Two versatile harpists, Brandee Younger
and Megan Sesma
, will be showcasing their love for teaching and performing through the Guatemala Harp Teaching Project.
February 17-26, the two talented instrumentalists will be volunteering their time to travel to Guatemala to coach and teach for a short period of time at venues which will include El Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Guatemala City, and El Sitio Cultural in Antigua. Their teachings will also include harp projects in Jocotenango and San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.
One of the main goals of the Guatemala Harp Teaching project is to help reinforce teaching methods, since the Guatemala National Symphony harpist, and major harp instructor Floridalma Robles, passed away in 2001. Donations for this project will provide additional materials to build harps, and compensation to musicians from Guatemala who are currently involved in childhood and community development projects. A budget of approximately $100 can provide one harp or 20 hours of harp music in Guatemala.
Sesma and Younger will utilize their harmonious flair to contribute to the musical education of over 35 students in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala City and Antigua. In addition to educating, they will donate sheet music, orchestral parts and help develop a multi level curriculum.
The goal is for the project to be self-sustainable and this trip is made possible by the support of The Shoreline and Long Island Chapters of the American Harp Society.
Younger, a Long Island native and specialist in nonconventional harp arenas, will be offering her whimsical instruction which will span many genres of harp music. She is well-known for her work with with jazz notables such as Ravi Coltrane and Reggie Workman, Hip Hop artists Common and Ryan Leslie as well as with an array of orchestras including the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, Ensemble Du Monde, and the Red Bull Artsehcro, a non-conformist" orchestra. She is the Vice President of the Long Island Chapter of the American Harp Society and currently teaches privately in New York and on the harp faculty of the Hartt School Community Division, at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Sesma, the 1st enlisted principal harpist with the United States Coast Guard Band, is a multitalented performer of orchestral and harp chamber music and has performed at many venues ranging from Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow Russia, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall and numerous concert halls in South America. She has also shared the stage with such legendary contemporary and popular musicians as Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves. Sesma is on faculty at the Centerbrook Music School in Connecticut and is the harp instructor for Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and the adjunct instructor of harp at the University of Connecticut. She is also President emeritus of the Shoreline Chapter of the American Harp Society.
Patrice Fisher, the president of the harp society of New Orleans, officially started the project in 2003 after visiting Guatemala many times in 1984 with her Guatemalan husband, Carlos Valladares, and she currently travels annually to the Central American country to support the harp project.