On Feb. 12 a local celebrity luncheon will be hosted by the Santa Clara County branch of the National League of American Pen Women, a nonprofit encouraging women to pursue careers in the arts. The luncheon will recognize eight women in the county who participate in music, writing or art.
The luncheon will be held at the Elks Lodge, 444 W. Alma Ave. in San Jose. Tickets are $35 each. Proceeds from ticket sales go toward scholarships for women graduating high school, college undergraduates or women of any age returning to school to complete their education in the arts.
According to Patricia Dennis, the branch’s publicity coordinator, $7,500 in scholarship money was given to four women this year. Dennis, a Campbell resident, was a past scholarship recipient in the art category.
“For some recipients this award makes a difference on giving them the courage to pursue their career goals knowing that their endeavors were acknowledged by such a prestigious organization,” Dennis said in the branch’s press statement.
Former Campbell resident Cymber Quinn will play the harp at the luncheon.
Other women to be recognized at the event include San Jose residents Lijah Raoof, Dorothy Brown, Bonnie Smith, Julia Watson and Lillie Queen, along with Erica Goss from Los Gatos and Diana Chan from Los Altos Hills.
Quinn, who recently moved to Santa Clara, was nominated for recognition by Dennis.
“Her music is absolutely wonderful,” Dennis told this newspaper.
As a child in Greeley, Colo., Quinn played drums, the French horn and multiple wind instruments and also sang.
“By the time I was 15 I was burned out,” Quinn said, adding that she didn’t sing or play music for 27 years.
During her musical hiatus, she worked as a copywriter for the Indianapolis News, writing obituaries. She then worked in advertising and came to the Santa Clara Valley during the dotcom boom in 1996, staying until 2004.
At the age of 42 Quinn found her way back to music after trying to heal from several surgeries and undergoing a hysterectomy in her late 30s.
“I wasn’t really recovering well,” Quinn said. “The doctors weren’t really sure why, so I started more alternative approaches to healing.”
She looked to reiki, a stress reduction method to heal one’s body through hand movements. The reiki master Quinn was learning from suggested finding what made her happy when she was a child. In 2008 when Quinn was flipping through a catalog she came across a harp.
“I have this memory of being 6 years old and my parents taking me to hear the symphony… and that night the harpist had a solo,” Quinn said.
At the time Quinn order her harp she was living in Hawaii, which made finding a harp teacher difficult. She eventually found a harpist who taught her how to play via Skype and showed her the healing effects it could have on other people.
In 2013 when she returned to the Santa Clara Valley, she took up teaching at the Music Place, a music school for children in San Jose. Since then she’s been teaching the harp to children, and playing at churches and yoga studios. She also plays at the bedsides of the elderly and ill. She’s played at Touch to Heal Spa in Campbell.
“There are many benefits to hearing relaxing and meditative music,” Quinn said, adding the vibrations from the harp have helped people. Quinn said she’s even had people tell her they play her CDs on their commute home from work to relax them.
Quinn has released four CDs, one of which was featured on National Public Radio. Another album is in the works. Quinn said she is moving back to Hawaii in April.
To purchase tickets for the luncheon, contact Sharon Hugen by email to email@example.com or visit nlapwsantaclara.org/events.