ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Rachel Eardley-Wachter is a local musician and harpist who has been playing harp since the age of 5. She is the talented woman behind Harpist For All Occasions based out of Altoona, Blair County.

She shares some of her passion for this amazing instrument with Studio 814’s Rebecca Petner and Morgan Koziar.

Eardley-Wachter’s grandfather, Bill Eardley, is the inspiration behind her 31-year journey of playing the harp that is considered to be one of the oldest instruments to date. Harps have been known to exist in Asia, Africa, and Europe, dating back as early as 3000 BCE.

“The day I was born, my grandfather who is my best friend, came to the hospital and told my mom that I was going to be his harpist. So when April 1st came around when I was 5 years old, he took me for my first harp lesson,” says Eardley-Wachter.

Rachel and her grandfather, Bill Eardley

Harpist for All Occasions’ Rachel Eardley-Wachter plays “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “Africa” by Toto.

Eardley-Wachter’s harp is a grande concert. It weighs about 250-pounds and is 72-inches tall.

“So if you’re familiar with the piano, the pedals are the equivalent of the black keys on a piano. So by moving these, I can make a C-string, a D-string, an E-string, sharp, flat, natural.” says Eardley-Wachter. “If you open up a piano, you are pretty much going to see the inside of a harp.”

Harpist for All Occasions’ Rachel Eardley-Wachter plays “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

Rachel Eardley-Wachter says that playing the harp is kind of like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. “Because your feet are going, your hands are going, your eyes are going. It’s an orchestrated circus,” she jokes.

Let Harpist for All Occasions provide entertainment and joy at your next event! She performs at weddings, birthday parties, and more.

You can send her an email at or follow her on Facebook!