Camper brings harp music to Slave Lake and High Prairie

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Gianetta Baril is on an impromptu harp tour around Alberta and BC. She travels to an area, camps, then starts to make connections for concerts. September 19 to 21, she was in Slave Lake.

“I’m so thrilled to see how the organizers are very spontaneous,” she says, about her Sept. 21 concert at Vanderwell Heritage Place.

On Sept. 19 and 20, she camped at Norm’s Walleye Camp, north of Slave Lake. The first night she did a concert for the other campers. The second about 24 community members came out to watch.

On the 21st, she had another concert lined up in High Prairie.

Baril was raised in Alberta and has travelled the world, but spent very little time travelling in Alberta. She’d heard of many places but never been there. For example, one of her aunts lived in McLennan, but she hadn’t been there.

Baril currently lives in Calgary. At one point in the pandemic, she was in hospital for a few days. She was struck by how isolated staff and patients were feeling.

“I had to get my music out there,” says Baril. She finds music a form of “consolation and comfort,” and wants to share that with others.

Harps are large bulky instruments. Baril’s one weighs 93 pounds. However, it is the height of the harp which causes the most difficulty. In order to give outdoor concerts she needed a stage. Her solution was to get the only type of van tall enough that the harp can stand upright. She’s done several concerts using the van as her stage.

The tour started on September 8. By the 21st, she’d done 12 concerts – some in campgrounds, some by friends’ yards, and some in seniors’ facilities. She plans to continue touring until mid-October.

Internationally renowned harpist Gianetta Baril plays for the Vanderwell Heritage Place seniors on September 21.

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