Matters of the Harp and of the Heart, Too

Alix Christine Maud Raspé and Erik Daniel Gray were married June 15 at the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert in Dorset, Vt. The ceremony was led by the groom’s father, the Rev. Dr. James H. Gray, a United Church of Christ minister and the pastor there.

Mrs. Gray, 26, who is keeping her name professionally, is a classical harpist. She is an associate harpist of the Columbus Symphony in Ohio, and on the faculty of Note-Worthy Experiences in Sudbury, Mass. She also teaches privately in the Boston area. In 2018, she performed in the orchestra version of “Tommy,” the rock opera with Roger Daltrey of the Who, at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. She graduated cum laude from N.Y.U., and received a master’s degree in harp performance from New England Conservatory.

She is the daughter of Adele Raso Raspé and Herman H. Raspé of Greenwich, Conn.

Mr. Gray, 28, is pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at the University of New Hampshire. Until 2014, he was the human research coordinator at Dana-Farber Institute in Boston. He graduated cum laude from Drew University.

He is a son of Esther A. Gray and the Rev. Gray of Dorset, Vt.

The families of the bride and groom have houses on either side of their church in Dorset. Ms. Raspé didn’t grow up there, but it had been her family’s weekend home away from Greenwich and she didn’t meet her Dorset neighbor until her high school spring break in 2011. She was conducting personal interviews with college-age students, including Mr. Gray and his two older brothers, for a high school psychology internship.

“He was really, really adorable and so much cooler than me,” she said. “He ran cross-country and I was sort of musicky, an orchestra kid. I didn’t think he would have liked me.”

Mr. Gray also recalled being distracted during the interview in her family room. “A beautiful girl was sitting across the table from me,” he said.

Ms. Raspé began noticing him around town. “I definitely had a crush,’’ she said. “I remember practicing my harp next to this big window and would see him running by. I would sometimes see him in church.’’

In January 2015, their eyes met across the room at her mother’s post-holiday party. By then, she was 21 and he was 23.

“We got to talking throughout the night never not by each other’s side,” he said. “That sparked communication and interest.”

She noticed their mothers “hmm-what’s-going-on looks.’’

The next morning at church her mother recalled feeling a bit like Mrs. Bennet in the Jane Austen novel “Pride and Prejudice.”

“Did you see what I saw,’’ Ms. Raspé’s mother recalled saying to Mr. Gray’s mother, and they decided it best to root for them, but not meddle.

In the fall of 2015, when Ms. Raspé started going to the New England Conservatory in Boston, she reached out to Mr. Gray, who was then in a Ph.D. program an hour and a half away at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“We went to brunch the day after Halloween,’’ she said. “I knew he was such a gentleman. I felt like I’d known him for years.’’ She recalled thinking, “I could marry this person.”

They got together several times in what he described as "a friendly way,” and while they hung out during Thanksgiving in Dorset, they admitted they had feelings for each other. On Christmas Eve, he attended a candlelight service at church, where she played several pieces on the harp. Mr. Gray then began visiting Ms. Raspé every weekend, and became part of her classical music world. He also got to know her harp as he grew closer to her heart.

“My harp is my baby,” she said. After five or six months, she showed him how to move it, get it in onto a Harpo trolley and load it into her car, putting it on its side on blankets and pillows. “I never let anyone do that except for Erik and my dad,” she said.

“I love when she plays ‘The Girl With the Flaxen Hair,’” Mr. Gray said, and the bride walked down the aisle to the Debussy piece performed by a quartet of her friends in the church between their parents’ houses.

“It reminds me of her,’’ he said. “She is honestly angelic with beautiful blonde hair. She’s just the picture of elegance.”

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