Annie Ray | Grammy Award Winning Music Educator

This is one of those stories I'm going to enjoy telling forever.

Going full-time is scary! Especially when it wasn't the plan. I was deep in discussion with my husband about the ideas spinning in my head (if you know me, its constant!): branding sessions, headshot marathons, portrait mixers, studio rentals... and ultimately I decided that I needed to commit more time to shoots styled with my dream clients in mind. I thought of Annie right before Drew mentioned Annie, and before I could even reach out I had a text from Annie! Fate!

Annie and I had a whirlwind conversation (as two moms do): surprise career changes, winning a Grammy #NBD, "how ARE you? It's been forever!" and came to the conclusion that in our insane world of potty training, skin care, "real" jobs, and her podcast/magazine/blog/newspaper interviews, that we should 100% work together in our free time. 🤪

I shared my goals for this coming year for my company, and the next day Annie texted, "[is] this more of the idea of what you're going for career wise? Cover....magazine..."

...and my brain didn't process anything after that because MAGAZINE COVER?!

Harp Column May-June 2024

And so we did it! 🤩 After a whirlwind of late night texting between the, "MOMMY!"s and bedtime songs (and realizing that neither of us wanted to brave cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.); Obviously we settled on a county owned run down jail. Workhouse Art Center in Northern Virginia provided the perfect backdrop to showcase Annie the best we could-with the solo glam moment she deserved in the midst of the absolute wild ride that has been 2024 in the Ray family.

Annie Ray is an advocate for providing universal access to quality music education and is known for founding and developing creative opportunities to make music accessible to students of all demographics. Her establishment of the FCPS Parent Orchestra teaches about 200 caregivers annually to play their student's instruments and provides mentorship to upcoming music teachers. Annie also developed the Crescendo Orchestra program (inspired by Giving Bach and United Sound) to make orchestra curriculum accessible to students with significant development or intellectual disabilities. In January 2022, this program was featured and acclaimed on the cover of the Metro section in The Washington Post. TedX invited Annie to give a talk in April 2022, The Sounds of Success, based on her approach in the classroom and how to meet students where they are. Now in the wake her big GRAMMY win, 2024 Music Educator of the Year, she's been thriving in the world of interviews and landing articles/podcast/features daily.

And now we arrive at our Harp Column issue. Annie says that she has followed Harp Column as long as she can remember, and never imagined being featured on the cover. You and me both, sister! Annie is incredible. If you know her, you get it. Wife to Irving, mom to Eloise and Millie, dog-mom to Baymax and Roo, harpist, teacher, skin care queen, and charming laugh-snorter...Annie, we're blessed to have you!

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