The project was founded in April 2014 over Italian coffee by Anna Sacchini, Karen Tweed, Vic King and Tony O’Nions and is being organised by Anna, Vic, Tony and Theresa Ellis.
HARP ON WIGHT FESTIVAL REVIEW
The first Harp on Wight Festival was hailed as a great success, both by those who attended the various concerts, lectures and teaching courses and by the organizing team.
Held in the seaside town of Ryde during the last week in November, the week long Festival concluded with an informal music session/ceilidh at St Mary’s Centre. Before the music started, the audience were able to see the harps made by students at a two day course during the Festival.
The winners of a competition to compose a new piece of music for the harp inspired by the Isle of Wight were also announced. Winner in the Under-16 age group was Matthew Brett with “Carisbrooke Cry”, whilst Theresa Ellis was successful in the Over-16 section with “Catch The Moon To Culver”. Mike Parker – such a popular figure during the Festival both as performer and educator – announced the winners before proceeding to play both of the winning pieces. Mike had earlier given a memorable performance in the Festival’s opening concert in which he played no less than nine different harps.
Other highlights were an uplifting Friday night concert by classical harp duo Arcangeli, and an illuminating and informative Saturday afternoon performance by violin and harp duo Frances Mason and Jenny Broome which focused on the music of Clara and Marianne Eissler who performed twice on the Isle of Wight – at Ryde Town Hall in 1892, and for Queen Victoria at Osborne House in 1898.
Scottish duo Sileas enchanted the Saturday evening audience at Aspire, Ryde with a heart-warming show of magical tunes and songs.
A real Festival highlight was the wonderful exhibition in the St Therese Hall at St. Mary’s by Morley Harps, Pilgrim and Affairs of the Harp which attracted considerable interest.
Audience numbers were good throughout the Festival which had a charming mix of elements to it – part folk festival, part classical recital and part Antiques Roadshow, given the considerable focus given during the week to informing and educating the public about the instrument’s long, varied and colourful history.
Vic King – one of the organizing team – concluded “Putting any Festival together in the first year is always difficult, particularly when you are only focusing on a single instrument, but we were absolutely delighted with how the event went and the positive response that we had to it”. Harp on Wight 2015 will be held in Ryde from 7th – 11th October.