Harpist harnesses power of music to help others
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:01PM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, September 3, 2014 2:27PM MDT
A Calgary woman who makes a living playing and teaching others to play the harp is using her talents to brighten the lives of others in a place that's far from heavenly and is our Inspiring Albertan this week.
Calgary harpist Gianetta Baril has performed in some of the finest concert halls in the world and has even performed for the Queen.
Baril will box up her gowns and concert harps for the next year to embark on a new challenge in Brazil.
“I'll be doing some teaching for a music project in Rio, in the favelas in Rio, so in the slums,” said Baril.
She is going on the trip with an international program that teaches kids living in poverty to play musical instruments.
Baril says a lot of the kids want to learn to play the harp and that doesn't surprise her.
“If you've ever been close to a young child when they see the harp for the first time, you would understand it. There's something that's just incredibly powerful about the instrument that draws little, little children to it, as well as adults,” said Baril.
The music project in Brazil doesn't start until the New Year so she is going to do some volunteer work in Nepal in the meantime.
Baril’s son, Jonathan McLean, suffered serious injuries during a hiking expedition to Nepal about 18 months ago and she put everything on hold to travel half way around the world to be at his bedside.
“It was just natural for her to show up there at the door of my hospital room and take care of me from then on out,” said McLean.
Baril says the people of Nepal were so supportive that she just wants to give something back. “I've travelled a lot and really never in the world, anywhere else, have I felt that kind of a sense of being cared for and supported, held up by the society.”
“She's just, you know, about to go on this whirlwind adventure for almost a year around the world and that's just so inspiring,” said McLean.
For leaving her comfort zone to help people in Nepal and share the gift of music with children in Brazil, Gianetta Baril is our Inspiring Albertan this week.
(With files from Darrel Janz)