Harpist and harp teacher Owen Torr plays his beautiful, 23 carat gold harp (which he gilded himself) in the Lifehouse foyer every Monday. He often barely has the cover off before people come up and start talking to him about it.
“The harp always makes people smile, the size of it, the beautiful gold work. I love watching people’s faces when they walk in and see it.”
Owen has performed with some amazing musicians including Yo Yo Ma, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kiri Te Kanawa and Charles Dutoit. He regularly performs with Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet, and you’ve probably heard him at the movies on soundtracks like ‘Happy Feet’ and Baz Lurhmann’s ‘Australia’.
So how does he spend his spare time? Gilding and volunteering, of course!
Volunteering has always been part of Owen’s life. Both of Owen’s parents were awarded Orders of Australia for their volunteering work, so to Owen helping out is just part of life.
“Helping Mum and Dad I learnt that life is not all a bed of roses for everyone, that some people are dealt really difficult cards. If I can play some music and it makes someone’s day a little better then that’s a good thing.”
“I remember one day a man came up and asked me to play ‘Wish upon a star’ again, which I’d just played. He was an opera singer from Brisbane and was here for a check up because he was in remission. He’d heard me play the song from up in the waiting room, so he asked me to play it again while he stood and sang quietly with me. It was such a great moment.”
“Volunteering is so uplifting, and definitely puts life in perspective. Whatever’s happening in your own life, you can come in here and do something to help someone feel a little better. It’s a great thing to do.”
You can hear Owen play on Mondays between 12 noon and 2pm in the Lifehouse foyer. For more information about becoming a volunteer, click here!