© Mary Radspinner 2012
Mary studied piano at the prestigious St. Joseph Convent Music school in Milwaukee, WI throughout grade school and high school. She began harp studies with Jeanne Henderson in the Milwaukee Public School System. Jeanne provided many kids with the opportunity to learn the harp who may have never had the opportunity otherwise. Mary credits her love of music and the harp to Jeanne, a wise teacher who imparted many different styles of playing to her students, preparing them for all kinds of work in the music world.
She also studied string bass and voice. In 1977 she earned degrees in applied harp and music education from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI. During the next 10 years she taught elementary general music, elementary band, high school orchestra, choir and music theory. Along with teaching in the public schools, Mary taught harp privately, and at one point had 41 students. She is also a certified Yamaha keyboard instructor.
Mary free-lanced in Houston for 11 years, playing an average of 4 events per week, and during that time she served as substitute harpist with the Houston Symphony and second harpist with the Houston Ballet Orchestra.
She has served as president of the San Jacinto Chapter of the American Harp Society, SW Regional director of the American Harp Society, and president of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen. She chaired the International Folk Harp Conference held in Galveston in 1998. Mary is the immediate past president of the Scottish Harp Society of America. She served as editor-in-chief of the Folk Harp Journal for a six-issue interim.
In 1993 Mary and her husband John Gill opened Melody's Traditional Music & Harp Shoppe, a harp specialty store in Houston, TX.
Mary instituted the harp events at the TX Scottish Festival in Arlington, and has chaired the harp competition events for the Houston Highland Games. She was a winner in the Florida Summer Harp Seminar pop harp competition in 1994, and is the 1995 Texas champion Scottish harper. She performs and gives workshops throughout the country on harp techniques for relaxation, ensemble ideas and improvisation.
In 1999 Mary and husband John established Afghan Press, specializing in harp music publications. Afghan Press is named after John and Mary's beloved Afghan Hound, Melody. (1987 - 1998).
Mary has earned certification at the Reiki Master/Teacher level after nearly 3 years of training. She is well-versed in the Bach Flower Essences, and has a certificate in Veterinary Homeopathy (currently working on DVetHom) from the British Institute of Homeopathy. She is trained in Dahnhak and also studied for 2 years with Shirley Williams of Houston.
Currently, Mary and her husband reside in Cypress, TX. with 3 dogs (all rescues) and one cat. Along with maintaining the web site for Melody’s Traditional Music, she teaches private piano out of her home studio and also in Waller. Mary is the pianist for the Waller ISD choirs, and assists as organist and pianist for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston’s historic 6th ward. Mary is studying organ with Dorothy VanDine of Houston, and is also studying to be a Certified Clinical Musician.
In addition to harp studies:
Piano lessons: 12 years
Voice lessons: 4 years
String bass lessons: 3 years
Organ lessons: 2 years, and currently has resumed lessons
Member of orchestra, band, choir throughout pre-college years.
1968-1974: organist and choir duties at St. Gerard Parish, Milwaukee, WI.
1977: Bachelor of Music with honors, Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI) Secretary of Senior Class, Listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
1977 - 1978: taught general music and band, Greendale Elementary, Greendale, WI
1978 - 1983: taught elementary music education at Minot (ND) Public Schools
1983 - 1985: receptionist and sometimes surgical assistant at veterinary clinic, Houston, TX
1985 - 1987: taught choir and music theory, Sharpstown HS, Houston, TX
1985 - 1987: certified Yamaha music instructor, Houston, TX
1983 - 1994: freelance harpist, Houston, TX
1990 - 1995: substitute harpist Houston Symphony Orchestra
1991 - 1993: 2nd harpist Houston Ballet Orchestra
1993 - present: co-owner Melody's Traditional Music Harp Store
1994: certified in Houston Hospice
1994: winner of Central Florida pop harp competition
1994: co-founder MHTP (Music for Healing and Transition Program). Taught at first formal session.
1994 - 1995: taught harp at Johnston Middle School (Music Magnet - Houston, TX)
1995: Texas Scottish Harp champion, Arlington, TX
1996 - 1998: President, International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen
1997: founded Afghan Press Publications, specializing in harp music
1998: chaired the International Folk Harp Society Conference, held in Galveston, TX
1998 - present: have created web sites for various organizations including the Gulf Coast Harpers and the Greater Houston Chapter American Harp Society.
2001 - 2003: President, Scottish Harp Society of America
2005 - 2007: Editor-in-Chief of the Folk Harp Journal
2006: certified as Dahn Healer
2006: recipient of Jan Pennington Gray Harp Medallion Award
2007 - 2009: studied with Shirley Williams at School of Transformation and Healing, Houston, TX
2008: certified in level one Reiki
2008: completed the Covey 7 Habits seminar
2008 July: participated in the rescue of multiple Afghan Hounds from a hoarding situation in Santa Fe, NM.
2008 - present: Secretary and web mistress Afghan Hound Club of Greater Houston
2009: certified in basic Gemmotherapy from Gemmos LLC based in NY
2009: earned certificate in Veterinary Homeopathy from British Institute of Homeopathy
2009: certified 2nd degree Reiki
2010: certified advanced Reiki
2010: Reiki Master/Teacher Certificate
2011: Certified in advanced Gemmotherapy from Gemmos LLC
2012: Licensed Spiritual Healer SHL #1079
2013: CRTS (Certified Raindrop Technique Specialist through CARE - Center for Aromatherapy Research and Development)
Enrolled at the British Institute of Homeopathy earning DHomGen and DVetHom
Enrolled with Harp for Healing program.
Harp Music Publishing Page: http://publishingharpmusic.wordpress.com
Mary’s claim to fame, though, is that she played for Clint Black and Lisa Hartman’s wedding. She has also played for Prince Charles, worked with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Doc Severinsen, Melissa Manchester, and a host of other known musical stars.