Harp music brings an angelic, whimsical feeling to the listener, but for Linda Cupp it is part of her day-to-day life.
Cupp played in dinner theaters and musicals at LMU in the late 1980s, but when the scores called for harp music, she played the part on a synthesizer.
“Just coming into the harps presence you realize what a magnificent and magical instrument it is. I always thought it was such a cool instrument, but it looked so hard,” said Cupp.
To be more authentic and to challenge herself, Cupp began taking harp lessons from a teacher in Knoxville in 1988. Cupp had been playing piano since she was 4, so she had some basic musical knowledge before she began learning the harp.
“I don’t care what you play, anything sounds good on the harp,” said Cupp.
Cupp graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in music composition. She went back to school and received a master’s degree in education from LMU and also received a special certification from UT to teach music to students from Kindergarten through grade 12.
Cupp’s neatest musical experience happened in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where she played her lap harp in a rustic church during a wedding in Cades Cove.
“When you play, you’re communicating with that piece of music that you know and interpreting what you want to say from that piece to the listener or whoever is paying attention to me. I guess that’s the best thing about music — that communication,” said Cupp.
Music is something she and her husband share. Terry is Cupp’s husband of three years and plays guitar. They live together with their cats and dogs in Claiborne County.
“Music education is just so important and it helps with education in other areas. Now they’re finding that it also helps fight Alzheimer’s,” said Cupp.
She gives private lessons on many different instruments and is a church musician at Harrogate United Methodist Church.
“That’s how I worship and I just feel a connection there. If I don’t play in church I feel like I just didn’t even go,” said Cupp.
Kelsey Gerhardt can be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardmbdn.