Few things wrench the heart of a family like the loss of a child.

Shock and numbness consume the bereaved, but over time, with the help of friends, healing and hope begin to fill the void.

This is what members of Kindred Harps, a string quintet based in Houlton, had in mind when they conceived a CD born of tragedy.

Four members of the group had witnessed fellow harper Dale Holden suddenly lose her 6-year-old grandson to myocarditis, commonly caused by an infection of the heart muscle by a virus.

Logan Sweet of Bowdoinham had had a physical only two days before he died unexpectedly in May 2008 — illustrating just how difficult myocarditis is to detect.

“His heart had been enlarged by a virus that masks itself as a day’s flu, but strikes the heart, causing permanent damage,” explained Holden.


“As a pastor, I had dealt with death a lot — but mostly older people who had run their natural course of life. This was very sudden. It came out of the blue. It was very unreal.”

After Logan Sweet’s death, his mother, Carolyn Sweet, organized a number of fundraisers to help raise awareness of myocarditis.

Members of Kindred Harps, who have played together for about four years, decided to help by producing “Butterfly Dreams,” a CD of lullabies that could be sold to help raise funds for the cause.

“It was such a devastating thing when Dale lost her grandson,” said fellow harper Barbara Hogan of Houlton. “Making this CD felt like something we could do for her and for us. We are all mothers and grandmothers in this group, and it allowed us to use our creativity in a way that we hoped would be helpful to Dale, to her family and to further the cause of raising awareness of the disease.”

To avoid copyright issues, the group selected very old songs that were in the public domain. But Hogan, who writes original music as well as producing new arrangements, also included a special lullaby.

Her granddaughter, Anna Hogan, wrote the melody and music for “Ocean Lullaby” when she was 3. It describes her trip to the seaside.


Hogan also wrote other lullabies, including “Butterfly Dreams,” an ethereal tune inspired by Logan Sweet’s love of butterflies.

Other songs she wrote include “Aquarium Life,” “Sleepy Baby” and “Hilltop.”

Traditional selections include “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “All Through the Night,” “Child Grove” and “Lavender’s Blue.”

Production costs for the CD were provided by Hogan’s mother, Carol Howe, who had always wanted to do something to honor her mother, Mildred Hagan, who died from Alzheimer’s disease in her early 50s.

Both Logan Sweet and Hagan, although generations apart, are featured in a booklet tucked into the cover of the CD.

“This seemed like a good time to fund a CD in my mother’s memory,” said Howe. “The best part is that proceeds from this CD will help with research into Logan’s condition — myocarditis. If they could find a cure, that would be wonderful!”


Right now, the only known cure is a heart transplant, Dale Holden said.

“But if the condition could be discovered sooner and treated so it doesn’t damage the heart, that would be ideal.”

On a recent Saturday night in Houlton, two members of Kindred Harps serenaded diners at the Courtyard Cafe with songs from “Butterfly Dreams,” as well as holiday favorites, and promoted the CD, which was released in November.

It was Carol Howe’s 88th birthday. Her great-granddaughter, Anna, the young composer, was celebrating her eighth birthday.

“All the crazy eights are here tonight,” joked Barbara Hogan, who joined Dale Holden at the Courtyard Cafe.

“There are only two of us harpers here this evening,” said Hogan, “but all five of us bring something to this group to make it work. Dale is the major talent, and she is the glue that holds us all together.”


Holden, who has seven children, has been the glue for her family, too.

For nearly a year after her daughter lost Logan, Holden spoke with her daughter daily to console her. “I wanted to be there for my daughter,” she said.

The Kindred Harps wanted to be there for the family, too.

“Those ladies have put so much time and hard work into the recording,” said Carolyn Sweet. “It warms my heart to listen, and I know there is true meaning and love behind each chord.”

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