One of the best things about my career is the diversity it affords. As I reflect on this past year, I realize that my work has varied greatly throughout. From releasing my debut CD, to solo shows, wedding ceremonies & receptions, to large and small ensembles, choirs & orchestras and everything else in-between I am always up to something. On top of all that, one cannot overlook all the business & marketing side that needs my attention too! Lately, my harp and I are out of the house about 3-5 times a week for performances and I am constantly working on new and exciting projects. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all there is to keep on top of, but in these moments of reflection I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be doing what I love.
This Saturday marks the end of this year’s wedding season and I would like to take the time to share with you some of my most memorable experiences from this year’s nuptials.
A highlight for me was working with so many fabulous couples. The pictures below are from one of my favourite weddings this year, mostly because of Angie, AN amazingly sweet bride who wedded her partner Adam at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This ended up being the perfect setting for a modern and exquisite couple.
Here is the lovely couple walking out:
This couple did a great job with their decor, they hired fabulous people and it was very cool to watch their guests move around in the unique space.
I also had many requests for songs to play on the harp this year. Here is a list of my Top 5 well-known favourites for a live wedding playlist:
1. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis
2. Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
3. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
4. Just the Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
5. Unchained Melody – Elvis
These are my top 5 favourite things about the weddings I play at:
1. When everyone is happy. Yes, it’s simple but true! It is so easy for me to see when people are happy and supportive and I love it when they are.
2. When, at the end of the aisle, the father hugs his daughter and then the groom. It is such a sweet moment.
3. When the couple has hired a supportive and experienced team of vendors. Every moment is seamless, effortless and executed the way it was planned.
4. When couples write their own vows. I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea but those are the ones that I love the most as they are so unique and special.
5. When the couple incorporates special details. This can be anything from a familial or cultural tradition, to lighting a candle to symbolize the presence of those who could not attend. These are the moments and touches that make the day unique and meaningful.
I started playing weddings at 13 years old and I believe I have played around 800 to date. As you can imagine, I now have quite a few stories as a result! So many celebrations have been incredibly beautiful and some have made last impressions for all kinds of reasons.
I have started a list of don’t’s which I am calling “Etiquette by Janelle.” Below are the first 10 and after that, I will be posting a new one to the list every Friday on my Facebook and Twitter. Each post will be accompanied by the hashtag: #EtiquettebyJanelle. These posts are meant to be entertaining, tongue-in-cheek and perhaps some readers will learn a valuable lesson or two and avoid any potential aftermath!
Here are the first 10 “Etiquette by Janelle” tips:
No 1. Always practice walking in your gown before the wedding day. You don’t want to look or feel uncomfortable.
No 2. If I am given a three page itinerary, just for myself when I show up, you’ve gone too far with the micro-managing.
No 3. If I am wearing my sunglasses outside, it’s because I need to see my strings and music. Don’t worry, it won’t effect anything!
No 4. If it rains, I absolutely cannot have my harp outside without adequate cover. And no, a tiny umbrella just won’t work.
No 5. Take the plastic off the flowers before you walk down the aisle.
No 6. The base of my harp is not a stool to elevate yourself to get a picture.
No 7. Do research on your vendors so you can have peace of mind and be sure that you can fully revel in your day without worrying.
No 8. Touching or testing out my harp is not ok just because I had to step away for two minutes.
No 9. My harp column is probably the worst place in the whole venue to put down your drink.
No 10. Last but not least, this day is a big one. Enjoy it!
Tune in to my social media to hear more tips from a Vancouver harpist!
Thank you for reading my blog!
All photographs on this blog post taken by: Thomasz Wagner.
One of the great perks of the new and updated website is that people get the chance to see what I do and what I am all about. I have had many people in my life tell me that my personality has come through on the website. I have also had many people whom I have never met say that the website has an inviting feel and that they felt like they got to know me just from reading the pages.
Finding my webpage is actually what brought me and one of my recent clients, Rodrozen Designs together. They recently had a breakfast event where people in their industry were invited into their store; I played and sang as the guests mingled. If you need any kind of design or renovation for your home, office and beyond, these are your guys! They have beautiful art work as well.
