BYU harpists perform in Temple Square concert series

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    By Jenni Carlquist

    BYU”s Harp Solo and Ensemble will perform Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

    The performance is part of a free concert series sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Titled “An Evening of Harp Ensemble,” the concert will feature 21 harpists unaccompanied by any other instruments, said Carol Smith, of the public affairs department for the Church.

    “It”s going to be an outstanding concert, I”m sure, especially for people who enjoy an entire concert of harp music” Smith said.

    Smith said they don”t recruit performers for the Temple Square Concert Series. All performers must request to play and undergo an audition process.

    She said ShruDeLi Ownbey, who is the leader of the harp ensemble, asked for this performance.

    The Harp Solo and Ensemble consists of all harp students at BYU, beginning to advanced, said Tiraje Anderson, 21, a senior from Farmington, Davis County, majoring in home economics education.

    Anderson, who has been a member of the group since she was a freshman, said the harp ensemble also performed for “Music and the Spoken Word” at the Tabernacle on Sunday, Oct. 21.

    The group practices together once a week and schedules at least one recital every semester, Anderson said.

    In addition, Anderson said many of the harpists at BYU also perform with symphonies, and at other functions like wedding receptions.

    “It seems like I”ve played every place you can imagine,” Anderson said.

    While Anderson said she started playing the harp at age five because her mother loved the instrument, Marilyn Becraft, 19, a sophomore from Mapleton, Utah County, majoring in harp performance, said she had to beg her parents to let her take lessons.

    Becraft said she started her musical career at age five by taking piano and violin lessons. She decided she wanted to play the harp when she was seven.

    “I was at a concert for violin, and I saw harps, and I decided that was what I wanted to play. I told my parents and six months later they gave in,” Becraft said.

    Both Anderson and Becraft have used their harp skills to teach others.

    Anderson said she taught harp lessons in high school, and Becraft said she currently teaches four private students from her home and 10 beginning students at BYU.

    “I feel like music has blessed my life in so many ways,” Anderson said. “Even if you don”t make your living doing it, it”s not a waste. Plus it”s fun, and you can always use it.”

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