Meet a Young Harpist- Tess Kara

Meet a Young Harpist
By Kaye Osborn

Tess Kara is a 9th grader in the IB program at Modesto High School. She was an accomplished 8-year old pianist with Nina Black. One day Nina encouraged her to try a harp class with Margie Butler. Tess did just that! She was hooked. She loved playing the harp then and now.

Margie Butler began the first youth harp ensemble in 2011 with five students. Margie gives the hour-long lessons in her home. More than 15 harps, of all sizes, embellish her living room. Honestly, seeing that many harps in one location is quite impressive. The Youth Harp Ensemble grew from five to current fifteen members, the youngest being only seven.

Q and A with Tess

MV: What are your favorite songs?
Tess: South American songs and Canon in D

MV: What is your favorite venue?
Tess: Covenant Village in Turlock

MV: Do you do solo or duo performances?
Tess: Yes, for private events and weddings

MV: What other hobbies do you enjoy?
Tess: I like to dance, paint and enjoy performing for others, especially Senior Citizens

MV: What else can to tell me about harps?
Tess: Harps and pianos are similar. The sound matures as the harp ages, becomes richer. The number of strings on a harp can vary: 32, 34 or 36 strings. All harps don’t sound the same. The wood and the soundboard can affect the tone. Most harps are made with oak or cherry wood.

I heard the Youth Harp Ensemble perform in December. The show was amazing. The young performers play with skill and professionalism. Margie, as the director, with her husband, Paul, embellished the concert with singing, guitars, violins and other instruments.

If you would like to attend one of their performances, here are their May dates.
Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day
3 PM- 4 PM (free)
Casa de Modesto, 1745 Eldena Way, Modesto

Sunday, May 15 with Candy’s Choristers
Concert begins at 4 PM (free)
Modesto Christian Reform Church
2620 College Ave.



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.