I did it! I finished with my 25th song/performance yesterday afternoon. A reminder: my quest is to write 25 original songs about the people, places and history of New Mexico and then to play them in the places of their inspiration. I started the quest off with the group of kids I direct "The Apple Mountain Harp Kids," so I decided to let them be in on it at the end as well. We had a performance scheduled at the New Mexico State Fair and after they played, I had them all gather around me and I played a reel called "The Carousel Kid." I felt it was important for them to see the conclusion of it all to encourage those who are planning to do their own quests next year.
Like others on this list, I know that I won't be stopping at 25. I still have the following songs written that I plan to perform throughout the next year or so: "Lullabye for Bobby" "Kaleidoscope Skies" "The Letter" "Silver City Millie" "Down on Her Knees" "Santiago" "Sweet Bluegrass in the Pines" "Twilight Eyes" "Johnny's Angel" "The Old One and the Child" "Dust Devil" and a few others in progress.
A few others things have come of this quest:
1. In the midst of all of this--having my own compositions actually ready to go-- I decided to record my first solo CD. The following songs inspired by this quest will be on it: "Sweet Bluegrass in the Pines" "Silver City Millie" "Santiago" "Twilight Eyes" "Johnny's Angel" "The Carpenter's Gift" "The Yellow Rosebud" "The Letter" "Farolitos of Christmas" plus five other public domain tunes--although not all of them were recorded with harp--hammered dulcimer is my other main instrument (and guitar) so I feature those instruments on some of the tunes.
2. One of the songs, "The Letter" has turned out to have a strong emotional impact on the people it was written for. A friend of mine gave birth to a baby girl 18 years ago and had the baby adopted. On that day, she wrote her a letter, explaining why she was doing what she was doing and about her hopes and dreams for her daughter's life. That letter was to be given to her daughter on her 18th birthday (Sept. 1st of this year). When my friend heard the song, she asked if she could include it in a gift to her daughter. She is hoping that she will very soon get to meet her. I sang the song in the vocal competition at the 18th Annual Santa Fe Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival and took first place. After singing it, though, I had a woman approach me in tears, asking about the song because it had touched her--she herself was adopted and just recently met her birth Mom. I've also been asked to perform that song at a large Adoption Assistance Banquet at the end of this month. It's been very humbling to see how music can touch people and an inspiration to me to keep doing what I'm doing.
3. Several of the places that I performed have asked me to return to do full concerts there, so it looks like I'll have many more opportunities to continue to share the harp and my compositions.
So. . . thank you John and all those involved with Harping for Harmony for getting me started down a path that has already reaped tons of benefits and will continue to influence my musical journey. John, I'll be sending you photos documenting everything in the next few weeks. Also, I'll try to send you a copy of at least some of the songs on the CD. To everyone else--keep it up--it's been a delight reading about your progress and I can't wait to hear how *your* 25th goes!
Jeanne Page, Millennium Harper of New Mexico's Story in Song
(Below is the declaration I posted early in 2002:)
I, Jeanne Page, hereby declare my intention to perform on Celtic harp in at least 25 locations which have inspired original compositions, telling the story of New Mexico in song, thus earning the title of Millennium Harper of New Mexico's Story."
Each performance of an original song will be documented with a signed certificate and a photo.