A concert of singing strings An orchestra of local harpists will perform at West Chester University as part of Harpfest VII. The Arts and Things to Do

Posted: November 10, 2002

WEST CHESTER — A life-threatening illness four years ago prompted Susan Dallas-Feeney of West Chester, a family physician, to fulfill her lifelong dream of playing the harp.

"I've always wanted to play since I was little," Dallas-Feeney said. "I was just mesmerized by it."

Instead, she headed to medical school, had children, and started her practice. It wasn't until 1998, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, that she was determined to start playing.

Her husband bought her a cherrywood Celtic harp, and she found accomplished harpist Gloria Galante at West Chester University to teach her.

Tomorrow, Galante will direct Dallas-Feeney, Chester County Judge Jackie Cody, and nearly 30 other harpists in a concert at the university.

Harpfest VII offers concertgoers an opportunity to see an orchestra of harps performing classical works and sharing the magical music of this ancient instrument, said Galante, who started the event to promote appreciation of the harp.

Among those performing will be the West Chester Harp Ensemble, which includes West Chester University music students and alumni, as well as members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Harp Society and the Trillium Harp Ensemble, which is based in Bucks County.

"I've always loved hearing the music," said Cody, who started playing a few years ago. She was inspired to start while supervising a court diversionary program for nonviolent drug offenders, who were encouraged to get involved in a constructive hobby, in something they were always meaning to do.

"I decided I should do the same," she said. "I decided to take the time and find someone to teach me to play the harp. The music is so soothing. It's just a very peaceful time in my day when I'm sitting at the harp."

Cody also plays piano and flute. Like Dallas-Feeney, she takes harp lessons with Galante.

Once a harp major at West Chester, Galante, who hails from Morrisville in Bucks County, started teaching at her alma mater in 1990. She also gives lessons as part of the community music program. She studied with the Philadelphia Orchestra's first female harpist, Edna Phillips; has played with the Symphony of Puerto Rico; and she has a five-piece jazz group, Kusangala, that features the harp.

She is devoted to encouraging others to master the celestial sound, saying that the key to success is to "love and be passionate about the instrument."

Merry Harsch of Downingtown, one of Galante's students in the community program, said a music background, especially in piano, was helpful to a harp student. Playing harp, she said, is "almost like a piano on the side."

The harp dates back to 3000 B.C. Originating with the hunter's bow and arrow, it has 47 strings and seven pedals. One can play more than 100 different effects on the harp, Galante said, among them thunder, bongos and harmonics.

The melodious sound is created, she said, by making the strings sing. Her fingers flow effortlessly up and down the concert harp, creating a heavenly glissando.

"She's the Olympic skater of the harp world," said Dallas-Feeney, listening to her instructor play.

In this student's view, playing the harp has value beyond its sound. "When I pull [my harp] to my shoulder, all these beautiful vibrations go into my body. It's a very healing instrument. It has a very soothing, therapeutic quality."

Dallas-Feeney expects the harp to be a major part of her life from now on.

"I just feel it's part of who I am. I have the missing piece of my life. This beautiful, heaven-sent instrument came to me after a life-threatening illness. I feel better after I play. I feel more relaxed and energized," she said.

To Gina Lardani, who is also studying harp at West Chester University, the harp "just has a gorgeous sound." Lardani started playing harp as a sophomore in high school. "My school had a harp that no one was using, and there was a harp teacher in my neighborhood."

Lardani has had many opportunities to play harp, she said. Last summer, for example, she was a strolling harpist at Caesar's restaurant in Atlantic City, where she used a three-foot renaissance lap harp with a guitar strap to serenade from table to table. "That was really, really awesome."

She played some Phantom of the Opera music, Beatles songs, even "Under the Boardwalk."

"People like it when they recognize something on the harp," she said.

For tomorrow's concert, Lardani will tackle some variations of Adeste Fideles, which she considers demanding. Her first love, she says, is the piano. But "I always want to keep the harp."