I absolutely love performing in this setting. I get to share my singing and the beautiful music of the harp, all while playing a diverse set of music and meeting many new people . I am doing what I love and am so happy that my website is helping to spread the word all around Vancouver! To keep it accessible for everyone I try to incorporate: standards, some pop stuff, a little classical and even some of my own songs. People are always surprised by the versatility of my music and the many places in which I play: events, fundraisers, parties and beyond. They are often taken aback by the fact that I am not a stuffy musician but I bring humour and fun to my gigs.
The wonderful photographer for these shots was Mark Whitehead from gettheshot. He has some amazing photos!
If you know of someone or a company having an event, this kind of music would definitely add that “je ne sais quoi” feel as harp music fills the air! Need a musician for hire?- contact me!
5 things to know about a Vancouver harpist:
1. Don’t touch my harp.
2. I said, don’t touch my harp.
3. Are you listening? Don’t touch my… thank you…
4. I can move my harp by myself.
5. No, I don’t wish I played the flute.
When I was in high school, and I was deciding “what am I going to be when I grow up”, I knew that the harp was going to play a big role and I knew I was the type of person who needed to have my hands in many different pies in order to stay inspired. Little did I know that becoming a professional harpist would keep me occupied in so many different ways. My job is so diverse as I mainly travel around the Lower Mainland, but especially in Vancouver while playing my harp. I have met amazing people, I get to hear their stories, I get to be creative musically and visually, I get to do the business side of things and most importantly, I love what I do.
Another great perk about being a musician is that I get to work from home quite often. I love being home and having that freedom.
All in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my job. I love being a harpist. I love Vancouver. And I love my harp.
I am so happy to finally have it up and running and that you are here visiting! My team and I worked really hard to create a site that is comprehensible, has lots of information, and is fun. I wanted to construct a website that people could check out on a regular basis and stay connected to my music, videos, information and to me.
When it came to designing the site, my designer Jessica and I tried to figure out how it would be possible to put all the information that needed to be here in the most efficient way. Then we needed to figure out what the look of the whole thing was going to be. I had been told that the most successful people in blogging and social media are the ones who stayed most true to themselves. I am IN LOVE with the vintage-shabby-chic look and my house is full of these kinds of pieces. We felt like this look of the website was very much that and I loved the beautiful 1930’s inspired floral design. This is what we came up with!
We did a bit of research on other harpists around the world and no one seemed to embrace the fact that the harp is a stunning instrument with class and elegance so we wanted to nail that idea down… with a twist. We were also very inspired by the classic French perfumes hence the logo and the flowers.
A bit about Janelle
Though you may see me dressed up at one of my shows, I am very down to earth; there is more to me than a girl in a gown who plays the harp. I value sillyness, I love to cook, I love being with my friends and family, I love being outside and I appreciate all kinds of art. I believe in equality. I believe that we all have a place on this earth and that no deed is too small. I believe in learning from your mistakes, striving to be a better person every day and I believe that everyone has a responsibility to contribute to this world. I try to play my part by sharing my art and passion with people in hopes that it may make them forget their troubles for that moment or perhaps even feel a little inspired.
I am going to strive to let my art and personality shine on my website and social media so that you may come to it for a laugh, a listen, and maybe even some inspiration.
A HUGE thank you to
Jessica- my designer, friend and neighbour. On her Birthday a couple of months ago, we were sitting with a glass of wine contemplating why work was slow that week and I decided that I needed to revamp my website and SHE was the one who was going to help me! She has been incredibly patient, on the ball, creative and hard working on this project. She made me feel so at ease and inspired. Thank you.
Kara- my sister- She has always been the most supportive and loving sister a girl could ask for. She even flew to Vancouver from Winnipeg to help with the photo shoot. She took some amazing photos and helped me so much. Kara even ran to Whole Foods three separate times to get our treat: Green Goodness Smoothie. She helped edit and gave great ideas along the way. My sister is always so incredibly supportive and loving and I couldn’t ask for a better one. Thank you.
My family- My parents and extended family are so supportive of what I do. I am incredibly lucky to have their love and support. My mom especially, is the one who reads, rereads, edits and gives her input. I am grateful for all that she does! Thank you.
So ladies and gentlemen, I hope you enjoy this website and please come back to visit!
Have an amazing day!