What Would They Know? Megan Reeve of Melbourne Harp Music

by | Entertainment Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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The sounds of a harp playing as your guests are waiting for your ceremony to start, and as you walk down the aisle, creates one of the first memories of your wedding day. Megan from Melbourne Harp Music plays everything from classical music to your favourite love songs – whatever you choose, the lilting sounds of the harp will uplift and inspire emotion on this most important of days.

Please tell us about your musical background.

I started on piano when I was about 3 but always wanted to play the harp. My parents were extremely sensible about this and said ‘No’. They then tried to distract me with other instruments like the violin and baroque recorder. It was when I took up the drums they decided the harp wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

I was 15 by this stage so hit the ground running and did LOADS of practice! Two years after starting I auditioned for the Conservatorium at the University of Melbourne, where I completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours. I then went to the Victorian College of the Arts and graduated with a Masters of Music Performance and a husband. I also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzberg and completed a Master of Arts in Music, Culture and Politics at Cardiff University in the UK. After that I needed a good lie down.

Image by Megan Reeve of Melbourne Harp Music

Why the harp and not another musical instrument?

Insanity. Why else would you play something that weighs 40 kilograms and determines the clothes I wear, the shoes I wear, the car I drive and the house I live in. Not to mention the bank balance.

How do you keep your musical skills honed? 

Practice! And doing all sorts of gigs from full symphony orchestras to TV work, recording sessions and of course weddings!

How many weddings have you now performed at?

I lost track after about 1500.

Image by Alison Sharma Photography

At what stage in the wedding are you most often asked to play? 

The ceremony itself is the most common, with pre-dinner drinks the next most frequent after that. And often both if they’re at the same venue.

Where are some of the more interesting places you’ve played at (for weddings)?

I’ve been to every major venue in town, but the thing that I remember most is actually the people (does that sound corny?) I’ve played at some pretty interesting functions as well though – like directly under the scaffold at the old Melbourne Gaol. That was interesting.

Do bridal couples tend to book you with a singer, or other instruments, or do they tend to love to hear you solo?

I often suspect all the brides in Melbourne get together for a coffee and collude on their wedding plans as there are definite trends in what gets booked. Harp and violin seems to be the thing at the moment.

Image by Megan of  Melbourne Harp Music

What packages do you offer?

Pretty much anything with harp. Solo harp of course is always popular, but otherwise any combination of singer, flute, violin and cello with harp is also possible. My husband is a professional trumpeter, but I really wouldn’t recommend that with harp. We’ve tried. Really.

Does the harp sound best performing classical music? 

The harp is actually a far more versatile instrument than most people imagine. One of my most popular requests is Nothing Else Matters by Metallica.

You also performed with the U2 Vertigo tour – so I can see your skills and tastes don’t only lie with classical music. What other sorts of music do you enjoy?

While I’m classically trained and love cranking up the opera I’m also currently driving myself nuts by constantly humming Justice Crew’s Que Sera. So I will pretty much listen to and play anything.

Image by Megan of Melbourne Harp Music

What pieces would you suggest for the harp for ceremony music?

You really can’t beat the traditionals – Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, Mendelsohn’s Wedding March, and the perennial Pachelbel’s Canon in D. And a fave love song of course!

And for dinner music?

A great chance to mix it up! I’m always changing the music in my folders. (I collect sheet music like some people collect shoes and have over 1000 titles in my collection. Don’t ask me for a song list – it reads like the phone book.) At the moment I’m loving the theme from Love Actually, Something by the Beatles, some brilliant jazz inspired works by French composer Bernard Andres, and you can never beat Bach.

Where can we hear your next public performance? 

I’ve got a great programme coming up on November 23rd at Montsalvat with voxArpa (me and singer Sarah Cole). There’s bound to be something between now and then, so checking out the Melbourne Harp Music Facebook page is the way to go.

Image by Alison Sharma Photography

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve actually just launched a wedding blog to put all my knowledge of the wedding industry to some use, so that’s taking up a bit of time (www.mymelbournewedding.net.au if you’re interested). Plus I’m presenting a paper at the World Harp Congress which means I have to look like I know what I’m talking about. And I teach harp as well. Spare time? Well, occasionally I’ll sit down and have a cup of tea.

Image given to Melbourne Harp Music by the bride with full rights to use

What do you love about living in Melbourne?

I often play at functions where you’d think there was a strict dress code of stylish black. But no. We just do stylish black. And I really like that.

Thank you Megan for sharing your story with us. To find out more about Melbourne Harp Music visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Alison Sharma Photography

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