At the concert, Galante will be directing harpists ranging in age from 9 to 56.

She said, "We all need to be listening to relaxing sounds in our hectic and stressful lives."

Send Arts news to The Inquirer, 800 River Road, Conshohocken, Pa., 19428; e-mail it to PAarts@phillynews.com; or fax to 610-313-8243.

Harpfest VII will start at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Hall, West Chester University, West Chester.

The concert features the West Chester Ensemble with special guests from the American Harp Society and the Trillium Harp Ensemble. The event is free. For more information, call the School of Music at 610-436-2739.

Special Events

A Night on the Town - Philly's Finest Parish gala includes live & silent auction. St Katharine of Siena, Parish Center, 229 Windermere Ave, Wayne; 610-254-9250. $60. 6:30 p.m. Sat.

Back to Summer Camp Party features silent/live auctions, dinner & dessert, open bar, all with Summer Camp theme; benefits Golden Slipper Camp program for children. Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center, Drexelbrook Dr & Valley Rd, Drexel Hill; 610-660-0510. $80. 7 p.m. 11/23. Reservation required.

*FREE* Holly Tour Tour of Arboretum's magnificent holly collection features advice on plant care. Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave, Swarthmore; 610-328-8025. www.scottarboretum.org. 1-3 p.m. Sat.

Jewish Book Festival of Greater Philadelphia Book signings, readings. Lectures by more than 25 authors, i including Stephen Fried 11 a.m. today at Gershman Y; Glenn Schwartz 1:30 p.m. Mon at JCC Klein Branch. 215-446-3021. www.phillyjcc.com. Locations vary. Call for schedule, prices (some events free). Through Thu, Sat and 11/17.

Dog Show Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Shows. Ft Washington Expo Center, Virginia Dr,, Fort Washington; 610-627-1911. $10, $5 ages under 12. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat & Sun.

Craft Shows & Sales

Craft Show More than 150 artisans. Penn State/Delaware County, Rte 352, Lima; 610-892-1261. $1; under age 12 free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today..

Christmas Bazaar Homemade crafts, white elephant table, cookie sale, soup, lunch. Prospect Park Fire Company, 10th & Lincoln Aves, Prospect Park; 610-532-7870. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. Tables $10.

Christmas Bazaar & Silent Auction Crafts, attic treasures, bake sale, children's table, silent auction. St Stephen's Church, Baltimore Ave & Church St, Clifton Heights; 610-622-3636. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.

Art Exhibits

Art League Penn Medicine at Radnor, 250 King of Prussia Rd, Radnor; 610-859-0765. Juried group show, mixed media. Closes 1/24.

Barnes Foundation 300 N Latches Ln (2 blocks N of 54th St & City Ave), Merion; 610-667-0290. www.barnesfoundation.org. Work by Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Rousseau, Matisse, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, other impressionists & post-impressionists, African art & PA Dutch functional pieces. $5. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fris-Suns. 400 people allowed entry a day. Reservations required: 610-667-0290 option 5.

Brandywine River Museum Rtes 1 & 100, Chadds Ford; 610-388-2700. www.brandywinemuseum.org. Painting, drawings depict Revolutionary War fought in Chester Co. Closes 11/24. N C Wyeth in Wilmington: pre-1911 magazine paintings; with images by great illustrators (1885-1905). Closes 11/24. N C Wyeth house/studio tour. $3 shuttle bus; ages 6 & older only. Timed intervals through 11/24. $6; $3 students, seniors; free ages under 6. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.

Bryn Mawr College Miriam Coffin Canaday Library, 101 N Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr; 610-526-5335. Katherine Bradford, paintings & drawings. Closes 11/22. Literature, cartoons, buttons, photographs on women's suffrage movement. Closes 12/20.

Bucks County Community College Hicks Art Center, 434 Swamp Road, Newtown; 215-968-8425. Harvey Stein, AIDS portraits. Reception & talk 5-7 p.m. 11/20. Closes 12/16.

