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Harpist and flutist make an enchanted pair

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 3, 2010
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Do not be mistaken. Cheryl Losey and Betsy Hudson Traba are out to lull you, not rock you. Although Traba, the Sarasota Orchestra’s longtime principal flutist, still dreams about playing the drums in Bruce Springsteen’s band, her forte lies in Bach and Beethoven.

The two women, who performed in a trio recital last month with violist Nathan Frantz at the Siesta Key Chapel, are getting ready to prepare repertoire for their first Munchtime Musicales performance Feb. 17, at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. One of several free concerts hosted by the Sarasota Concert Association, Munchtime Musicales is a platform for local musicians and vocalists to showcase their chops in a variety of musical genres, including classical, folk and jazz.

The 25-year-old Losey, the orchestra’s principal harpist, says she’s thrilled to play alongside Traba, with whom she has formed a close bond since joining the orchestra in 2008. She looks up to Traba, a veteran musician now in her 17th season. And the kinship is mutual.

“When I came here, I was 30 years old and one of the youngest people in the orchestra,” says Traba, 47. “I feel a tremendous sense of protectiveness toward the young ones. I’ve slowly adjusted to the role of den mother.”

Losey, who grew up in Harpswell, Maine, is one of the orchestra’s youngest musicians. A 2008 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, she turned down an opportunity to pursue an artist diploma at Yale School of Music when she was hired as the orchestra’s only full-time harpist two years ago.

“Having a job is way better than going to school,” Losey says. “I lucked out. After I graduated there were no full-time harp positions in the country.”

Traba and Losey have yet to finalize the pieces they’ll play in their Munchtime Musicales concert, although Traba says audiences can expect a Bach sonata originally composed for the flute and harpsichord and a piece by French composer Gabriel Fauré.

“A lot of keyboard music can be transcribed if you have a really good harpist like Cheryl,” says Traba, who is also the principal flutist of the Sarasota Wind Quintet.

Losey blushes. Aside from her timid cat and $35,000 harp, Losey moved to Sarasota knowing no one and with little baggage. To help ease the transition, Traba and her husband, Sarasota Orchestra principal bassoonist Fernando Traba, frequently invite Losey over for dinner.

“We enjoy each other’s company,” Traba says.

As for the sounds their instruments make together, the women settle on one word: magical.

“It’s not edgy. It’s lush and pretty,” Traba says.

“Almost heavenly,” Losey says.

Contact Heidi Kurpiela at [email protected]

The Sarasota Concert Association will present Cheryl Losey and Betsy Traba in a Munchtime Musicales performance at noon Wednesday, Feb. 17, at David Cohen Hall. For information, visit or call 351-7467.


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