Since the first time she played a child-sized harp in second grade, there has only been one instrument for Alexandra Haralampoudis ’09. But when she found herself with an instrument she no longer plays, she immediately decided to gift it to the school that allowed her to flourish as a musician.
“One of the reasons I came to Peddie was because I lived in rural Pennsylvania and I drove two hours three times a week to Philadelphia to take lessons,” Haralampoudis said. Once she entered Peddie, that same teacher, Elaine Christy, provided her with lessons as an adjunct music instructor.
“Alex played the harp beautifully with Peddie's Orchestra,” said Alan Michaels, chair of the arts department. “She performed at chapel several times, and we were treated to a harp solo during one of our Vespers services.” Haralampoudis also began playing with the Princeton Youth Orchestra and with a harp ensemble.
Michaels said the music department was especially grateful for the harp donation to Peddie this year – the first time the school has had a student harpist since Haralampoudis graduated in 2009.
“The timing could not have been better for this gift. With a fine freshman harpist in Peddie's orchestra, having a professional level harp provides a great opportunity for our student to grow as a musician,” he said. “The harp sounds and looks beautiful. It is a work of art, noticed by all visitors.”
Clara Middleton ’21 arrived at Peddie with several years’ experience playing the harp and has been grateful to play on a professional- level instrument. Often found in the Swig Arts Center practicing on it between classes, after school or during study hall, Middleton performed with the harp at three music concerts, in chapel and at special events on campus. She said she appreciates the bigger sound this harp gives her.
This particular harp, Haralampoudis said, has always been special to her. The year before she arrived at Peddie, she traveled to France to visit the factory showroom, able to play a variety of instruments before settling on her prized possession. As a boarding student at Peddie, that purchase allowed her to have one at school for daily practice and one at home in Pennsylvania.
Since that time, Haralampoudis graduated from Cornell and is now pursuing a graduate degree in social work while living in a walk-up apartment in New York City.
“That beautiful harp was sitting in storage, and I really wanted someone to have it and love it,” she said. “Peddie was the first place I thought of to see if they could use it. I was so excited to hear there was a student harpist.”
The harp donation isn’t the only way Haralampoudis has contributed to the school as an alumnus. A class agent who works with her fellow alumni to donate to the Peddie Fund, she also recently designated Peddie as a beneficiary on a portion of her life insurance policy. By making the gift, she became one of the youngest members of the Bell Society, the school’s planned giving society.
She first learned about the Bell Society in her senior year at Peddie when she was asked to perform the harp during the annual Bell Society Breakfast for donors.
“As a young alumnus, you might think you can’t make the biggest gift, but I try to think of ways I can give back,” she said. “I try to stay involved in Peddie and help any way I can. I am just so grateful for Peddie.”