Musings of a couple of harp store owners

As John and I muse about entering our 25th year as owners of a very special place, Melody’s Traditional Music, we think of our antics, customers, experiences, trips, and life.

Our trip in 1994 to the Vermont Folk Harp Conference was our first big vendor experience. Both successful and disastrous, we survived. We met wonderful harp builders and established friendships never to be broken. We learned so much.

As a partnership, we did many things. Having different abilities and fortes, you can imagine the sharing (or not) of some of our endeavors:

Chairing the ISFHC conference in 1998
Presiding as officers for the ISFHC
Editing the “Folk Harp Journal”
Building stages
Building out storefronts
Creating catalogs
Mailing catalogs
Learning how to use mailing programs
Building harp boxes
Having a 4000 sq ft storefront
Remodeling the store
Building a house
Fostering 30+ dogs
Taking fosters to work
Moving the store twice
Recording CDs
Trying things that didn’t work
Trying things that did work
Stage shows as a duo or more
Hosting famous harpists at concerts
Selling dulcimers, recorders, whistles, Autoharps
Deciding not to sell dulcimers, recorders, whistles, Autoharps

We look back with twinges of joy and sadness at what didn’t work, missing our dogs, rejoicing in our accomplishments, seeing how far our customers took their goals and desires to fruition, and much more. Meeting hundreds of beautiful people stands out largely.  To be continued….


Lately we have been eluding to, but not yet speaking with force, “what’s next?” We’ve heard the expression, “all good things must come to an end.” But is that true, or do things just change, transpire or evolve without really ending? Does the close of something start another, or is there a process of continuation?

Melody’s has been a driving force throughout the world as a friendly place to find a multitude of harp print music titles. It’s a place where desperate harpists were able to have a quick expert repair, or find strings in a pinch. Or find that odd piece of music, you know, the one with the blue cover that has a passage that sounds like this: hmm hmm la do me so…… – oh yes, that’s thus and so from this book (and one of us miraculously finds the book.)

How would a change in guard affect all concerned? So we continue to meditate and wonder about the next chapter. Who would or could be the next proprietor of such a business, the next guardian? Who would best facilitate a transition, and ease Melody’s into another beautiful experience and existence? Who would take Melody’s into its next expression and continue to support the harp community with integrity?

We have hoed many a tough row. Is there an opportunity for an individual or individuals to continue a fine tradition? We leave this open, and wait.

Mary and John

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