Elizabeth Solomen celebrated her 80th bday at West Chester University Harpfest XXIII November 17,2013.
She was awarded the West Chester University Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to the West Chester University Harp program.
Elizabeth Solomen, featured soloist also known to some as Liz, or “Aunt” Liz, was born in Allentown, PA, but grew up in New Jersey, and has resided in Moorestown, N. J. for over 30 years. Music is, and always has been, a vital part of her life.
Liz studied piano from age 8 years old with a Russian concert pianist, Mrs. Schoene until High School. At Moorestown High school she learned to play the cello and played in the High School Symphony Orchestra. She also sang with the Glee club, musicals, sang with a small group “The Rhythm Singers and performed in the Senior play. While riding on the bus to school one morning, she saw a harp in an upstairs window and wished she could play harp. However, remembering that her parents sacrificed for her to take piano lessons, she put it out of her mind. Liz would have liked to go on to College and study music and art, but knew her parents couldn’t afford it. Also, at that time, girls weren’t encouraged to further their education beyond High School for such things. It was considered a waste of money because girls were just expected to marry, be housewives and have children. So Liz got married and had 2 children, Eric, her son, and Karen, her daughter, joys of her life along with her grandchildren.
She also had several piano students, and at present has 2 students, and loves sharing music with them.
For over 16 years, her husband Bob and she have performed with the Golden Eagle Band located in Mt. Holly, N.J., a 55 piece concert band. Bob plays trombone and Liz plays the synthesizer keyboard. Liz worked with some of the children of band members with skits, etc. Together, Bob and Liz also do the set designs for the concerts.
Through the years, whenever Liz heard or saw a harp she was still drawn to it. Finally, one day while her aged mother was living with them, Liz’s sister-in-law and her niece came for a visit. One afternoon they browsed through the shops at Rancocas Village where in one of the shops was…you guessed it- a small Harp! sitting on a counter top. She gazed lovingly at it, her niece encouraged her to look into having a harp…she purchased her first Harp in Bethlehem, Pa.
Liz has been studying with Ms. Galante about 9 years and she says that it has been a wonderful journey for her every step of the way! She feels that Ms. Galante is a delightful, patient, challenging, yet encouraging teacher. She also enjoys her harp friends, and playing with the WCU harp ensemble.
Liz thanks the Lord and is forever grateful for her parents that provided those piano lessons, and for Ms. Galante and their journey with the harp.
What a blessing and joy music has been to her! Happy 80th Birthday Liz!