Alumna Kathleen Bride returns to Marywood for Centennial string concert

Sophie Pauline, Assistant A&E Editor

Marywood University’s String Ensemble had the opportunity to play with internationally acclaimed harpist Kathleen Bride in the “Celebrate the Centennial” harp and strings concert.

The event took place Sunday Oct. 18 at 4p.m. in the Sette Laverghetta Center for the Performing Arts.

The orchestra played under the direction of Lawrence Loh, the conductor of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
Presently, Ms. Bride is a harp professor at the Eastman School of Music and a member of the visiting faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Additionally, she was chairman of the harp department at the Manhattan School of Music and has been artist in residence at both the Universities of Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
Ms. Bride’s university career began at Marywood and continued to The Julliard School.
Students were thrilled to have such a celebrated alumna return to play with them.

Heather Kani, senior music education major was excited to have Ms. Bride on campus.

“It is really exciting to see people come back to their school and give back to the current students, especially such a professional,” said Kani.
Kani’s main instrument is the violin, so she served a member of the String Ensemble that accompanied Ms. Bride in the concert.
Sophie Till is the director of the String Ensemble and clinical assistant professor of viola/violin at Marywood. She said she was also grateful for the opportunity the students had to work alongside Ms. Bride.
“It’s nice for them to make that association, like this is what we’re doing now and this is what former Marywood students have done,” said Till.
The fact that Ms. Bride’s instrument is distinctive added to the anticipation of the concert. “We don’t see many harp players, so it’s nice for them [the students] to see her and get to work with somebody of her caliber on her instrument,” said Till.
Sophie Till highlighted that it was an honor for the String Ensemble to have the direction of guest conductor Lawrence Loh for the concert. Mr. Loh guest conducts orchestras all around the world and has previously held conducting positions with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the Colorado Symphony. 

“For them to work with a conductor of his caliber is quite an experience,” said Till.
Till, along with her co-conductor of the String Ensemble Christiane Appenheimer-Vaida, have been rehearsing with the group since the beginning of the semester, but rehearsed with the guests for a couple of hours starting the day before the performance.
This concert certainly entertained audiences, but it also “provided them [students] with two great opportunities,” said Till, “one was to work with such a great conductor and one is to work with a harpist like Kathleen. I mean, those two things together are why this was so important.”  

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