Years before her first breast cancer diagnosis, Amy Camie was inspired to record a cassette tape of harp music to help a family friend in hospice care. At the time, the classically trained professional harpist had yet to experience the ravages of cancer on her own body. She had yet to undergo chemotherapy, radiation, a mastectomy and the loss of her hair.
“A spark lit up inside of me, and my adventure into this unknown world of music and healing began,” Camie says.
Several years later, when her father was diagnosed with cancer, Camie recorded the CD New Love – awaken to yourself to help him experience peace and healing after surgery. “I never set out intentionally to help so many people through my music,” she says. “Today, I play inspired music that soothes the soul so that people in emotional, physical or mental distress can remember the harmony and love within them.”
Adopted at 1 month of age by a couple who were both music teachers, she explains: “My wonderful parents, Kenneth and Jean Conrady, nurtured my natural gifts.”
Classically trained, Camie began piano lessons at age 5 and harp lessons at 10. She credits her father with encouraging her to play the harp because, as the director of music in the Alton School District, he had a vision of a harpist in the high school orchestra.
Camie began teaching harp lessons in 2007 when her own teacher was readying to retire. “I knew it was my responsibility to continue the lineage of training that had been so generously passed to me,” she relates. “My students love that our harp lessons are also life lessons, as we use music as a means of self-discovery.”
Camie and her husband, John, have two sons and live in St. Louis County. “John continually inspires me to discover and embrace the fullness of who I am so I can share my gifts with the world,” she says. Camie calls her life “a beautiful tapestry of a loving family, spirituality, music research, healing concerts, keynotes and presentations on conscious self-care, and sharing inspired music that sings from the depths of my soul.”
A 1983 graduate of Alton High School, Camie then graduated from Indiana University in 1987. She says her role in helping people through music has evolved naturally over the years: “It’s almost as if the music reaches out and finds the people who could benefit.”
Camie listened to her original music, The Magic Mirror, during her two personal journeys with breast cancer and now – as a Certified Clinical Musician through the Havre, Montana, organization Harp for Healing – has embarked on a plan to help patients worldwide. Funds are currently being raised for the Therapeutic Harp Music Study Fund at St. Louis’ Siteman Cancer Center for a clinical trial exploring the impact of The Magic Mirror on anxiety levels in newly diagnosed adult cancer patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy.
Those wishing to learn more or to donate to the Therapeutic Harp Music Study Fund should phone Dina Althardt at 314-935-4550. All donations are tax-deductible.
An innate storyteller and award-winning photographer and writer, Alice Handelman provides Ladue News readers with a glimpse into lives that enrich St. Louis.