Yukon Harpist’s Society seeking funds to buy new concert pedal harp

Picture the Yukon Arts Centre, post Covid-19. The lights are low and the spotlight is on a harpist (perhaps Yukon’s gold medal winner, Emma Kaiser) playing just before the Whitehorse Community Choir starts to sing “We’ll Rise Again” behind her.  Okay, it’s a little dramatic, but the music that comes from this gorgeous instrument is heavenly. That’s part of the reason the Yukon Harpists Society wants to buy a concert pedal harp that both senior harp students and visiting musicians can use. Something beautiful and lasting can come out of this pandemic.

A pedal harp allows harpists to change keys (which happens a lot in modern music) with the foot, without having to stop the music. Typically, senior harp students can only progress past grade eight with the Royal Conservatory of Music by playing a pedal harp. Visiting orchestras or large musical ensembles do not travel with harps, so harps are typically provided by the local arts centre. The Yukon currently has roughly 50 harp students, with a waiting list for more, should instruments become available. One of the most sought-after classes at Music Camp 2019 – a non-profit event run out of Yukon college with the intent of improving the education of young Yukon musicians – was the harp. 

A pedal harp is typically a very heavy instrument. It’s difficult to move around and store. The Yukon Harpists Society is looking to buy a graphite instrument with an electronic soundboard. This version weighs around 40 pounds, versus the 1,000-pound wooden instruments of the past. The Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) has agreed to store this beautiful harp and the Canadian Development Fund has provided money to develop a storage/use plan. This work is currently underway. The instrument that the Society is looking to purchase is approximately $56,000. That price includes transportation and insurance to get it to Whitehorse. Other Yukon public instruments include the concert grand piano and the tympani at YAC, the upright grand at the Old Firehall, the piano at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, and the piano at St. Elias Convention Centre in Haines Junction.
The fundraising to raise the required amount will take some basic seed money to print tickets for raffles and to pay for postage and office supplies. The $2,000 goal is to start putting away money for the deposit for the harp. It is our hope that every Yukoner will have the opportunity to invest in this lovely harp. 

The Yukon Harpists Society would be very grateful for your support. Visit GoFundMe.com and search “Yukon harp.”

The new string on Erica Mah’s bow