National Harp Day 2018Mayo: Westport Town Hall Theatre Highlights
Hands on Harps
A workshop conducted by Caoimhe Kilkenny, got great interest with more than 30 budding harpers participating. 10 small harps were made available for people to use, including 8 provided by Achill harp festival and 2 by Gráinne Hambly. There were also some observers. Participants were a mix of adults and children including some overseas visitors. Most had never even seen or been up close with a harp before, and they all seemed to really enjoy it.
Music Generation Mayo Harp Ensemble led by Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson, performed initially, and were then joined by a stellar lineup of harpers; Grainne Hambly, William Jackson, Laoise Kelly, Caoimhe Kilkenny and Freda Hatton.
Rosaleen from the Townhall Theatre was very enthusiastic ‘I estimated there were about 120 between the gig and workshop overall. I felt there was huge interest in the workshop as people were given the opportunity to try out the Harp and I had a few commenting that they had actually expected the Harp to be a much more complicated instrument then it was!’ We are delighted to report that Rosaleen is also planning to organise a similar event (with workshop and ensemble performance) as part of their children’s MacLuí Festival in March, which she hopes will encourage more young people to consider taking up the harp. Our thanks to the team at the Townhall Theatre for their support.
Exhibition and showcase
Local harp maker Graham Wright exhibited his harps. Graham said ‘I thought Saturday was very good, lots of interest in the harps, (loads of kids trying them!) and a great concert. Came away feeling very positive about the whole thing. Thanks for asking me’.
The Achill International Harp Festival set up a stand in the lobby with a display of harp-related books and pictures as well as CDs and books by the various performers, which were on sale. The event was well promoted locally and on local radio; Laoise Kelly and Freda Hatton spoke and played on 2 MidWest Radio shows. There was very enthusiastic public feedback and the Harp Day experience was a very positive one, enjoyed by all. It certainly succeeded in spreading the word about the harp and our music. Looking forward to next year!