Mary talked to us about Omaha, why she chose the harp, and the composers that made her fall in love with classical music.
How did you choose your instrument?
I chose the harp back when I was in 4th grade and a student in the Richmond Public Schools in Virginia. We were tested for musical aptitude and then allowed to choose an instrument to start in 5th grade, and harp was on the list. I remember that I selected harp as first choice and flute as second choice.
As a young girl, I remembered seeing someone playing the harp at an outdoor summer concert venue near my house and this image just stuck in my mind. I was very lucky as the Richmond Public Schools were just starting a harp program, and I was in the first class of harp students. The program has grown and flourished and is thriving today.
My parents were surprised when I chose harp but supported me wholeheartedly, not only buying me a harp, but also trading the family sedan for a station wagon to haul it around.
What are some your favorite Omaha restaurants?
I have two favorite Omaha restaurants: La Buvette in the Old Market and Mark’s Bistro in Dundee.
What’s your favorite thing about Omaha?
Omaha is a wonderful city, so supportive of the arts and a great place to raise a family. Craig and I live in the Field Club neighborhood of Midtown and we have lots of wonderful neighbors. Our children could safely roam the neighborhood and had a whole gang of friends. It was like Mayberry with shady streets, a beautiful park, swimming pool, neighborhood porch parties. We love the older homes — our house is in the Eastlake Style and was built in 1892.
What piece made you fall in love with classical music?
Ravel's Introduction and Allegro—an amazingly beautiful piece of chamber music featuring harp. As a teenager I remember sitting on my bed, listening to the Ravel and imagining myself playing it.
Also, playing anything by Mahler in the orchestra. As a high school junior, I attended Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, and was first introduced to Mahler. I’d never heard anything like that before! Mahler’ s music really drew me in. Mahler wrote very unique harp parts. I love the colors his music creates and at the first sound of Mahler I was hooked and knew I wanted to play in an orchestra someday.