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Lyon & Healy Harp Factory Tour

Lyon & Healy harp factory in Chicago

Two days after running the Chicago marathon Chanel and I hobbled on wobbly legs over to the Lyon & Healy Harp factory where, for over 100 years, exquisite harps have been hand-made by Old World craftsmen and women. I haven't been there in 12 years so it was nice to visit and see the new concert hall. We took a guided tour of the harp-making process but weren't allowed to take photos, lest we divulge any harp-making secrets. What I can tell you is that we saw stacks of lumber being gradually shaped and carved into divinely intricate instruments. Scattered around the five floors of the building are heaps 'o harps - more than I could count.

Lyon & Healy harp show room

By the time we finished the tour and arrived at the showroom we felt giddy and dazzled by all the beautiful instruments we'd seen but Chanel didn't have any trouble finding one to bond with. Now she's hatching a plan to sell her house and talk her husband into spending the profits on this 44-string semi-grand.

Chanel plays blonde harp

I confess that I'm attracted to the beauty of quilted maple and the bling of gold leaf so I was fond of this gilded Style 11.

Laurie and gold Style 11 harp

It wasn't just the looks - it sounded fantastic, too. But I'd have to save a while since the price tag on this lovely shiny harp is $49,000.

Just as we were getting ready to board the freight elevator on our way out Chanel heard a gilded Style 23 speak to her and say, "Psssst, take me home!" Lucky for her bank balance, it was already sold.

Chanel plays gold Style 23