Heights High senior featured in winter concert

Kellen Lowrie

Harpist Kellen Lowrie will be the featured soloist at a concert on Friday, Feb. 11. Presented by the instrumental music department of Cleveland Heights High School, it is the second of two concerts the department will present that week.

The first concert, on Wednesday, Feb. 9, features a chamber music recital in the school’s social room, followed by the school’s concert orchestra, a percussion ensemble, and the combined concert and symphonic bands in the auditorium.

The second concert, on Feb. 11, also features a chamber music recital, followed by the symphonic winds, a combined orchestra selection with 8th graders from the district’s middle schools, and the Heights High symphony orchestra, featuring Kellen Lowrie as soloist.

The chamber music recitals begin at 6:30 p.m. and the main concerts start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free for seniors and children under 12.

Lowrie is one of three seniors who auditioned last October and were selected to play with the symphony orchestra. Lowrie and senior soloists Gwen Donley, who played in November, and Catherine Holt, who will play in May, distinguished themselves in the competition with their outstanding preparation and artistry.

Lowrie’s solo, "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo, was originally written for guitar and orchestra, but the composer also arranged a version for the harp. Lowrie’s playing of this piece emphasizes the passionate and emotive sounds of the Spanish guitar.

Lowrie's mother, Lia, recalls her daughter bouncing down the stairs at age six to announce that she wanted to play the harp. Lia Lowrie found a harp teacher at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and Kellen has been playing ever since.

At Heights High, Lowrie is a four-year member of the symphony orchestra and a new participant in the chamber music program. She is also the president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. One of her favorite musical activities is to participate in pit orchestras. In addition to the last two Heights High musicals ("The King and I" and "Beauty and the Beast"), Lowrie has played for Shaker Heights High School’s "Ragtime," Beaumont School’s "Once Upon a Mattress" and "Oklahoma!" as well as "The Fantasticks" by That Summer Things Productions.

Lowrie has been the principal harpist for the Ohio Music Education Association’s Northeast Regional Orchestra and All-State Orchestra. She was also a member of the Jocelyn Chang Harp Ensemble, from 1999 to 2009, joining only a few months after she began to study the harp. A few years later, Lowrie began studying the Celtic style of harp playing. She took first place in the Journeyman category of the National Scottish Harp Competition in 2009.

Appreciative of all the support and encouragement she received from her teachers and fellow orchestra members over the years, Lowrie said,"I am especially grateful to my parents, Bruce and Lia Lowrie, for supporting my decision to play the harp, and especially for hauling it around. They even gave up buying the car they wanted for a vehicle that had enough trunk space for a six-foot harp."

Daniel Heim is the director of orchestras in Heights High’s instrumental music department.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 2:22 PM, 01.18.2011