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Performance at Columbus church to feature popular classics

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Joy Yeh and her seven peers from the Indiana University Harp Ensemble plan to show the romance and beauty of the big, stringed instruments as part of the Music At Asbury concert series.

They’ll do so with what Yeh calls “popular classics.” The set list includes Astor Piazzola’s “History of the Tango,” Manuel de Falla’s “Spanish Dance No. 1” and Gabriel Fauré’s slow and romantic “Berceuse.”

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Asbury United Methodist Church, 1751 27th St., Columbus.

“I think the concert will be the perfect instrument for showing people everything a harp can do,” said Yeh, 28, a doctoral harp performance student at IU and first-year member of the troupe. “We like all the variety and like showing the harp’s different colors.”

There will be solos, duets and quartets, Yeh said.

The weekend event marks the second appearance here in two years for the group from the university, which has the largest harp department in the world. In the ensemble alone, members are from all over the United States, plus China and Taiwan.

Harp department chairwoman Susann McDonald is an internationally acclaimed artist who has performed with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.

“It is not often that you have the opportunity to hear harp music (like this),” said Chuck VanNatta, Asbury’s concert series coordinator.

Yeh mentioned that audiences range from 200 to 400 for the ensemble’s performances. She said off-campus concerts “still are a rare experience for me.”

But she appreciates the feedback after performances from many unaccustomed to seeing harps front and center instead of as an accessory.

“They often will tell us that this is their first time seeing a harp used for a solo,” she said.

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