Many harpists nickname their instruments because of their endless practicing. They just become such a part of the musician. Judy has refrained from giving her harp a specific name, although her husband has heard her call it "names."
Judy started playing the harp at age nine. Her dad (on a minister's salary) drove 50 miles one way into Glendale, California, for her lessons each week. In 1968, Judy's dad bought her gold leaf Concert Grand-style 23 Lyon-Healy harp. It was her second pedal harp - born in Chicago, Illinois on September 15, 1956; weight 92 pounds, length 74 1/4 inches. He purchased it for $3000 from Judy's harp teacher, Marjorie Call. Ms. Call was Carlos Salzedo's last wife. Salzedo was the world's greatest harpist in the 1920-50s, and he made it his practice to marry his most promising students.
This harp has been many interesting places, but is best known for its television, radio, and recording appearances across the globe.
We found this old Lyon-Healy brochure, circa 1950:
|In 1899 in Chicago, George Lyon and Patrick Healy produced their first harp, a double action harp that was a marked improvement over any harps previously made. (And that first harp is still in use in Chicago!)
Today, many years and many harps later, Lyon-Healy harps should be an important consideration. But almost equally important is Lyon-Healy's more-than-a-century-old reputation for integrity that is behind every Lyon-Healy harp we make... and our often proved facilities and know-how for doing everything necessary to keep your harp in top playing condition over the many years you may own it. We not only make the best harps - we stand behind them to assure your continuing satisfaction!
Concerning Judy's 23 karat gold Concert Grand harp, it read:
|The first choice of professionals for its auditorium-filling tone, response action, and dependable performance. Enlarged soundboard of selected spruce, beautiful maple body, fluted column, and magnificently detailed base. Ornamented and polished brass action plates. Pure gold leaf finish. The soundboard is 20 3/4" wide with 47 strings: G to Contra Bass C inclusive.|
One of the most common questions Judy is asked is how much the harp is worth - replacement cost, $75,000. That's for a new harp, which if ordered today, would take up to 2 years to get because of the backlog of orders. Each harp is made by hand and takes about a year to complete. A new instrument just wouldn't have the beautiful aged sound that Judy's has. No amount of money can buy that.