American harpist donates $8,000 to cancer research

November 9, 2011 | Focus On | Number 22
By Dick Benner |

Virginia Bethune, a member of Park View Mennonite Church, began a project 10 years ago that has evolved into the Build-2-Habitat-Houses-With-Music initiative. Together with her husband Dick, a retired Presbyterian minister, and members of the choir at Blacksburg United Methodist Church, Va., where she was organist for 14 years, Bethune has produced seven CDs, most of which are entitled Healing Harp Melodies, whose gross sales have exceeded $100,000. At age 60, she learned to play the harp, and for the past four years has been a musician-in-residence at the University of Virginia hospital in Charlottesville, where she plays therapeutic music at patients’ bedsides; this music is not entertainment or performance, but is offered to provide a setting where healing may occur even when a cure is not possible. A year ago, Bethune produced Healing Harp Melodies: Classical Tunes and Loveabyes, with a cellist and flutist; sales were $8,000 in the six weeks after release, to fund research through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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