As a professional harpist of Valparaiso, Jamie Haney shows that when you chase your passion, anything is possible.
Haney’s love for music began at a young age, beginning her classical training at age 3. Her love for the arts grew with Haney, providing her a deep connection to music and to sharing it with others.
“It’s so neat to have the opportunity to share the harp with people who haven’t encountered a harp or who haven’t seen it up close or who haven’t heard the music,” said Haney. “People ask a lot of questions anytime I play. It’s just fun to share it with other people.”
Haney acknowledges the contributions of her parents, who sparked her love for music as a child and who got her involved with classical training at such as young age. Haney also acknowledges the impact that her instructor, Jeanne Henderson of Milwaukee, had on her. Haney drew inspiration from these role models as she learned that anything was possible.
“I always appreciated her passion for music,” said Haney of her instructor. “She never made it feel like a job.”
Henderson guided Haney and her sister through their earliest years of playing the harp, creating a long-lasting and meaningful connection between Haney and her instructor.
“She was a lifelong musician,” said Haney. “She always had a couple of harps in her house. I remember that one of the things we were allowed to do on special occasions was to play her beautiful, gold-encrusted harp. It made us feel appreciated and that we were trusted.”
With the support and encouragement of her parents and teacher, Haney’s love for playing the harp quickly transformed into talent.
Haney established a clientele for special occasion performances by the time she was in her mid-teens. While attending high school, she showcased her skills at several venues, including the Wisconsin State High School Honors Orchestra, Irish Fest in Milwaukee, the Rose Festival at Boerner Botanical Gardens, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Showcase House, and the Mitchell Park Domes.
Though music had always been Haney’s passion, her drive for success was not limited to the harp. She avidly pursued her education, first attending Albion College in Michigan. This chapter of her life brought new opportunities for Haney to chase her dreams. Haney’s dedication to the arts throughout her earlier years paid off when she received a music scholarship to play harp and piano at the Albion College Symphony Orchestra.
Her education did not stop there. Haney received two master’s degrees from Valparaiso University, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2006 and a second master’s degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education in 2014. Today, she is the Associate Director of Academic Services for Valparaiso University’s Graduate School.
Haney has found fulfillment through her academic and professional success all while enthusiastically pursuing her greatest passions. Haney continues to perform at special occasion events in Valparaiso through her business, The Timeless Harpist.
Alongside her husband and three children, Haney has found that Valparaiso is the perfect town to blend her love of art and of higher education.
“Valpo feels like a small town even though it’s pretty large,” said Haney. “People are really friendly. I appreciate being around town and having people smile at you and ask how your day is going. People are willing to help you. We enjoy getting out, and we enjoy everything that the city has to offer.”
Haney particularly enjoyed performing with the La Porte Symphony Orchestra at the Summer Rhapsody Music Festivals held in Central Park of Valparaiso.
“I think Valpo is really making a concerted effort to maintain the arts,” said Haney. “The turnout [at the Summer Rhapsody Music Festival] is amazing. The fact that the city supports these concerts and that people come out to see them is really exciting.”
Haney encourages young people interested in music to follow their hearts.
“Pick an instrument that you’re really interested in and try to stick with it,” said Haney. “Decide if it’s something you want to do long term. If you don’t feel the passion, don’t waste your time. It has to be the right thing for you.”