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International harpist in Whiti

The peaceful setting of St Andrews the Fisherman Church was venue for a musical treat with international harpist Josh Layne on Sunday afternoon, April 7.
 |  Pam Ferla  | 

Playing a classical mix including Bach, Chopin and Debussy, he quickly confirmed his reputation as a genius of the harp. Stirring, powerful, vibrant, emotional – the audience was wowed by his ability and reminded of the joys of classical music.

Chopin’s Prelude op 28, 15, known as “The Raindrop Prelude”, conveyed a gentle sweetness. His own composition “Unchartered Shores” – my favourite – showed the possibilities of the harp and was a lovely piece that played with one’s emotions. Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” was exquisite.

Grande Piece Symphonique also pulled at the heart strings. “Fantasie on themes from Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin”, by Ekaterina Walker-Kuhne, focused on the lovely waltz from the opera. This was a delightful ending to the programme.

This affable young Canadian was happy to answer questions on the harp (a huge instrument that he manages to squeeze into an SUV!) before people headed home feeling happy that they had attended. I floated home with the ‘trills’ of “Clare de Lune” in my head.

Josh Layne was in Whitianga as part of his New Zealand tour which includes Russell, Auckland and Christchurch.  As well as playing and composing he also teaches the harp in an online YouTube series “Harp Tuesday”.

Many thanks to those organisers who bring accomplished international artists like Josh Layne to the little town of Whitianga.