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Friday, September 9, 2011

CAROL KLEYN LEARNED TO PLAY THE HARP AT 21


It was 1976 or 1977 when Micki and I went with family and friends to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire at Agoura, California. I wore a long, brown, hooded, Monk’s robe, and nothing underneath, yet thought I was going to die in the heat. Sweat streamed down my body. And I envied the woman who would portray Lady Godiva that year--probably the only comfortable person at the Faire (and yes, she really went nude, covered by only her long hair).

Micki’s younger sister, Anita, was among those who went with us. As we walked from the parking lot to the Faire, beside the path sat a beautiful, young, blond woman playing the harp. Out of the dust being kicked up with each step of the passers-by, Carol Kleyn was playing and singing the most enchanting music, and we couldn’t help but stop and stand in awe.

I will only say here that Carol didn’t learn to play the harp until she was 21, and she couldn’t have been much older than that when we stood there amazed by her talent. A brief online autobiography, written in 2011, can be found by clicking here. And a sampling of her music can be enjoyed by clicking here.

Her music was mesmerizing and we hated to move on, but we did the next best thing--we bought her album, Love Has Made Me Stronger, before going, and Carol autographed it for us. But Anita sat down beside her to listen longer. It turns out that Carol Kleyn, for some reason, didn’t even gain entrance to the Faire that year, but settled for playing and singing beside the hot, dusty pathway to it.

As we meandered about inside the Faire grounds, Anita caught up to us, and in her hands she carried Carol Kleyn’s album. “Did you buy one, too?” we asked her. Anita flushed and showed us what Carol had written on the album cover’s back. We looked at it and at her in confusion. When Anita had been sitting beside Carol and enjoying her music, a deaf friend of Anita’s came by. Anita knew a little sign language, and so for a brief moment the two girls signed to each other. And so, of course, Carol thought to herself, “This poor deaf girl beside me can only watch me play.” So the sweet musician picked up one of her albums and wrote on the back, “I hope someday you’ll be able to hear this,” and signed it and gave it to Anita. Anita was then too embarrassed to tell Carol that she can hear just fine, and so just smiled and nodded and left with her treasure.

It’s been a long time that Carol Kleyn’s album has been relegated to obscurity, but finally it's available on CD, etc. and you can buy it at Amazon.com. I’ve already ordered the CD version of this Love Has Made Me Stronger album that brings back such wonderful memories for us. And Carol Kleyn’s BandPage is even on Facebook!

This is an affirmation that beauty lasts forever. Even though sometimes we have to look through the dust to find it, it will never be forgotten.



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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, those thoughts and helping us to revisist the faire, and special moments with friends and family. Good Bio she's written. I wanted to stay next to her all day and be enraptured by her, I like your ending," sometimes we have to look through the dust to find beauty."

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