Harpist returns for Christmas concert

Published on Thu, Dec 13, 2007 by Jack Kintner

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Harpist returns for Christmas concert

By Jack Kintner

Harpist Jill Whitman once again headlines the Pacific Arts Association’s annual Christmas concert set for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, at the Blaine Schools Performing Arts Center.
She returns for a single Christmas concert on the afternoon of December 16 with her ten member ensemble playing what she called a “full concert of carols, poetry, a story or two and a lot of fun for everyone.”

Count on hearing your favorite carol that afternoon in a new, fresh and fun way, she said.

Whitman has become a traditional part of Blaine’s Christmas season, up until two years ago as a member of the Vancouver-based Celtic group Winterharp. She now leads her own larger American-based group called Noel that she first brought to Blaine last year.

Her resume is impressive – she has traveled and played extensively throughout Canada, Europe, Japan, Germany and New Zealand. She currently performs with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony and Opera, and the Spokane Symphony and serves as harp professor at Western Washington University (WWU) and maintains an active private studio in Bellingham. 

Whitman is one of three WWU professors in the group. Violin Professor Grant Donnellan (violin) and former principal flutist with the Tanglewood Symphony Kimberly Breilein will join together for Vivaldi’s “Winter” to begin the second half.

Music will be interspersed with poetry and a story or two read by Rosemary Scott Vohs, who teaches a variety of courses in storytelling, children’s literature and readers’ theatre and public speaking at Western.

Other featured performers include

• Violinist Gaye Davis, Associate Concert Master of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Concert Master of the Whatcom Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the Harberton String Quartet.

• Chip Bergeron, former principal cellist for the Bogota Philharmonic and National Symphony of Columbia, currently teaches orchestra at Squalicum High School, serves as principal cellist with the Whatcom Symphony and is a founding member of the Harberton String Quartet.

• Violist Elizabeth Stuen-Walker, a graduate of both the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, maintains a studio in Bellingham and is a member of the Whatcom Symphony and the Harberton String Quartet.

The group is rounded out by three outstanding harp students, Katy Mullen, 13, Sarah McHugh, 17, and Whitman’s daughter Emilie, 15, who has played on CBC TV’s Christmas program two years in a row.
Emilie has released a CD called Emilie’s Christmas which along with others by various members will be available for purchase at the concert.

or more information go to www.pacificartsassoc.org.