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11-year-old is camp's first harpist





Rebecca Denholm's musical instrument is nearly as big as she is -- and her harp isn't even full size.

Then again, neither is Denholm, 11, who will be entering the sixth grade this fall at Salina's Lakewood Middle School.

At this week's High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University, Denholm lugs from building to building a big case containing her harp.

She shrugs off the exertion as just part of being a harpist.

"I guess you could say so," Denholm said when asked if carrying her harp builds muscles. "Either that or it makes them sore."

The camp, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary this week, added the instruction of string instruments in 2009. Denholm is the first harpist at the camp.

"I guess it makes me feel kind of special," she said.

Denholm started playing the harp approximately two years ago. Her grandmother works at a thrift shop, and Denholm was rummaging through some boxes when she found a harp.

"I thought it would be kind of neat to play the harp," she said. "I found a harp teacher and started playing."

Playing the harp can be challenging.

"If music is too fast, I have a wider range to cover, so it's harder to play faster," said Denholm, who doesn't play another instrument.

Since taking up the harp, Denholm tries to adhere to a practice schedule.

"I try to practice 20 minutes every day, but that usually doesn't happen," she said. "Games and stuff."

Denholm has enjoyed her time at the camp this week.

"I wanted to go because I wanted to improve in my harp skills, and I kind of wanted to check out the campus," she said. "It's fun. The kids are really nice."