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Katie Harman releases Soul of Love album

CD will include song she sang at Miss America competition in 2002
by: Contributed photo, Katie Harman, Miss America 2002, released her first album,

She first wowed us with her vocals on national television in 2001.

Gresham's Katie Harman used every inch of her tiny frame to command the Miss America stage, knocking out judges and the competition with her powerhouse operatic voice.

Now Harman, Miss America 2002, is debuting her first album, 'Soul of Love.' Nationally released on Feb. 6, Harman calls the album semi-classical.

'It has classical melodies with pop styling,' she says, comparing the crossover mix to those of Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman.

Harman, 26, who grew up in Gresham and graduated from Centennial High School, will perform selections from her album at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Lawrence Gallery, 903 N.W. Davis St., in downtown Portland's Pearl District. A reception begins at 6 p.m. Both are free.

Produced by MAH Records, Harman worked on the album with Michael Allen Harrison, a local concert pianist and composer with East Multnomah County roots (he's a Parkrose High School graduate).

Together they created an album that Harman considers a tribute to love of all kinds: everything from love of country to unrequited love. Although the diminutive beauty sheepishly admits to not having a whole lot of experience with the latter of the two.

'It's emotional, passionate, joyful, inspiring - all of those things,' Harman says. 'So I'm me staying true to my classical roots but also making it more approachable.'

Most of the songs are written by Michael Allen Harrison, who created music based on 18th and 19th century Italian poetry, in addition to songs in English. One song, 'Veglia,' or 'Watch,' is inspired by a poem written on a scrap of paper by an Italian infantryman in the trenches of World War I. Another song, 'Pietá, Signore!,' or 'Oh Lord, Have Mercy!,' is an old Italian prayer set to music.

Arrangements also were combined with two much-loved operatic pieces, creating the collection of 11 songs.

Harman's favorite is 'Feathers,' inspired by the breast cancer patients she worked with during her reign as Miss America 2002.

For the duet 'I Breathe,' Harman teamed up with Gresham's Kirk Mouser. His mother Janet Mouser, a retired high school drama teacher, was the first to encourage Harman to compete in pageants to earn college scholarships. Little did Harman know that endeavor would take her to Atlantic City, where she sang 'O Mio Babbino Caro,' during the Miss America competition. That song, which pays tribute to fathers, also is on the album.

'I was inspired by the things in my life,' Harman says, adding that she thought of her husband, Capt. Tim Ebner, while performing the love songs, and their son, Tyler, who turns 2 in April, while singing a lullaby for the album.

For a musical sampling, log on to her Web site, www.katieharman.com. The album costs $16.95 and is available at Amazon.com, Borders Books and Music, Made in Oregon stores, Music Millennium and Barnes and Noble.

'I'm thrilled about it. It was a great process through and through,' Harman says. 'I'm finding my authentic voice, discovering parts of me as a performer that maybe I didn't know as well before.'

Harman lives with her husband and son in Southern Oregon. She continues to tour nationally as a performer and speaker.