Building Better Minds


Harpist teaches music in Richmond after playing for royal family

Posted at 4:00 AM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 07:48:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In order to teach students at the Richmond Montessori School a lesson in classical music, administrators had to work in concert with a true professional. The HARPS Foundation was able to present harpist Claire Jones to the school’s Lynn C. Humphreys Performing Arts Center.

In 2007, Jones was appointed Official Harpist to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. It's a role she held until 2011.

She regularly performed for the Royal Family and their distinguished guests at the Royal Palaces.

In April 2011, she performed for the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception in Buckingham Palace.

"I was in between the main wedding cake and the chocolate cake, so I had plenty of view of everything that was going on," Jones said.

The Richmond Montessori School audience is much smaller than the tens of millions who watched her play for the royal wedding, but they’re no less important to her.

She loves to teach music to children. A passion she shares with husband, composer and percussionist Chris Marshall.

"We tend to sort of go in and do educational workshops with schools just to raise the awareness of music that can be played on the harp; that can be played on percussion; world music," she said.

"At this age, they're so impressionable," Head of School Grainne Murray said. "Here we believe in the holistic approach to not just developing their cognitive, functioning skills, and their emotional skills, but also their creative skills."

Getting kids to appreciate classical music can sometimes be hard, but it’s a cakewalk compared to playing for the Queen of England.

"She would come in and sit in the room and it was just myself and her and so it was pretty nerve wracking," Jones said.