Harpist Lucia Stavros, a senior at the New England Conservatory in Boston and a 2006 graduate of Lakewood High School, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to research and study the harp in Paris, France, for a year. Stavros will work with French harpist Isabel Perrin as well as work in the Paris public schools demonstrating harp and giving lessons.
“France is a very important place in terms of the harp,” Stavros said. “The current harp pedal was invented in France.” Stavros said she is eager to learn the harp technique used by the French, which differs from the American technique.
Stavros credits the “unquestioned support” she received at Lakewood High School for helping her advance along the path to a career as a professional musician. Stavros, who started playing harp at age 7, credited LHS orchestra director Beth Hankins as an early influence. “She took me under her wing and let me use the harp at the high school while I was only in middle school,” Stavros said. Hankins also gave Stavros full access to the semi-grand pedal harp, which is prohibitively expensive for the average family to purchase, throughout her high school career.
“Lucia is one of the finest musicians that I have ever worked with,” said Hankins. “I always knew that she would succeed, but to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship is unbelievable. I am so proud.”
The music Stavros made while she was at LHS is still memorable to principal Dr. William Wagner. “I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Lucia practice the harp as I would walk by the Civic (Auditorium). It was a beautiful, calming effect in the midst of very busy days.”
While at Lakewood, Stavros participated in numerous performing arts groups including Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Mixed Choir and Barnstormers. She also was part of the Lakewood Project group that was invited to go to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she played the first electro-acoustic harp at the Lyon & Healy Pop and Jazz Harpfest in 2004. Stavros was among the first to perform on this innovative harp.
With the help of the LHS Guidance Office, Stavros was able to parlay her musical talent honed at Lakewood High into a scholarship at the select New England Conservatory, one of the top music schools in the nation.
The Fulbright Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. Student Program awards scholarships to U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists through a merit-based competition. The program emphasizes leadership development. Approximately 1,500 scholarships are awarded each year.
After her time in France, Stavros, who also performs as a vocalist, plans on continuing her music education in graduate school. She is still considering to which schools she will apply when she returns from France.