Open Day 2017
24th September 2017
Open days from the past....
Our best open day yet...
"What a wonderful day today has been, a delightful atmosphere with wonderful Pilgrim Harps et al! The open day was a great success, filled with happy harpists, a wonderful BBQ and endless friendly faces! Thank you all who made it happen and for inviting me to join you! Only the 3rd outing for my brand-new pilgrim electro-acoustic harp, a real treat to play! Thanks Fran for your brilliant jam session files too!"
Anna Blumire kicked-off proceedings playing her Pilgrim ‘Canterbury’ Concert Harp. Anna is currently studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Val Aldrich-Smith and she played for us music by Debussy, Bach and Massenet. The audience were also treated to an insight into how a pedal harp works and what the pedals are for.
Next up was Merlynna Johnson from the Isle of Wight. After hearing the concert harp it was wonderful to be able to hear and compare a specialist Celtic harpist. Merlynna’s repertoire is very varied from old English to Spanish, Scottish, Irish and Welsh plus Classical and Pop. We were treated to a sample of many of these styles as she filled in with little anecdotes about each piece and a few words also about the forthcoming I.O.W. Harp Festival in October.
Shelley Fairplay provided a further dimension performing on her new Pilgrim electro-acoustic ‘Malvern’ Pedal Harp that she had commissioned from us very recently. Her playing was so dazzling and exciting and it was fascinating to see how she combined the use of loop and special effects pedals to build up many layers of sound. Shelley is based mainly in Wales so we were especially grateful that she had travelled over to be with us on the big day.
Lizzy Peacock played next for us demonstrating as always her charming and exquisite style of performance. After spending the last few years playing in Hong Kong we were delighted to see her back here in the UK. One of the joys of our Open Days are the ‘extra’ performances that always seem to get included over and above the advertised schedule and this was another of those special treats.
Meredith McCrindle was the last of our soloists and she showed no signs of fatigue having flown down from Edinburgh the same morning! Meredith is one of Scotland’s principal solo musicians and is widely known as an exceptionally versatile harpist so it was such a privilege to hear her play. Meredith held the audience in the palm of her hand; it was breathtaking for instance, to see how she part improvised a varied medley of music into one stunning piece.
Our very own Fran Barsby rounded off the entertainment. With her endless enthusiasm and energy, she superbly orchestrated all the days performers together on one stage for a fantastic final jam session. Their combined talents delighted us all with everything from Cold Play, Tchaikovsky and Adele to Game of Thrones and Beyonce. It’s hard to imagine a more entertaining way to finish off a perfect day.
"A truly inspirational day!"- Hattie Webb
"The open day was great I loved the sparkly harps. I enjoyed listening to Fran and her friends play the harp."
Willow Aged 5 (Open Day 2015)
"It was wonderful to see the variety of harps. We were made to feel very welcome and Willow felt comfortable playing the harps on display and asking questions to the staff. We hope to see you all again soon." Emily (Open Day 2015)
10am - Workshops opened - Concert by Fran Barsby, interactive greatness! It was great to get requests as unique as High School Musical from the audience and hear Fran improvise them away to inspire the young students in the audience. A collection of students pieces played to inspire! A great concert.
11am - The stupendous Keziah Thomas played a fantastic set of exciting music including inspirational works such as Deborah Henson Conant's Baroque Flamenco.
12pm - Hattie Webb - If you weren't at this concert you missed a treat, the beautiful combination of a Pilgrim Harp and Hatties voice. Absolutely breathtaking and another fantastic set!