What do the “Dances with Wolves” and the archery bow have in common?
Both share the harp, according to Tammy Wilcox.
“The harp and the drum are said by historians to be the oldest musical instruments,” Wilcox said. “Hunters recognized the sound the string made as they released an arrow and added more strings creating the harp.
“The harp was played in ‘Dances with Wolves' as well as in ‘On Golden Pond.'”
Wilcox is scheduled to perform the harp in its many incarnations in the program “Lyre, Lyre, Harps on Fire” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Miami Public Library.
In addition to its music, Wilcox will give a historical overview of the harp during the program.
She will play several different harps during the program and have others on display.
“One of the things people don't realize is just how many types of harps there are,” she said. “People are familiar with the large, symphonic harps, but there are many other kinds.”
Music will range from Biblical times with King David's lyre to the Dark Ages to the Renaissance through Celtic music and conclude with harp music played in the movies.
“I've done Irish education programs, but only had the opportunity to discuss the history of the harp in Ireland,” Wilcox said.
She travels with her own sound system to make sure “those in the back row can hear as well as those in the front row.”
People must like her programs; they are some of the best-attended musical programs at the library according to head librarian Marcia Johnson.
Wilcox calls the harp, its history and its music, “her passion.”
“The harp opened the whole world up to me,” Wilcox said. “I would wish it on anyone.”
She was introduced to the harp in grade school that she attended with Chris Gaines, daughter of DeMaris Gaines, noted performer and harp teacher.
Wilcox took some harp lessons from DeMaris Gaines.
“I think the Internet has been a big influence on harpists today,” Wilcox said. “You can find different types of music at discuss the harp in chat rooms which wasn't possible a few years ago in Miami.”