*NEW* Cabrini College Gorevin Fine Arts, 610 King of Prussia Rd, Radnor; 610-902-8255. Jacy Duffy & Maryhelen Duffy Kobylarz. Opening reception 3-5 p.m. Today. Closes 12/8.

*NEW* Community Arts Center 414 Plush Mill Rd, Wallingford; 610-566-1713. Paintings by area artist Andrew Turner. Opening reception 2-4 p.m. Closes 11/15.

Gallery at Cedar Hollow 2447 Yellow Springs Rd, Malvern; 610-640-2787. Holiday craft show: clothing, jewelry, accessories, holiday decorations, more. Closes 12/29. Jewish artists' group show, mixed media Judaica. Opens today. Closes 12/29.

Garrubbo Bazan 16 W Market St, West Chester; 610-696-1266. www.gbgfineart.com. Maciek von Ato, paintings. Reception 5-9 p.m. today. Closes 11/30.

Haverford College Sharpless, Magill Library, 370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford; 610-896-1011. 18th-19th cent Quaker maps, letters, diaries, publications. Closes 1/03.

*NEW* Main Line Unitarian Church 816 S Valley Forge Rd, Devon; 610-644-0160. Members' show, mixed media. Opening reception 6-9 tonight. Closes 11/30.

James A Michener Art Museum 138 S Pine St, Doylestown; 215-340-9800. www.michenerartmuseum.org. Retrospective: The Berenstain Bears authors/illustrators Stan, Jan Berenstain: drawings, sketchbooks, interactive displays. Closes 1/12. Group show, works by early 20th-century artists of New Hope art colony. Closes 2/2. PA impressionist paintings by Coppedge, Redfield, Sotter, Rosen, others. Closes 12/29. $6; $5.50 seniors; $3 students; free under age 6. Hours: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tues-Fris (to 9 p.m. Weds), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sats-Suns. Joint admission, Mercer Museum: $8, adults only.

Salon des Amis 2321 Yellow Springs Rd, Malvern; 610-647-6010. Animal-theme group show, mixed media; benefits German Shepherd Rescue. Closes 11/23.

SPP 800 River Rd, West Conshohocken; 610-292-6048. McGOPA juried show, new mixed media works. Closes today..

Swarthmore College List, Lang Performing Arts Center, 500 College Ave, Swarthmore; 610-328-8000. Lois Dodd & Elizabeth O'Reilly, paintings. Closes 12/15.

Swarthmore Friends of the Arts Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Ave, Swarthmore; 610-328-0510. Local photographers' group show. Closes 11/25.

Temple Sholom 55 N Church Ln, Broomall; 610-356-5165. Opens Fri. Closes 12/21.

*NEW* Tyme 17 W Eagle Rd, Havertown; 610-853-1215. www.tymegallery.com. Katy Winters, etchings & watercolors. Closes 12/10.

Villanova University Connelly Center, Rte 30 & Ithan Ave, Villanova; 610-519-4612. Alla Mossienko, paintings & ceramics. Closes 12/13.

Wayne Art Center 413 Maplewood Ave, Wayne; 610-688-3553. www.wayneart.com. Juried fall members show, mixed media. Closes 11/25.

West Chester University McKinney, Mitchell Hall, Church & Sharpless Sts, West Chester; 610-436-2755. Mark Washburn, sculptures. Closes Wed.

Wharton Esherick Museum Horseshoe Trail & Diamond Rock Hill Rd (off Yellow Springs Rd), Malvern; 610-644-5822. Exhibit of unusual music stands. Closes 12/31. Call for tours.

Widener University University Center, 14th & Chestnut Sts, Chester; 610-499-1189. W A S Hatch, watercolors. Closes 12/7.

Theater & Dance

Music

Aranjuez Guitar quartet; classical, Peruvian creole folk music. Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 N Lansdowne Ave, Drexel Hill; 215-552-9932. $10; $5 senior, students; free ages under 8. 8 p.m. Fri.

