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Sam Wittchen: Combining Passion for Harps & Sustainability
Philly

Sam Wittchen: Combining Passion for Harps & Sustainability

What does sustainability and playing harp have in common?

Passion. At least for one amazing woman.

So often, children with musical or athletic talents are urged to find ‘practical’ careers to fill in the gaps for financial security. We hear it so often: the star athlete settling for a career in Sales. But how can one compromise more than one passion into a career?

For Samantha Wittchen, her love of both sustainability and harp shaped her career to a flexible path to accommodate both. She supports her harp-playing addiction by playing gigs, and fills in the gaps with consulting when the music season was slow.

We recently chatted with Philly local Wittchen about sustainability, harps, keeping it in the family and what’s to come.

Wittchen’s Musical Beginnings

Wittchen started playing harp with a plan for college, trying to take an “easier” route than the competitive nature of piano. Instead, she struck a chord, discovering her newfound musical love. Fast forward to the present, where she teaches harp at University of Pennsylvania, private lessons and a variety of gigs at local music venues and private affairs. Along with her harpist mother and sister, she’s a piece of the The Wittchen Initiative frequently showcasing their musical genes at shows and performances.

Samantha Wittchen, Harp Philadelphia
Wittchen with her weapon of choice behind her

Sam’s Sustainability SegUE

And Sam’s sustainability side? Once again, she teamed up with her mother and created iSpring Associates, helping businesses improve their sustainability. Sam transferred to University of Virginia during her collegiate years and received her mechanical engineering degree, giving her the problem-solving skills for her new venture.

Wittchen’s business doesn’t stay under the radar. She’s worked on projects like the Commercial Recycling Toolkit for the City of Philadelphia, creating guidelines for businesses, institutions & large residential buildings. She recently participated in the Philadelphia Water Department’s FLOW celebration (For the Love of Water), showcasing water and our involvement in its role in sustainability.

Samantha Wittchen Flow Fest
Wittchen with Cardboard Raindrops she designed for FLOW

Although some may fear combining two careers, Wittchen loves the versatility of combining both passions at different times. As she mentioned, “We can take more musical gigs when that picks up, and fill in more with consulting during the slow performing season.”

Wittchen exemplifies that professionals don’t have to give up their passions for a career; nor do professionals have to chose one passion. She’s combined a love for sustainability and music with different roles, balancing them through seasons, with her family by her side. Plus, you can hear the passion in her voice. As she recounted her musical beginnings and how she switched her career to sustainability (after the non-ideal corporate world beginnings), you know this woman enjoys what she does and is happy to share her experience with you.

What’s Next For Samantha

Wittchen has a packed schedule and has no signs of stopping. What’s next for this mult-talented lady?

On the sustainability front, iSpring’s helping the local business community on commercial recycling for their new years’ resolutions. Before the new year begins, she’s sharing her talents with others. Wittchen is teaching a two-night sewing class at the Department of Making and Doing (3711 Market Street) on December 2nd/3rd.  Attendees will learn the basics of sewing on a sewing machine, and they’ll make a tote bag from reclaimed fabric courtesy of The Resource Exchange.

Want to hear her harp in action?  Catch the Wittchen Initiative on December 20th at Melodies Cafe in Ardmore.  Even better, it’s a sustainability double-header, as Heather Blakeslee’s band, Sweetbriar Rose is playing as well.

So what can we learn from Sam? (Besides a healthy ambition…) Follow your passion. And if you have more than one? You can combine them into a fulfilling lifestyle that works for you.

If you’re interested in hearing more or have Sam play an upcoming gig, visit Wittchen’s website.

Photos: Samantha Wittchen 

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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