Local couple shares musical talents through free outdoor concert series Mondays with Maja

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Linda Henderson and Harvey Price created a free concert series called Mondays with Maja that spanned four weeks in September into October.

For the outdoor concert series, they played with other local musicians at Maja Park, located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at North 22nd Street.

"They designed a perfect performance space. We did classical music and jazz," said Price.

Henderson and Sue Lerner performed as a duo. Henderson says they put together a program of classical cello and piano music.

Later in the evening, Price played jazz with his group called Vibe-A-Delphia. He says the ensemble is named for his two loves - the vibraphone and the City of Philadelphia.

Price says during COVID, he started seeking grants to play outdoor spaces in the city. Mondays with Maja was supported through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy through its Neighborhood Arts Programs.

"The lifeblood of musicians is performing," said Price. And he says that for both he and Henderson, they both enjoy performing live. "And engaging with the community too," added Henderson.

Both Henderson and Price are lifelong musicians and have been sharing music for decades, only recently retiring from teaching.

"I've been a professional musician since about age 16," said Henderson. "I started my career at the University of the Arts just before my 40th birthday."

She taught at the University of the Arts for 25 years before retiring in December of 2020. "I worked with the musical theater students," she said.

"I was a professor of percussion at the University of Delaware for 40 years," said Price. "But, also playing every evening as a freelance musician."

Henderson and Price have played in orchestral pits in theaters around Philadelphia.

Price says he was trained to be an orchestral musician, so he can play every percussion instrument.

"I really got interested in jazz vibraphone" he said.

He says since the vibraphone is a keyboard mallet instrument, the sound of it lends itself to jazz music. It is essentially set up like a keyboard, with one side having the black notes and the other side having the white notes, "even though they're all gold bars," he explained.

Price is also sharing his passion for percussion through his nonprofit called Peace Drums Project, which he started about seven years ago. He describes the Peace Drums Project as "a music for social change program in Israel that has Muslim, Christian and Jewish youth playing in a steel (drum) band together."

COVID created a pause on indoor performances, but the beat goes on for Henderson and Price as they continue to seek out ways to play outdoors for the community.

"It's really fun to look out and see what's going on," said Henderson of the outdoor performances.

"You're telling a story, based on a song," added Price.

"My job is to make the art speak to the listener," explained Henderson. "And sharing that with people."

"And seeing if you can connect," added Price. Henderson says, "it feels wonderful" when they can connect with the audience.

Price is continuing to play outdoors with his jazz trio, Vibe-A-Delphia, as part of the Jazz on the Parkway series at the Capriccio Café and Bar in Cret Park, located at 110 North 16th Street in Philadelphia, PA. The performances will be held every Sunday through October 2021 from 4pm to 6pm.

Coming up in November, Henderson and Price will be playing together in the orchestra pit of Walnut Street Theatre's production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid," which runs from November 16, 2021 through January 2, 2022.

For more information:
Mondays with Maja
Neighborhood Arts Programs
Peace Drums Project
Capriccio Café and Bar in Cret Park - Jazz on the Parkway Series
Walnut Street Theatre Presents Disney's "The Little Mermaid"
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