Young Harpist Delivers Holiday Cheer at Naval Station Newport

Story Number: NNS141215-09Release Date: 12/15/2014 10:38:00 AM
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By Bob Krekorian, Naval Station Newport Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Arilyn Mitchell, 14, whose talent as a harpist has earned her a position with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra next year, performed a holiday concert, Dec. 12, in the Richard D. Dewert Medical Clinic, Naval Health Clinic New England, at Naval Station Newport.

She is the daughter of Chief Logistics Specialist Brian Mitchell, Center for Service Support; and his wife, Kimberley, of Newport, R.I.

"She is very strongly committed to military veterans because of her dad's military service in the Navy and her two brothers who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as Army combat medics," Kimberley Mitchell said. Arilyn is the youngest of six children.

Arilyn, who has been home schooled for the last four years, began studying the harp at age 9. At the time, Chief Mitchell was stationed at International Security Assistance Force Headquarters, Kabul, Afghanistan, while the family was living in Nashville, Tenn.

While in Nashville, she studied the harp with the Nashville Symphony harpist.

A year later, her father returned to the states and was stationed in Bremerton, Wash. with Commander, Carrier Strike Group Three.

After two years of study, Arilyn auditioned with the Bremerton Youth Symphony and demonstrated her talent to fill the position of principal harpist for two seasons.

While in Bremerton, she performed at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

She performed Dec. 11 in the Spruance Hall lobby, Naval War College, at the Military Spouses of Newport Fall Welcome Social and Ornament Exchange.

In response to an interview question about how she maintains her focus, she said: "It helps that I love playing the harp. If you have a love for something, you are going to do your best," she said. "But you have to put the time in to realize your goal."

Her long term goal is becoming an orchestral harpist. She would like to attend music school or a conservatory.

She also played for the Seattle Youth Symphony Senior Orchestra and performed as guest harpist with the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra.

After a three year tour in Bremerton, Chief Mitchell was transferred to Commander, Navy Region Midwest, Great Lakes, for one year. During this brief tour, she performed with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony and studied in Chicago.

She performed in the hospital wards at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, Ill.

In October 2014, she participated in the annual scholarship competition held by the Greater Chicago Area Chapter of the American Harp Society where she earned first prize in her age group.

She has performed at the commissary at Great Lakes and Bremerton.

She was profiled as one of a group of talented youth pursuing their passions and inspiring people of all ages in a PBS, Seattle, Wash. Channel 9 broadcast last year.

"You have to be true to yourself and follow your heart," she said. "If you reach for something and try, there is no reason why you can't achieve it."

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