Jessica Risinger: Bethel’s harpist

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Photo taken from facebook.
Photo taken from facebook.
Q: What made you choose to come to Bethel? A: I wanted to go to school some place close to home, so that I could live at home, and it would be easier for me ... so I applied to some colleges in the area and for here they had a music scholarship, so it was kind of, why not? I wanted to be in music. I came, super-nervous, to audition in front of all of these music faculty members, and they were super nice, they just welcomed me, even when I didn’t do very well on my pieces. Then I was offered the music scholarship and that just affirmed it, like God really wanted me to come here. I just felt welcome. It just feels welcoming. Everyone’s just so nice. And the music department is small enough, and I just wanted to be used. I want to be able to be in the ensembles and just help with what I can help with.” Q: How long have you been involved in music? A: I started piano when I was five, so I’ve been going about fourteen years on that. Then, harp, I started when I was twelve. Q: What got you started on the harp? A: My piano teacher was a harpist, and one of her harps was for sale. She asked me if I wanted to try it out and at first I was like ‘no way, I don’t want to be one of those prissy harp players,’ but I tried it and for the first month or so I really didn’t like it. Then I got a harp for Christmas and I said ‘I guess I’ll learn how to play it.’ It was only a couple months before I really started to love it. Q: What has been your favorite part about being at Bethel so far? A: I don’t really know if I can choose a favorite part, but a couple of things come to mind … 1) Making some new and awesome friends who are so much like me; 2) getting to play in different ensembles and with different people; and 3) having numerous performance opportunities – I love performing! Q: What are your plans after leaving Bethel? A: After I leave Bethel, I would like to find a job teaching music somewhere, ideally in a Christian school. In addition to that, I will probably join a symphony and maybe work on a master’s degree in music therapy.” Q: Do you have any dreams for the Bethel Music Department? A: Well, I would love to see the chamber orchestra grow. It would be so nice to see more interest in chamber music and even see more string players come to Bethel — specifically a cellist and a couple violists.
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