Anna DeLoi and Friends Pull “Heartstrings” Across New England in the Name of Charity

In May, we posted the inspiring ambitions of harpist Anna DeLoi, who has spent the summer traveling and performing with her ensemble Heartstrings to raise funds for CureSearch, a children’s cancer research foundation. The group has achieved a great deal these past two months.

Anna joined forces with two musician friends, Nash Ryder and Keith Williams,  who were also staying home for the summer, to collaborate with her on this project and help create Heartstrings. They put together a chamber music program, created a Facebook fan page to spread the word, and started contacting a wide range of places, from music festivals to local libraries to schedule performances. She passed up a prestigious spot at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute this summer to pursue her passion of giving back through music. Among the festivals they have visited this summer are the Marblehead Arts Festival, Somersworth Children’s Festival, and Old Homes Days of Plaistow, NH. As a result of their efforts, CureSearch, has been receiving support and donations from town committees and audience members. Anna shares more about her summer experiences:

At the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (Courtesy Heartstrings Facebook Page)

We’re having an amazing time!! Being able to interact with our audiences at these events has been especially rewarding for us. At festivals, it’s easy for people come up to talk to us about what we’re doing this summer. Everyone has been so supportive! We especially love when we can fulfill requests of favorite classical pieces, and make our performances more personal and exciting. The informal atmosphere is like none we’ve performed in before, but it’s refreshing! Classical music doesn’t need to be “stuffy”, after all!

At Plaistow Old Home Day (Courtesy Heartstings Facebook Page)

One of my favorite moments was at the Somersworth Children’s festival, when Keith showed a little girl – she was probably 5 or 6 – how to play the cello. It’s fun to let kids try my harp, too – they’re always so excited to get involved. It’s great to see how interested they are in classical music!There have also been more emotional moments, though. At the Marblehead Arts Festival Street Fair, we talked to a woman who’s son had died of cancer a year and a half before. I think we all poured our hearts into the music a little more after that. And last week, we played at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine. We set up in a beautiful Atrium, and the music could travel into surrounding patient’s rooms. Hopefully we made their day a little brighter!

There are many more events we’re looking forward to in August, including two performances at Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport, a performance at Old Sturbridge Village, and multiple private functions – all raising money for CureSearch, of course. In fact, so many opportunities have come up this summer, we’ve decided to continue playing together in the fall. There is just so much more we want to do (plus, there’s nothing better than playing with friends)!! Once the school year starts, and there are no more fun-summer-busking opportunities, we’ll be putting together chamber concerts. We’ll also be giving classical music programs for kids – which we’re developing now – at elementary schools and libraries.

At the Marblehead Arts Street Festival

*We recently received an update from Anna on her travels and performances with Heartstrings. They performed at the Yankee Homecoming Festival in Newburyport, MA, and were part of that festival’s Family Day at Maudslay Park, then visited Old Sturbrudge Village in Sturbridge, MA. Anna shares more on future plans for the group:

We’ll be playing a couple of private functions… and then we’ll start doing concerts! We’ll soon have a date for our first fall chamber concert. Also, any new events will be posted on our facebook page:

Family Day at Maudslay Park

To learn more about the Heartstrings initiative and their inspiring story, visit their Facebook page. We will also keep you posted on further developments with the group here on our blog. Take a moment to visit the CureSearch website to help support finding the cure for children’s cancer.