Yes, Dermage Spa might have moved up the road from the Crossways Shopping Plaza at the intersection of Rtes. 7 and 33 (Danbury and Ridgefield Rds.). But listen closely and you will still hear that same soothing, massage-perfect harp music coming from the old Dermage location.
Tucked away at that Crossways spot next to Wilton Jewelers at 300 Danbury Rd. is Wilton’s very own Harp Studio, recently opened by Wendy Kerner. There she offers harp lessons for students, harps for rent, and CDs of her own harp music for sale. She also uses it as a practice space.
“The youngest I’ve ever started someone is 5-years-old–that’s a little unusual. Most students start older, age 7 and up, and I have a bunch of adult students too. Most of my students start by renting a harp. I actually have some harps that I rent out so they can get started.”
Kerner has lived in Fairfield County for most of her life and grew up in Westport.
“I started [playing the harp] when I was seven,” Kerner says. “When I was six I decided I wanted to play and began to pester my parents asking if I could play the harp, and they thought maybe that would go away, maybe I would take piano lessons. But I wanted to play so I continued to pester them for a year and they found someone to teach me.”
That practice and dedication paid off. She first played professionally when she was thirteen and her passion for the harp and music grew from there. Kerner went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School in New York, and now plays professionally for special events and private parties, like weddings and christenings, in addition to teaching. She is also involved in the Norwalk, Ridgefield, and Bridgeport Symphonies plays with a number of other chamber groups.
“When you first start you don’t really think about it as a career, you just enjoy it. The first time someone paid me to play when I was thirteen, that was nice, and I started doing things with that, and I think that’s one of the things that a lot of my students enjoy because it’s a little unusual. You get to do some special things. One of my students plays with the Norwalk Youth Symphony and just got back from Germany and went to Italy with them, did a couple of solo things with them. There are all sorts of things you can do with school and churches. I got to do lots of neat things with the harp. So I thought I might like to do it as a career. I just loved music and loved sharing the music so I started to take lessons in New York City and decided to focus on the harp and making music.”
Recently, Kerner moved to Wilton from New Canaan. “[The studio] was centrally located for my orchestras and the students, so that worked well. I’m actually going to be moving into a home in Wilton too, so I’ll be a full time Wilton resident by the end of August,” Kerner says.
Once she’s settled in her new house, Kerner will teach out of her home but until then she’ll use the Studio temporarily for that purpose.
“Another factor with this space is the whole building is for sale here. The whole property, even though there are new businesses coming in is for sale.”
Kerner teaches students ages seven and up. Anyone interested in instruction can call 203.554.0267, email WKLHarp@gmail.com, or visit the Studio.