this purchase possible."

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KH

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