Professional & Community Theater

Big: The Musical Based on 1987 movie. Forge Theatre, 241 First Ave, Phoenixville; 610-935-1920. $12; $8 ages under 19. Fris-Sats (added shows Sun & 11/21). Closes 11/23.

Dancing at Lughnasa Drama; King of Prussia Players present. Upper Merion Area High School, Crossfield Rd, King of Prussia; 610-277-9505. www.kofpplayers.org. $8; $6 seniors/age 12 & underchildren. Fris-Suns. Opens Fri. Closes 11/23.

*FREE* The Secret Garden Musical; Village Productions presents. Rose Hall, Camp Hill Village Kimberton Hills, Pughtown Rd, Kimberton; 610-469-9845. www.villageproductions.org. Reservation recommended. Fris-Suns. Opens Fri. Closes 11/24.

College Theater

*NEW* Amadeus Drama. The Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave, Haverford; 610-642-3020. $7; $5 seniors, students. Thu & 11/15 only.

*NEW* Boy Gets Girl Drama. Cabrini College, 610 King of Prussia Rd, Radnor; 610-902-8510. $10; $5 students. Thus-Sats. Opens Thu. Closes 11/23.

Auditions

Barnstormers Theater Ward & Tome Sts, Ridley Park; 610-769-3905.

Friends of the Swedish Cabin Lucia (opens 12/15); needed: ages 5-15. St Paul's Church, 50 E Plumstead Ave, Lansdowne; 610-449-3644. Call for appointment.

Main Line Ecumenical Choir St Thomas of Villanova Parish, Lancaster Ave, Rosemont; 610-356-9368. Messiah (concert 8 p.m. 12/14). 2-4 p.m. Sats thru 12/2.

Players Club of Swarthmore Fairview Rd off Rte 320, Swarthmore; 610-328-4271. www.pcstheater.org. Shaw's Man & Superman (opens 3/27). 7:30 p.m. Mon. Two Rooms (opening TBA). 7:30 p.m. 1/15.

Yardley Players Theater Company Kelsey Theater, Mercer Co Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor; 215-968-1904. www.yardleyplayers.org. Ten Little Indians (opens 2/7); needed: 1 female & 1 male, ages 25-35; 2 females & 7 males, ages 35-65 & older. 1-4 p.m. 11/23-24; appt required.

Nature

Appalachian Mountain Club 610-694-8677. www.amcdv.org. Meeting: Lehigh Valley Grp. Friends Meeting House, Rte 512 N off Rte 22, Bethlehem. 7:30 p.m. 11/20. Backpacking: Black Forest Trail, Tiadaghton State Forest; Class 3. Today. Central Catskills. Class 2-3. Sat and 11/17. Trails: Highlands Trail Work; volunteers sought to help clear 150-mile trail. Today. Wissahickon Trail Work & Hike; 2 hrs of vine clearing followed by 5-6 mile hike. Sat.

Ashland Nature Center Brackenville & Barley Mill Rds, Hockessin; 302-239-2334. www.delawarenaturesociety.org. Four self-guiding nature trails on 200 acres of meadow, marsh, pond & forest; plus habitat exhibits. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mons-Fris, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sats, 1-4 p.m. Suns.

Barnes Foundation Arboretum 300 N Latches Ln (2 blocks N of 54th St & City Line Ave), Merion; 610-667-0290. www.barnesfoundation.org. . 12 acres of native, European, Asiatic specimen trees, shrubs. $5. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fris-Suns (Weds-Fris, July-Aug). Reservations required: 610-667-0290 option 5.

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve River Rd (Rte 32), New Hope; 215-862-2924. www.bhwp.org. 100 acres with marked trails. Guided walking tour: 2 p.m. daily. $5 adults; $3 seniors; $2 ages 4-14; free ages under 4 (includes tour). Center: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Grounds: 8:30 a.m.-sunset daily.

