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Harpists: Instrument’s appearance, sound can be deceiving

Ben Phelps, 16, practices his fingering during his Tuesday harp lesson with Ashley Nelson. Phelps, who has been playing the piano since first grade and the double bass since sixth, started taking harp lessons from Nelson in February 2010.

Ben Phelps, 16, practices his fingering during his Tuesday harp lesson with Ashley Nelson. Phelps, who has been playing the piano since first grade and the double bass since sixth, started taking harp lessons from Nelson in February 2010. Photo by Kelley McCall.

Video

Harp Playing with Christmas Carroling

Harp Playing with Christmas Carroling

Harp Playing with Christmas Carroling

A Christmas surprise, the ornate harp Ashley Nelson received as a teenager is the same one she performs on today.

Her troubador lever-style harp sustained a crack only a few years into her study. Nelson didn’t expect the costly replacement.

But from her Christmas stocking 18 years ago, she pulled a gold-embossed card announcing the Concert Grand Harp was on its way.

“My heart stopped; I freaked out,” Nelson said.

Although she teaches strings in the Jefferson City Public Schools, Nelson enjoys any opportunity to play the unique instrument. And she’s passing on the skill to interested students.

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