Katie N. I’m going to shut up for this one and just let Katie tell you a story.
“When I was six, my dad took me to New York City for the weekend. I had never been in a big city like that before and I was mesmerized. The first night we were there, we waited in line in the pouring rain for two hours to get tickets to my first ever Broadway musical (Shrek). I was practically bouncing out of my seat through the entire show, it was the most magical thing I had seen in my life (to that point). After the show, it had finally stopped raining. My dad and I were wandering the streets of NYC way past my bedtime. On our way back to our hotel, I heard music. I followed it to a street corner, where I found a lady who had more of an impact on my life than I could comprehend at the time. On the streets of New York City in the dark, I saw a woman playing beautiful music on this incredible golden harp. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be just like her. I didn’t even know what a harp was until my dad told me, but I was in love. I called my mom and excitedly told her I was watching a woman in a long dress play the harp on the streets of Times Square. She told me to give the phone to my dad (who was yelled at for having the six-year-old out and about at 11:30 PM).
It took two years of convincing, but my parents finally caved and let me start taking harp lessons when I was eight. Nearly ten years later, I’m a member of the American Youth Philharmonic Harp Ensemble, I still take weekly lessons, I’ve played with Yorktown’s band and orchestra, and I can happily call myself a harpist, all thanks to that one stranger on the street so many years ago.” Art and culture are what make life worth living. Just an amazing story. Thank you, Katie, and good luck at South Carolina next year. Send us a photo of your harp in your dorm room!”
**** No prom, no cap and gown, no graduation ceremony. No problem. Next stop, greatness. The senior class of Yorktown High School, Arlington, Virginia. A photo essay by Matt Mendelsohn. Note: All photographs made using long lens. Photographer wore mask and gloves.
Location: Arlington, Virginia.