Brandywine Creek State Park & Nature Center Rtes 92 & 10, Wilmington; 302-655-5740. www.destateparks.com. Park: 1000 acres, former du Pont family dairy farm; Tulip Tree Woods (190-year-old tulip poplars), migrating hawks (mid-Sept to mid-Nov), 14 miles of hiking trails. 8 a.m.-sunset Sats-Suns. Nature center: interpretive programs, snakes & turtles, local plants, more. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. $2.50 per car, Del registered vehicles; $5, out-of-state vehicles.

Chanticleer 786 Church Rd, Wayne; 610-687-4163. www.chanticleergarden.org. 31 acres with tropical plants, flowering trees, native wildflowers, ponds. 2 hr group tours available; reservations required. $5; free ages under 17. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Weds-Sats.

Dynamic Diversions 215-849-9944. www.dynamicdiversions.org. Non-profit group sponsors hiking, rock-climbing, sailing, riding & other outdoor activities. Call for locations & fees. Blue Marsh hike, 11/16. Trail Ride (horseback riding), 11/24. Annual brunch & slide show, 12/8. Evansburg hike, 12/15. Poconos skiing trip, 12/30-1/1.

Great Valley Nature Center Rte 29 & Hollow Rd, Devault; 610-935-9777. Self-guided nature trails through 10 acres of stream valley, with spring-fed pond, fields and wetlands; 1790 Chester County bank barn renovated as education building with live-animal exhibits. Donations accepted. Noon-5 p.m. Suns, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mons-Sats.

*FREE* Green Valleys Association Welkinweir, Prizer Rd, off Rte 100, one mile south of Rte 23, East Nantmeal; 610-469-4900. Office hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mons-Fris. Grounds: dawn-dusk daily.

*FREE* Haverford College Arboretum Haverford College, Lancaster Ave & College Ln, Haverford; 610-896-1333. Self-guided tours of 216-acre campus. Brochures at Physical Plant & Security Office. Dawn-dusk daily.

*FREE* Jenkins Arboretum 631 Berwyn-Baptist Rd, Devon; 610-647-8870. www.jenkinsarboretum.org. Native hardwood trees, azalea & rhododendron collections, ornamental shrubs, day lilies & self-guided nature trail. Dawn-dusk daily.

*FREE* John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum 8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Tinicum; 215-365-3118. http://heinz.fws.gov. Family birding. 9 a.m. today. Family Nature Progam, Mammal Tracking. 1 p.m. today. Winter Arrivals. 9 a.m. Sat. Wildflower Walk. 1 p.m. Sat. Facilities include bicycling &

hiking paths, canoeing & fishing.

8 a.m.-sunset daily; Cusano Environmental Education Center, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m daily.

Longwood Gardens Rte 1, Kennett Square; 610-388-1000. www.longwoodgardens.org. Asian Arts Festival: folks dancing, drumming, martial arts, more; performers vary each week. Various times Sats-Suns through 11/24. Tuckers' Tales Puppet Theatre. Noon-3 p.m. Sats-Suns through 11/24. 1050 acres of outdoor gardens, glass-enclosed conservatories. Unless noted, events free with reg admission. $14 ($10 Tues); $6 ages 16-20, $2 ages 6-15, free ages under 6. DuPont House & Conservatories: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Outdoor gardens: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily .

*FREE* Lower Merion Conservancy 1301 Rose Glen Rd, Gladwyne; 610-645-9030.

*FREE* Myrick Conservation Center Rte 842, Unionville; 610-793-1090.

*FREE* Ridley Creek State Park Rtes 3 & 352, Edgmont; 610-892-3900. Picnicking, hiking, bike trail, trout stream, fly-fishing area. Open 8 a.m.-sunset daily.

*FREE* Riverbend Environmental Education Center End of Spring Mill Rd, Gladwyne; 610-527-5234. www.riverbendeec.org. Nature programs for ages 2-3. $15. 9:30 & 11 a.m. Fris. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Grounds: dawn-dusk daily.

*FREE* Scott Arboretum Swarthmore College, Rte 320 & College Ave, Swarthmore; 610-328-8025. www.scottarboretum.org. 300 acre campus with woods, biostream, courtyard & rose gardens, more. Dawn-dusk daily.

*FREE* Taylor Memorial Arboretum 10 Ridley Dr, Wallingford; 610-876-2649. 30-acre woodland with waterfall, grotto, pond. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Tyler Arboretum 515 Painter Rd (4 miles W of Media), Middletown Twp; 610-566-9134. www.tylerarboretum.org. 125 acres of special plant collections, gardens, historic trees & a maze; 450 acres of marked hiking trails. $5; $3 ages 3-15, free under 3. 8 a.m.-dusk daily.

*FREE* White Clay Creek Preserve London Tract Rd, Landenberg; 610-274-2471. Program on resident birds of winter. 8 a.m. today. Hours: 8:30 a.m.-dusk daily.

*FREE* Wissahickon Park Harper's Meadow, Germantown & Northwestern Aves; 215-685-0274. 7 miles of wooded grove cut by Wissahickon Creek; trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, birdwatching. Dawn-dusk daily.

Museums & Attractions

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center 1220 American Blvd, West Chester; 610-436-9600. www.helicoptermuseum.org. Shows, demonstrations on helicopter history & technology. . $6; $5 ages 65 & up, $4 students; free ages under 2. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Weds-Sats, noon-5 p.m. Suns.

Wharton Esherick Museum Horseshoe Trail & Diamond Rock Hill Rd (off Yellow Springs Rd), Malvern; 610-644-5822. Exhibit of unusual music stands. Closes 12/31. Studio home of sculptor-furniture maker. $9; $4 ages 12 & under. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sats, 1-5 p.m. Suns.

For Kids & Teens

The Ballad of Robin Hood Hedgerow Theater, 64 Rose Valley Rd, Rose Valley; 610-565-4211. $7. Sats. Closes 11/23.

Children's Concert Delaware County Symphony Chamber Ensemble; all ages. Neumann College (Neumann Theatre), Convent Rd, Aston; 610-356-5673. www.dcsmusic.org. $6-$8, free ages under 12. 3 p.m. today.

Classes for Kids Delaware County Community College, Rte 252, Media; 610-359-5025. 2- & 4-week classes in arts, computers, science, math, drama & topics. $50-$73. Call for times & locations. Sessions meet Sats through 12/14

*FREE* College Fair Representatives from more than 250 colleges nationwide with information about their institutions for prospective students. United Sports Training Center, Marshalton-Thorndale Rd, Downingtown; 610-524-5053. 6:30-9 p.m. 11/18.

Swim Team YMCA seeking kids ages 4-18 for Marlins Swim Team. YMCA of the Brandywine Valley, 50 S 1st Ave, Coatesville; 610-431-9622. Call for program & registration information.

Area Library Programs

Chester County Library 450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton; 610-280-2630. In-person registration required.

*FREE* Lower Providence Community Library 50 Parklane Dr, Eagleville; 610-666-6640 ext 5. Story times: Ages 3-6. 6:30 p.m. Weds to 12/18. Infants-3 years. 10:30 a.m. Sats to 12/21. Ages 4 & up. 11:15 a.m. Sats. Infants-2 years. 10:30 a.m. Mons & Tues to 12/19. Ages 2 & 3 years. 11:15 a.m. Mons & Tues to 12/19. Age 4 & up. Thus 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 12/19.

*FREE* Prospect Park Library Maryland Ave, Prospect Park; 610-532-4643. Story Times; all ages. 3:30-4:30 p.m., 11:15-noon, 6:30-7:30 p.m. through Thu. Registration required.

Radnor Memorial Library 114 W Wayne Ave, Wayne; 610-687-1124. www.radnorlibrary.org. Magic & illusion show in celebration of Children's Book Week; ages 4 & up. $1. 7:30 p.m. Fri.

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