Urban Youth Harp Ensemble to hold holiday concert - FOX 35 News Orlando

Urban Youth Harp Ensemble to hold holiday concert

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ATLANTA -

A classical instrument has some new fans at an Atlanta public school. The Urban Youth Harp Ensemble is the only program of its type in metro Atlanta.

Students at Carver School of the Arts are learning to master an instrument that dates back to ancient Mesopotamia.  Jamario Cain didn't even know what a harp was before signing up for the class. Now he loves it, and says his grades have even improved.

"It really made me focus more and pay more attention, make stuff clearly to understand. So, yeah, it helped me in the classroom," said Cain.

The students work hard to master the technique of the multi-stringed instrument. Diamond Giles hopes to take it to the next level.

"I think I want to try to get a scholarship out of playing the harp or use it in college -- maybe not for a career, though - just playing it throughout my lifetime," said Giles.

Her brother, Reginald Risper, signed up for the class first, and says there's a little bit of competition between the two siblings.

"In fact, she's pretty much caught up to me almost in these last few months. She's giving me a run for my money in skill," said Risper.

Carolyn Lund is proud of her students. As a classically trained musician since the age of nine, she understands how hard it is for them to learn the complex instrument as teenagers.

"Well, they say that it's one of the most difficult instruments in the world. And I think it is because of the coordination that it takes -- you're playing right hand and left hand, totally independently, different notes," said Lund.

But despite the challenges these students manage to make beautiful music together.

The Urban Youth Harp Ensemble will hold its annual winter holiday concert this coming Monday at Carver High School's Leete Hall. For more information, visit: http://www.urbanharp.org/

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