Arts and Entertainment
July 16, 2015
For more than 85 years, Louise Trotter, professional harpist and Parkway Place resident, has been a musician. Now at 91 years old, she continues to share her passion for music with others by offering guidance at national harp events, playing local concerts and even entertaining her fellow residents by playing the senior living community's grand piano while she waits for her occasional to-go meal from the dining room. Trotter will be sharing her award-winning talents with her fellow residents as she performs a harp concert at the community Monday, July 20th at 3:00 p.m. She will showcase several genres of music, including hymns, country and western, jazz, ragtime and other popular music, on two different types of harps, Celtic and concert. Trotter will also educate concert-goers on the inner workings and history of the harp and display photos and CDs of her work. Though she has played the instrument a majority of her life, she feels fortunate to have found a passion for music and performing that has kept her going mentally and physically throughout her life.
Trotter grew up in a musical family and her father, a Port Arthur high school band director, built the first harp that she owned. It wasn't love at first sight with the instrument, but as she began to practice more and more, her interest skyrocketed. Over the years, she has performed internationally, played in the Beaumont and Port Arthur symphonies and later performed five nights a week at a hotel restaurant in Houston where she often took requests. She has been honored with two lifetime achievement awards by the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen and the Somerset Folk Harp Festival. Trotter has 14 CDs to her name and has created and published more than 30 different song arrangements for the harp, which are still sold today. Her favorite songs to play are popular tunes from the 40s, 50s and 60s, because they bring back special memories for herself and her listeners.
"Mentally, I still feel like I'm 21," said Trotter. "I don't have any concept of age when I play. It puts me in my own world where I can be any age I want to be. It's the most exhilarating feeling in the world to make an audience smile. It's a thrill to know I'm not too old to do that."
Trotter moved to the senior living community about three months ago and is looking forward to performing as a way to get acquainted with her fellow residents and them with her. She has been practicing about an hour a day to prepare for the show, which is as much of a physical challenge as it is a mental one due to her concert harp weighing 75 pounds.
"Playing, learning and composing music have helped my mind and body stay active," said Trotter. "I'm constantly learning new things because I enjoy it and have the desire to expand my mind."
When Trotter isn't playing music, she pursues other creative hobbies, including oil painting.
"Louise's commitment to her music and spreading knowledge about the harp is truly inspiring," said Susan Phelps, director of sales and marketing at Parkway Place. "She has added so much joy and life to Parkway Place in such a short time. We're looking forward to enjoying her concert and hope this is the first of many performances at our community."