Kylene Evans is ACM’s Artist of the Month for September

Harpist Kylene Evans, 15, is Arts Council Menifee’s Artist of the Month for September. Courtesy photo

Kylene Evans has been fascinated with the harp for most of her life, she said. She still remembers how the instrument had made her feel when she encountered one for the first time; she was attending church and saw the instrument being played when she was only 3 years old. On her seventh birthday, her parents gave her a gift that would become a very big part of her life: a 28-string Celtic harp.

Evans began taking lessons at age 8 and found herself under the guidance of Menifee musician Lauren Arasim. Her parents have been avid supporters of their daughter and her growing gift, she said, and for her 10th birthday, they bought her a 36-string lever harp and then a 47-string grand concert pedal harp in April 2019.

Shortly after receiving her new harp, the young musician was able to attend Harp Camp at The University School of Music in Utah.

“I met many other harpists around my age and learned a lot about techniques, theory, how to properly perform and how to be ready for college,” Evans said.

At the end of the camp, Evans and her fellow attendees performed in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

She has since played in venues all over Canyon Lake, Menifee and the surroundings cities. Her list of performance-based accomplishments include several church functions, weddings, funerals and a performance of Phantom of the Opera with the Canyon Lake Choraleers, directed by local artist Lorilee Bajema.

Evans said she has many influences and listens to a wide variety of music. Her biggest musical inspiration is the Russian harpist, Alexander Boldachev, who she said she hopes to see in concert if he ever comes to the Los Angeles area. Evans also plays a variety of other stringed instruments including guitar, ukulele and plans to pick up the violin.

Evans lives in Canyon Lake with her parents, Lawrence and Michelle Evans, and her sister, Kaitlyn Evans. At 15 years old, Kylene Evans has built her musical talents and expanded her personal range on a scale that many would be happy to achieve over the course of an entire lifetime, but it is what the musician chooses to do with her abilities that is even more remarkable.

Evans has suffered with anxiety issues for much of her life and said she found that music is oftentimes her best therapy.

“Sometimes I just let all of the bad feelings out through music. It helps a lot, and I am so thankful that the Lord has put the harp in my life and made it my calling,” she said.

She visits retirement communities and rehabilitation centers to play music and talk to the residents.

“I know that they (the residents) enjoy my music, but I know how lonely they must be. Many of the people there have no family, or at least none that come to visit. I do my best to show them that people do care and that they are important,” she said with a smile.

Recently, Evans was playing her harp on a point overlooking the ocean in San Clemente.

“A woman was there, just looking out to the ocean and never saying a word. She stood there while I played for a long time, probably an hour or two. When I stopped playing, the woman told me that she was going through a hard time and that my music had helped her immensely,” Evans said.

In addition to these accomplishments, Evans has performed for several Arts Council Menifee events. It is for her outstanding achievements in music and her giving spirit that Arts Council Menifee named her as the Artist of the Month for September.