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Virginia Redhead BethunE


Virginia is a Certified Music Practitioner with the Music for Healing and Transition Program. She has been a keyboardist all her life, serving as organist for fourteen years (1989-2003) at Blacksburg United Methodist Church in southwest Virginia, home of Virginia Tech. At age 60 Virginia began playing the harp and since 1995 has specialized in healing melodies played on her Celtic harps. Virginia uses the principles of music (rhythm, harmony, and melody) to help provide an aural aura which promotes healing. Her music is offered at the bedside as neither performance nor entertainment; she supplies a "ministry of presence" to patients, family, friends, and staff.

Musician in Residence at University of Virginia Hospital

From 2007-2012 she was a Musician- in -Residence at University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, offering therapeutic music at the beside of patients in ICU, chemo infusion cubicles, radiation, clinics, etc. Currently she is an Area Co-Ordinator for the Music for Healing and Transition Program; students and instructors have come to Harrisonburg from OH, CA, TX, GA, NY, PA, FL, TN, etc. for classroom instruction and a final practicum @ the local hospital before logging 45 contact hours with patients 1:1 to fulfil the independent practicum requirement. Area musicians recently certified and nearing completion for certification include a cellist, retired physician, and 3 harpists. Other students will certify in voice, dulcimer, violin, guitar, etc.


Involved as the producer for numerous CD projects such as:
Mosaic CD: A Sampler by Virginia and Dick Bethune
Healing Harp Melodies I
Healing Harp Melodies II
Healing Harp Melodies: Classical Tunes and Loveabyes
Christmas Fantasia
Healing Harp Melodies: Christmas
Harp Melodies: Hymns and Spiritual Song.
Click on each individual project title for more details, song samples or to purchase or visit the MUSIC page.


"Thank you for your beautiful CD. We played it for our mother over and over again in her last hours." M.L.

"Our pastor has used your CD during quiet time in our prayer group to help us in centering." J.M.

"I use your CDs frequently in my massage practice, and many clients have purchased them." C.Z.

" One of the clients in my physical therapy practice related that her pain level had decreased from 9 to 7 after listening to your CD." K.C.


Full of Sound and Music, Signifying Healing
"Full of Sound and Music, Signifying Healing" a 4000-word article published In A Call to Worship by the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church in the USA (Nov. 2009).


The New River Valley Divertimento Trio
Carter Edmondson - flute, Marya Katz - dulcimer, and Virginia Bethune - Harp

The Shenandoah Valley Divertimento Trio
Maddie MacNeil - dulcimer, Sally Millar - flute, and Virginia Bethune - Harp

Shenandoah Valley Harpers

Virginia Bethune and Edward Gant
Certified Music Practitioners
Music for Healing and Transition Program

The Springs Ensemble
Virginia Bethune and Edward Gant


Beginning Harp Workshops
Since 2003 Virginia has presented Beginning Harp Workshops for at least 150 students, ages 8-84. These workshops have a six hour two-day format, with harp and workbook provided. Issuing from these endeavours have been harp circles in the New River Valley, VA. (near Blacksburg), Greensboro, NC, and Central Shenandoah Valley, VA.

Music and Speaking Engagements
Beginning and Intermediate Harp Workshop, Worship and Music Conferences, Music and Healing Workshop


Community Leader

In 2002 the music staff at Blacksburg, Va. United Methodist Church and the Pairs and Spares S.S. Class began the Build-a-House-with-Art-and-Music project. $85,000 (Fall 2010) in gross sales of CDs has been raised to help build Habitat Houses in Blacksburg and Harrisonburg, VA.

A piano student at age 6, her mother was an early influence while growing up in Greensboro. She played piano every day, she remembers. She loved music and later went to Agnes Scott College in Georgia, where she studied music, but majored in philosophy. She figured she could do as much with music while majoring in something else. Later she became an organist; her first paid position was at Blacksburg United Methodist Church. She stayed for 14 years. In 1997, she parlayed her church organist experience into an exchange with an organist in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was organist at St. Andrew’s and St. George’s Churches for a month.

Her Journey

The wife of a Presbyterian minister, Bethune might have enjoyed a lifelong niche as church organist. But all that changed in 1995. At a crafts show in Blacksburg, Bethune met harp maker John Kovac from Front Royal. He was an attorney in Washington who gave it up to make harps. She had never been that close to a harp, and she was hooked. Kovac told her that he taught children in three or four months to play. So she took a harp on a rent-to-own basis and learned to play at the age of 60. Then Bethune was lucky enough to locate an international harp champion, Danielle Yu, nearby in Roanoke. After four lessons, Bethune’s conversion to Celtic harp was complete.

Currently (2015) Virginia has released 9 CDs since 2002, yielding over $120,000 for Habitat for Humanity, $8,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the launch of a fund to underwrite therapeutic music in an area health-care facility.
Since 2007 she has been an employee in Behavioral Health Units locally. Over the years Dick built 10 or more harps, from scratch and using a kit from Musicmakers. From 2007-2012 Virginia was a Musician-in-Residence at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va.

Area graduates of the Music for Healing and Transition Program, known as Certified Music Practitioners (not Music Therapists), include Edward Gant, cellist, and Carole Grove and Mixon Darracott, MD, harpists. Musicians demonstrating at least an intermediate skill level in various instruments, such as harp, cello, dulcimer, voice, flute, violin, drums, guitar, etc. may apply for admission into this program. Recent students have come from TX, GA, PA, NY, FL, TN, OH, etc., and instructors, CMPs themselves and often as RNs, come from across the country. MHTP celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014 and claims over 700 graduates internationally.


"Praise God with the lute and harp . . . let everything that breathes praise the Lord." (Psalm 150)


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© Virginia Bethune. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.