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.
Hello to all my wonderful, loyal fans out there and also to those of you who are new to my site! I’m happy you are spending a few minutes to pop by and thanks very much for showing an interest in my exciting new debut album. I am officially releasing the CD on October 8th, which is coming up quickly, so remember to preorder your very own copy today!
On Monday, I will be a guest on the TV & radio stations listed below. For all the latest updates, stay tuned to my social media pages.Here are the links to those interviewing me:
Jewel 101 Radio, CTV Morning News Winnipeg, CBC Radio-Canada Television, 680 CJOB, CBC Radio-Canada
On Tuesday, I will be interviewed by none other than Winnipeg’s acclaimed radio host, Ace Burpee!
Thank you and enjoy!
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!
One of my dad’s first memories of me as a baby was bringing me back to the farm in the car seat of his brand new Versatile 800 tractor in a blinding snow storm. Needless to say, I have grown up on equipment and it gives me as much peace and serenity as playing my harp does.
A lot has changed in the the last 27 years. The old Versatile was retired years ago and now so much of the equipment is run electronically; even the steering! My favourite piece of equipment to drive is the combine which is in the picture below.
The day that we harvested that field, the wheat was not quite ready to go so I dragged my harp into the field with my mom and sister and we took this video.
Hours on the farm are more intense than most people imagine. Not only is the whole family involved in working on the farm, but the hours are long and the work is unpredictable; you never know when a rain cloud will come your way or the field will be ready to harvest. Still, nothing beats a meal in the field which makes it all worthwhile.
Every year, it pains me to come back to Vancouver and leave the farm but once I get back, I do love my life here as I am so fortunate to be a working harpist in this beautiful city. Don’t worry though, I always go back!
Once upon a time, there was an eleven year old little girl who played her harp at her Aunt and Uncle’s wedding. She then got asked to play at another wedding, then another and soon she found that she was playing at weddings every weekend and she loved it.
Fast-forward 15 years and that little girl is all grown up and is still enjoying playing the harp at beautiful Vancouver weddings.
Here are pictures by the lovely Denise Lin at a recent Vancouver wedding:
Vancouver Wedding Tips:
1. Outdoor weddings: Outdoor weddings are beautiful but one must have a Plan B in case of rain. I will share with you a secret: In all the years of playing at weddings, I have only played at ONE wedding where we got rained out. Maybe I am a bride’s lucky charm! 😉
2. The dress: When a bride-to-be tries on her dress, she should also pause for one moment and figure out if she can comfortably move in it. If there is one day where a girl should be free to throw her arms in the air, jump up in excitement, or wipe a tear from her eye, this is it!
3. Wedding Planner: The wedding is about the couple but the couple would not be the individuals they are if it were not for the love and support of family and friends. If there are enough details, do everyone a favor and get professional help the day of so everyone can relax and enjoy.
4. Hire a harpist!: There are very few instruments that spell “romance” as much as the harp. Treat yourself and your guests to beautiful, live music that will create that unforgettable touch on the day of your dreams.
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!