What Music Lifts Your Spirits?

So many assume that my favorite thing to do is to listen to harp music. Are you kidding? 

I love playing the harp, and the instrument is part of me. But I don’t crave attending harp performances, collecting harp recordings, and listening to harp music on the radio or Pandora. I’ve played the harp for over 30 years. Why would I want to listen to it in my spare time?

I enjoy listening to all types of music, from classical selections to top 40 rock. But to guarantee a smile on my face, I turn to reggae. I was completely unfamiliar with this genre of music until one day, when I was exposed to it in the strangest way.

Here’s the story: For a wedding performance many years ago, the groom insisted that I accompany his best friend on the hymn “Ave Maria”. “Kevin’s an experienced church vocalist,” the groom promised me.

“Does he read music? Is he comfortable singing with an accompanist?” I asked.

“Oh yes!!!”

I spoke with the “fabulous Kevin” and advised him of the key that my arrangement was in, thinking this key was surely too high for his voice. Kevin assured me that he could sing in any key. I should have taken this response as a red flag–Who can sing in every key?

I insisted on a rehearsal, and Kevin was only available to meet with me in the church just prior to when guests were escorted in for seating. As it turned out, Kevin lied to me–He couldn’t read music. He could not keep any rhythm and sang out of tune.

Kevin was like some kind of male version of Florence Foster Jenkins (only to  her credit, she could keep to the rhythm). The only way I could accompany him was to play one glissando after another, you know, running my fingers up and down the harp strings.

The groom stuck his head in during this pre-ceremony run-through, and I asked him how it sounded, thinking that surely he’d realize that his best friend sang out-of-tune. Nope. The groom loved it and was tickled by what he heard!

The ceremony came and went as I played for a vocalist who seemed utterly unaware that anyone was trying to accompany him.

Driving home after that unusual rendition of a vocal/harp duet of “Ave Maria”, I turned on the radio. And what instantly serenades me through my car speakers? A reggae version of “Ave Maria”! What perfect timing! I laughed so hard that I nearly had to pull over. That song lightened my heart. What I took as a seriously befuddled performance of a traditional sacred hymn transformed into a memory of my effort to support someone’s performance for their best friend. Referring to that performance now makes me laugh.

Tokyo Luxury Lounge Album
This album includes a reggae version of “Ave Maria”!

I’ve not heard that particular version of “Ave Maria” again, but it turned me on to reggae music in a big way. For a sample of another version of a reggae treatment of this hymn, check out this version on the Tokyo Luxury Lounge album.

Reggae music makes me yearn to play in a reggae band. Wouldn’t that be cool? I actually do play a bit of reggae on the harp, but it’s not often requested (I think most of my clients and audience members think it can’t be done on the harp!)

What music lists your spirits? Get the conversation going and safe below. I play a vast array of music at my Friday performances inside a local hotel lobby (and sometimes it’s even reggae music).

Guess the hotel lobby where I play, and a FREE CD of your choice is yours! Hint: The lobby is pictured below.

Harpist Anne Roos Performs in Which Hotel Lobby?
Name the hotel lobby where harpist Anne Roos performs and win a CD!


  1. Laying down a groove on drums.playing a flawless set. Reaching musical bliss while playing. That has only happened a handful of times in the thirty plus years I’ve played. For the other times i need to be lifted? Halestorm “i miss the misery” Disturbed “the sickness” Nataly Merchant “carnival” tool “aenima and of course just about anything from rush

  2. I like taking a work and rearranging it. For instance, I’ve taken the piece, ‘Triptic Dance’, meant for 2 or more harps and worked it up into a jazzy solo piece, with added material, in the relative minor. I added ‘gliss’ and some other effects. I think it sounds cool, but more on a personal note, I like playing it, because of the added harmony in the left hand, which enhances the beauty of the work. I didn’t stick to F major. Instead, the melody floats over different progressions of chords. I also change rhythms, speeds and jump octaves for variation. Lots of gliss, but as usual, I don’t overdue. Special effects tend to lose luster, if played too much. That’s why they’re special! 🙂

    I have also played ‘Danny Boy’ with a Latin beat!

  3. What a funny story … glad you found something to uplift you from the horrors of the wedding experience! These days I listen to a lot of Ambient Space Music or Ambient “post-rock.” Fave band at the moment is Sigur Ros!

    Cannot even begin to imagine which hotel that is … guess I would have to go back through your old FB posts.

    Thanks for connecting in this way, Anne!

    • Hi Cynthia! Nope, you won’t see this hotel in any of my previous Facebook posts (and I think you’d need to be here in Tahoe to figure out which one it is).

      I’ve got 30+ years of incredible wedding stories. I’ll be posting more here… 😀

  4. Cute story Anne! I would never have guessed you loved Reggae but it makes sense seeing that you love to smile;) I love to listen to Reggae when I feel like a need a vacation and it’s like a free getaway. It’s so soothing and uplifting.
    Keep up the fun stories! Cheers!!

  5. So much lovely music! Where to begin? Right now I listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music (especially for King and Country and Moriah Peters!) I also love baroque, Beethoven, Celtic, country, pop… and anything else with a pretty melody.

    Do you play at the Marriott Timber Lodge? That carpet looks awfully familiar!

Comments are closed.