Photo by Ray Newton
by Ray Newton | Photography by Rob Mangold
It’s safe to say that whenever 87-year-old Luana Mangold performs, there are strings attached. The musician strums a handmade Paraguayan folk harp.
Her performances over the past 20 years earned her the national Good Samaritan Society Ever Forward Champion Volunteer Award June 24 at the Good Samaritan Society national headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mangold, who has lived in Prescott for 32 years, has played in museums, concert halls and hospitals but most frequently at hospice facilities.
She was nominated by Adam Bissell, chaplain for the Prescott Good Samaritan Living Facility and Apartments.
“In one word, she’s a ‘saint’,” he says. “As people are transitioning into the next world, to have that harp in the background is majestic.”
Luana is a longtime certified music practitioner.
An American Indian born in 1935 into a large family — 17 siblings — in the Jemez Springs Pueblo Tribe just north of Albuquerque, Mangold was removed from her family during the era in American education when Indian students were taken away from their family.
She took classes in music, graduating from high school at Albuquerque Indian School. She attended University of New Mexico on scholarship and later earned a master’s in health education from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
She was married for 50 years to Werner Mangold, a German-born engineer. The couple, who had three sons, traveled for her husband’s work, eventually coming to Prescott in 1990. Werner died in 2004.
Luana, already a pianist, discovered her love for the harp taking classes at Yavapai College. “The Harp Lady” worked in the health department at Yavapai Regional Medical Center and played both instruments for patients.
“All the strings are exposed, and the sound is so pure and gentle,” Luana says of the harp. “I love the reverberations that flow through the body and mind to sooth the person within.
“That’s especially true when a patient is near death. You don’t come into the world alone, and if you chose not to, why should you leave it alone.”
For more than 12 years, she performed at the Good Samaritan Society Prescott Hospice and Marley House.
The retiring Luana says: “I’m pleased, though, to accept the thought that when you give of yourself, you get back much more. I know I feel that way because of my experiences with Good Samaritan here in Prescott. “