Young harpists prepare for holiday concert in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - December 6, 2013

The 5th and 6th grade girls have been playing the harp for a little more than a year, and their accomplishments have been astounding.

They practice five days a week, two to three hours a day, Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers" from the "Nutcracker.

It is part of "Play on Philly", a non-profit organization that provides free music education to more than 200 students at St. Francis de Sales and Freire Charter Middle School in Center City.

"When I'm playing the harp, I am happy," said 6th grader Ahshanti Smalls.

"At first my mom didn't know what a harp was, and I had to show her pictures on the internet," said Zora Nelson.

The harp wasn't Zora's first choice for an instrument or Calea Burton's; their other choices were taken.

Calea says it has been a blessing in disguise.

Calea's mom has two other kids in the program.

"I have a 9-year-old who is playing the cello right now, and my oldest son played the flute for three years," said Angela Burton.

It is the first time the girl's instructor has taught the harp in a group. She is astonished at their progress.

"I've found that with them working together as a group, they help each other, and it makes them excel faster than some of my private students who get to work with me one-on-one," said Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis.

On December 14th, these young harpists will join other students from St. Francis de Sales and Freire Charter Middle School for a holiday concert.

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