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The Student News Site of Prospect High School

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Choir talks careers with harpist

Choir talks careers with harpist

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Professional harpist Janelle Lake plays one of her harps for Choir students on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Lake talked with students about building a career as a freelance musician. (photo by Riley Langefeld)

By Riley Langefeld
As choir students filed into their 6th period class on Oct. 28, they found the choir room to be a little more cramped than usual. In the front of the room stood two enormous harps, brought to Prospect by professional harpist Jannelle Lake.
Lake is a career musician. She began playing the instrument when she was eight years old and has continued ever since.
“To play for all the different people in my day-to-day [life] is really encouraging and inspiring,” Lake said. “No one is ever upset when I walk in with a harp.”
Lake is a long-time colleague of Choir Teacher Jennifer Troiano. She was asked to come and explain what it’s like to be a freelance musician, so she played her harps and talked music during the 6th, 7th, and 8th periods on Wednesday. She also interacted with the students, answering questions about her career and her music.
“I love being here. Everyone asks informed questions… I don’t feel like I need to dumb anything down. I can play a concert repertoire; it’s nice,” Lake said.
Lake is not the first professional musician that the choir students have seen. Last year, a professional guitarist and an a capella group came in and discussed their careers with the students much like Lake did.
“I was intrigued,” said sophomore Kamila Cwanek. “I liked that she played some classical songs, but also played some indie rock songs.”
Lake’s experiences with the harp include playing for President Obama, the Republican National Committee, and Vince Vaughn. She was also been hired to play on a private jet flying to a Suzuki Conference, then to World Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia. According to Lake, this congress is the Olympics of the harp world.
“[It was] a unique travel experience, to see how the harp is being used in different cultures and creative ideas that people around the world have,” Lake said.
When she’s not playing her harps, Lake works at a factory that makes them, testing the instruments for quality. During summers, she takes time off to travel the world with her husband.
“I liked that she was able to continue on the path of what she loved doing and make a career out of it,” said Cwanek. “It shows that it’s possible for a musician to make it and do what they love and not give it up for a different career path.”
 

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    G-DogOct 30, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Well written! What an interesting look into the world of a professional harpist. I would never have imagined one could play indie rock on harp!

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