I began studying harp at the age of ten with Katherine Newman, the principle harpist of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, I attended the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) where I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Music Performance. During my studies in college I managed to pursue other interests including the Chargerettes Dance Team where she danced for two seasons, coaching recreational gymnastics, teaching harp students, and ballroom dance. I have also performed at many venues ranging from orchestra settings, including the HSO, theater productions, weddings, teas, and open-air performances at Bridge Street Town Centre where I have been a Pavement Performer for the past several years. My desire to play the harp came to light at the age of seven when she asked my parents if I could take lessons. Because of my age and the fact that I was already involved in dance and gymnastics, I was not able to start lessons until I was ten. Even then, I was told I would have to ask about lessons from the harpist who was playing for The Nutcracker. When I came to my mother with a business card from the harpist, it was a signal that I was indeed interested in the instrument. I had to go to great lengths in order to talk to the harpist who was in the orchestra pit, a no-go area to those dancing in The Nutcracker. I have been in love with the harp ever since that day and I would like to instill the same love and passion that I have for the harp in others. This could be a love of listening to harp, or a love of playing the harp on any level. Playing the harp has helped me through many ups and downs in my life and I have loved being able to provide an escape for those who have had a rough day and then tell me there day has gotten better because of the song that I played.
- Iskra Johnson
- Sara Hanson