Biography of Billy W. Harp
All my life in the Indian River, Florida area, I had heard stories about my grandmother’s life in Florida as I worked as a service station attendant, roofer, teacher, adjunct professor, actor, musician, composer, husband, and father. Although I was born on August 26, 1939 in Dania, Florida, I have spent the majority of my 70 years in Vero Beach, Florida engrossed in the worlds of teaching ESL students, music, and teaching music.
After graduating from high school in 1958, I graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1964 with a BME degree with a double major in vocal and instrumental music.
In 1965, I returned to Vero Beach, Florida to teach band and chorus at the Vero Beach Junior High School. For the next 33 years, I taught music and performed as a vocal soloist at many of the churches and synagogues in the surrounding area. I was also involved with Vero Beach Theater guild and Showcase Operetta Company where I performed, directed and orchestrated many different shows. A five year project of mine resulted in an operetta entitled "Barkley Square" which was presented for Showcase Operetta Company and performed at Riverside Theater. It was also during this time that I became a paid soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church. The choir director there commissioned my “Requiem” which was performed at the Good Friday Mass the following year. I am presently in the process of reworking that mass. In 1973, I attended the University of South Florida, where I was required to take a masters class in composition, which gave me an introduction into extremely modern music. As a result, I wrote a composition entitled "The Lord's Prayer". I also wrote a unique piece called "Cloverleaf". In 1981,I became an elementary music teacher. While teaching at Osceola Elementary School, I composed a musical called "Star Warts" for the 5th grade classes. Shortly afterward, I was approached by Mr. Frank Morretti who commissioned me to write the music for his script and lyrics for a musical version of the classic book Heidi.
In 1997, I retired from the public school system. In 1998, I became an adjunct professor of ESL students at Indian River State College, Mueller Center in Vero Beach. In the past ten years I have spent my time rearranging much of the music that I had previously written, as well as researching and writing a two book series based on the life of my grandmother entitled Lydia and Scrabblin’. I have self-published three children’s books which will be available soon on my web site- Who Am I? , What is a Stri`ped Cowsbow? and The Three Florida Pigs.
My personal life revolves around my wife of 29 years, Kathy, who is a high school teacher and editor of the two, our two sons, Blaine and Beran, and their wives, Sandy and Anna, and our two Pomeranians, Beau and Bitzi. We enjoying fishing, camping, and boating on the Treasure Coast of Florida about two miles away from the setting of the book. Our property was formerly owned by my great uncle George Hamilton.