Liza Rey Butler helps a child play the harp. Butler will play at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on July 6. Children are encouraged to participate. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIZA REY BUTLER

Butler to play harp at library

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Mount Desert Island-based harpist, recording artist and singer-songwriter Liza Rey Butler will play an interactive concert featuring music and a reading from her book and CD “Go to Sleep My Baby” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Thursday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. During the concert, kids are invited participate by playing the harp, shaking rhythm instruments and singing familiar songs.

“Go to Sleep My Baby” is a children’s bedtime story based on the lyrics and music of a favorite family lullaby, illustrated by Jessica Millis. The book includes a CD with “Go to Sleep My Baby” and 12 more of Butler’s favorite lullabies arranged for harp, with cello, flute and strings accompaniment, along with the lyrics to all of the lullabies.

Butler, born in Hollywood, began playing piano at age 4, and harp at 14. By then, she was singing professionally. Her parents, Luisa King and Alvino Rey, were successful professional musicians. She sang backup vocals for recording stars like Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Johnny Mathis and more. She also was a core member of the weekly ABC TV Show “The King Family,” where she sang, danced and played harp and toured nationally every summer.

Butler earned a master’s degree in music and became a freelance studio harpist, including regular stints for TV shows as a member of the CBS Orchestra. Married and living in the Lake Tahoe area, she formed her own jazz quintet. They played concerts, shows and festivals, performing her original music and arrangements. She was often requested as harpist, backing acts as diverse as Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughn and Tony Bennett, Glenn Campbell, Neil Sedaka and Broadway show productions.

After moving to Houston, Texas, Butler and her quintet toured and played concerts for thousands of children in the Houston area. She often included her sons Win and Will and their friends in her shows. Those boys are now core members of the Grammy-winning indie rock band Arcade Fire. While in Texas, she recorded and released a jazz harp album, “Harp and Soul,” and a Christmas album, “Noel Nouveau.” In 2003, Butler moved to Somes Sound to live in her husband, Ned’s, childhood home. Visit

Copies of the book and CD will be available after the concert. Call the library at 244-7065.



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