Skibicki plays the harp


Suzanne Skibicki, junior, sits elegantly behind her harp. Her harp is gold with an intricate design on it. As she starts to play, her hands move gracefully on the harp and her fingers pluck each individual string. The music she plays is uplifting and creates a beautiful sound.

Skibicki has been playing the harp since second grade. “My mom always told me I went to some broadway show, and I saw a harpist play, and I loved it,” Skibicki said. “I wanted to play ever since.”

The harp is a unique instrument to play, and the difficulty level progressed as she grew older. The hardest songs for her are not a specific type, but specific techniques.

“The hardest songs to play are usually the ones with the most pedal changes, meaning that I have to move my feet while I play,” Skibicki said.

Coming in as a freshman, Skibicki had never played in an orchestra before, and joining the orchestra was her hardest obstacle.

“It’s a different kind of playing, and I have to keep up with the conductor and the other people around me. Also the songs were more difficult than I was used to, but I’ve learned a lot and it’s been really fun,” Skibicki said.

There’s always room for improvement, according to Skibicki. She is able to progress by learning new songs that challenge her technique and skill.

“It can be hard to find time to learn a song because it takes constant practicing,” Skibicki said. “I really like playing more modern songs, where I can be more expressive and do what I want with the song,” Skibicki said

Skibicki stated that the harp can be a huge time commitment. However, playing the harp in school gives her more time to practice and improve.

“I’m lucky to have practice time at school, which makes it a lot easier to balance school and the harp,” Skibicki said. For Skibicki, the harp is also a stress reliever. “School and sports can be stressful, and the harp is something I’ll do to relieve my stress,” Skibicki said.

Besides playing in the orchestra, she has performed at a few dinner parties, at recitals, and at the Spring Musical. Her goals this year were to play in the musical and to make it to All-State for IMEA.

“The harp is sort of a solo instrument,” Skibicki said. “It’s pretty quiet, which makes it difficult sometimes to play with other instruments, but I love performing with the orchestra and performing with everyone in orchestra. I like the sound, and the way I’m able to express myself when I play.”

Skibicki stated not many people know she plays the harp and they are surprised when they find out.

“It’s always kind of funny watching people’s reactions as I wheel my harp past them to get to the auditorium or orchestra room,” Skibicki said. “They are usually like ‘Oh wow look at the harp!’”

Despite any initial surprise, those who hear Skibicki’s harp are soon impressed with her performance.

“The most rewarding part about playing is after the performances when people tell me how much they enjoyed listening,” Skibicki said.