Portsmouth Festivities to host milestone concert for award-winning guitar orchestra

IN TUNE Hampshire Guitar Orchestra will perform during Portsmouth Festivities
IN TUNE Hampshire Guitar Orchestra will perform during Portsmouth Festivities

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IT’S taken 13 years – but now a group of award-winning classical guitarists will clock up their 100th concert on the opening day of Portsmouth Festivities.

Members of Hampshire Guitar Orchestra will reach the milestone when they entertain crowds inside St George’s Church, in St George’s Square, Portsea, on Saturday.

The musicians will perform the John Lennon ballad Woman, a Spanish guitar composition, traditional South American music and other musical styles during the show, which starts at 7.30pm.

Cambridge Guitar Orchestra will perform for half of the show.

The nine-day Portsmouth Festivities, which this year has the Charles Dickens-inspired theme of Great Expectations, begins on Friday evening when writers and musicians visit Aspex Gallery, in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Cathedral and Guildhall Square.

Derek Hasted, of Bedhampton, founded Hampshire Guitar Orchestra in 1999.

Mr Hasted, musical director of the group, said: ‘It’s taken us 13 years, but we’re finally going to make it to our 100th concert.

‘It’s certainly going to be a milestone. Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point.

‘I’ll be retired by the time we reach our 200th concert! We’re incredibly proud to be part of this year’s Portsmouth Festivities.

‘We’ve always performed at St George’s Church for the festivities.

‘The venue is fantastic and the acoustics are perfect for guitar players.

‘We hope as many people as possible will turn up to support us.’

The group, which won first prize in the guitar orchestra section of the 2001 Portsmouth Music Festival, first performed for Portsmouth Festivities in 2008 and featured during it last year.

Musicians get together once a fortnight to rehearse at Lovedean Village Hall, in Lovedean Lane, Lovedean.

Tickets for the show cost £7.50 for adults and £1 for under 18s. Contact Portsmouth Festivities box office on (023) 9282 4355.

Tickets can also be bought on the door.

The festivities run until July 1.