Honoring Michelle Gwynne's Legacy in the SCPA Harp Program

For: Students in the Harp Program at SCPA
Cincinnati, OH
Organizer: Cincinnati Chapter of the American Harp Society
$3,449
of $5,000 goal.
Raised by 28 donors
68% Complete
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The Story

Cincinnati lost a true champion of the harp when Michelle Gwynne passed away in September 2016. Her passion for sharing the harp in meaningful ways with others was obvious in all of her performing and teaching, but particularly in the thriving harp program that she cultivated at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). This program gives dozens of students positive experiences with the harp, including unique opportunities like giving concerts, making recordings, performing at conferences, and other entrepreneurial ventures.
As one of very few harp programs in public schools in the US, the daily group harp class is truly invaluable to the school and the city in that it makes the harp accessible to an incredibly large number of students regardless of age, race, socioeconomic level, or any other qualifier; to this end, the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Harp Society (AHS) decided that the best way to do something tangible, meaningful, and long-lasting to honor Michelle's legacy would be to donate a harp to SCPA. The majority of the students enrolled in the program do not own their own instruments, therefore, this harp could be "checked out" for at-home practice, enabling the students to progress in their studies and further their enjoyment of the instrument.

Please consider donating to this worthy cause through this YouCaring page; if you would prefer to mail a check, please contact Alaina Graiser at [email protected] to receive the mailing address. 

To celebrate Michelle's life and to aid in the purchase of the instrument, the Cincinnati Chapter of the AHS is also hosting a Memorial Benefit Concert on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 7pm in Corbett Auditorium at SCPA (108 W Central Parkway, Cincinnati, 45202). The concert is free to the public and donations will be gratefully received; items will also be raffled toward raising funds for the harp. The concert will be a diverse and engaging tribute to Michelle, with performances of all different styles of music by SCPA students and colleagues, friends, and former students of Michelle's.

For any questions or comments, please contact Alaina Graiser at [email protected]

We believe in the power of this harp program to touch students' lives in a positive way and, while Michelle is deeply missed, we are honored to remember her vivacious spirit and further her undeniable legacy in the Cincinnati Harp Community.



The Cincinnati Chapter of the American Harp Society, Inc. is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, therefore, the full amount of your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on April 30, 2017

Posted on April 30, 2017

I am so pleased to announce that Wednesday night's Memorial Concert and Fundraiser was a huge success! Everyone I talked to agreed that it was a very touching, special evening; it truly was a celebration of and tribute to Michelle's incredible life and legacy.

In addition, I am happy to report that the event raised $1,731.25 toward the practice harp!!! With the $1,218 of online donations, our total is now $2,949.25! We are so thankful to everyone who has donated so far and really appreciate your kindness and generosity. I encourage you if you haven't donated, to please still consider doing so; even though the concert is now over, we will keep the youcaring page open and checks can still be mailed. In addition to purchasing the harp itself, we will need to purchase a carrying case (to protect it in transit), extra strings, and insurance, so if you aren't able to donate now but would like to in the future (or have donated already but would like to again in the future!), know that we will be accepting donations even after the harp is already purchased in order to sustain these recurring costs (strings and insurance).

Also, for those who were unable to make it to the concert, we are thrilled to announce that Rees Harps Inc. donated a sharpsicle to the SCPA harp program to be used as a check-out harp for at-home practice as well! Their generosity was overwhelming and we are so thankful for this amazing gift. SCPA student Abel Mooney-Bullock gave the sharpsicle's inaugural performance with a charming rendition of "Little Black Rain Cloud" from Winnie the Pooh!

One thing I meant to announce at the concert that is equally exciting is that Larry Jones has graciously donated 5 Roosebeck Pixie Harps to the SCPA harp program! These harps belonged to Michelle, which makes the donation particularly meaningful. I know students will really appreciate being able to make music on these little harps and we all appreciate Larry's generosity and kindness.

Now, for some special thank-yous:
SCPA for hosting us in their excellent space! We appreciate the support of the faculty, staff, and administration.
Attendees for being such a warm, friendly audience!
Everyone who brought food for the reception!
Those who donated items for the raffle and silent auction; these events wouldn't have happened without your kind contributions!
Donors for your contributions toward the practice harp; every penny matters and we appreciate everyone's kindness and generosity.

Volunteers and Performers: Thank you SO much for all the time, energy, and creativity you put into your respective roles. I apologize that I was unable to thank everyone by name and would like to do so now to honor your generous contributions of time and talent:

Lilu Stoker and Eliza Roberts for creating the lovely sign for the entrance to the auditorium!
Lilu Stoker for creating the powerpoint slideshow (which I'm sure was beautiful!) and graciously playing the new sharpsicle during intermission; I'm sure everyone loved it!
Samantha Davis for volunteering her time and energy to document the whole day!
Lin Grieser for managing a fantastic reception! I appreciate your organizational skills and how you always make the tables look pretty!
Jacquie Chischillie, Beth Fecher, Jackie Parrish, and Rachel Roberts for running the donation, raffle, and silent auction tables. Your calmness and management skills were incredible!
Judi Stoker for coordinating all of the logistics/details of the donations, raffle, and silent-auction with me. Your knowledge, helpfulness, and sweet-spirit were truly invaluable and it was a pleasure to work with you!
Chris Bell, Jackie Davis, Joseph Rebman, and Maleah Weiss: not only did you deliver a wonderful performance in the second half of the program, but you also came to the rescue with all of the things that needed to be done at the last minute....I am truly grateful for your support!
SCPA Harp Students: thank you for your beautiful performance in the first half of the program. I know Ms. Gwynne, Ms. Motter, your families, and the whole harp community were proud of your musical contribution honoring Ms. Gwynne's life and legacy.
Elizabeth....I will never forget our partnership in this massive endeavor! I pretty much need a whole separate thank you card for you :) While I could go on about your knowledge, energy, decisiveness, stamina, encouragement, and more for this event, I think we all agree that your contribution to the SCPA harp program will be forever appreciated because not only have you filled a huge need, but you have also truly invested in each and every student in a real, powerful way.

Lastly I hope everyone enjoys their silent auction and raffle items and that when you see them, you fondly remember Michelle and the lovely evening we had honoring her life and legacy.

Posted on April 26, 2017

Posted on April 26, 2017

The Memorial Benefit Concert honoring Michelle Gwynne's life and legacy is tomorrow (Wednesday)!!!
The concert will be an engaging tribute to Michelle, with performances of all different styles of music by the SCPA Harp Department and friends and colleagues of Ms. Gwynne's. While the concert is free to the public, donations will be gratefully received to help fund the donation of a practice harp to the SCPA Harp Program as a perpetual memorial to Michelle. The harp will specifically be a check-out instrument for at-home practice, enabling the students to progress in their studies and further their enjoyment of the harp. 
The concert is (tomorrow)Wednesday, April 26th at 7:00 PMin the Corbett Theater of the School for Creative and Performing Arts at 108 W Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202. A reception will follow the concert. 
Aside from street parking, probably the easiest place to park is in Washington Park Garage which is the next block north of the school (across from Music Hall) under Washington Park. There are entrances into the garage from Elm Street and Race Street.
If you are unable to attend the concert but would still like to contribute to this worthy cause, you may make an online donation towards the practice harp through this YouCaring page!
We are so excited that our fundraiser has already cracked $1,000; thank you so much to everyone who has donated already! We are glad we have the opportunity to honor Michelle and continue supporting students in their love of the harp and we look forward to the concert tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

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