West Sussex Guitar Club

Charity No. 1124762

Patrons: Gary Ryan & Fabio Zanon


HAGO Has Some Empty Seats

Posted by admin on September 2, 2009

Why do you play guitar? Yes you... Because you like playing it? Of course. But supposed you played bassoon. Would you play it furiously at home and then once a month meet with other bassoon players and play bassoon to teach other?

No, you'd practise at home and you'd join an orchestra with other, different sounds. And that's what HAGO, the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra is. We're not a guitar ensemble, we play four sizes of guitar; different sounds, different pitches. Like in a brass band, if you can play one size, you can play all sizes, and HAGO owns several of each of the non-standard sizes. Mind you, most of our players play their own classical guitar.

Musical Director Derek Hasted writes "Guitar is my main instrument, but it was only when I learned to play brass and joined an ensemble did I realise how much fun it is to play with others. There are lines for weak players and lines for strong players, the louds are louder, the complex bits more impressive, and your playing is lifted by the magical sound all round you". Not long afterwards, Derek founded HAGO and it's garnered a reputation as a performing ensemble that plays charity concerts for non-guitarists. HAGO's repertoire is quirky and massively varied.

Pictured - the contra, classical, bass and alto guitars

Sometimes, the "guitar ensemble" is unfortunately seen as the place where guitarists too weak to play solos serve their time before venturing out to play a solo, but that's a bit of a broad-brush denigration, as anyone who saw the LA Guitar Quartet at West Dean will tell you. Most symphony orchestras are full of excellent musicians, but they're not soloists, they're team-players and the camaraderie backstage is legendary.

The comment most guitarists come out with after hearing about HAGO is "Yes, but what a commitment". But it's not. It's our hobby. We do it because it's more fun than sitting indoors doing practice! And the commitment is for 18 Thursday evenings and 10 Saturday evenings a year. And we know most dates a whole year in advance. Some of our best players drive 40 miles each way to come to rehearsal, and Bognor's a lot closer than that. We've got some vacancies right now for players from Grade 5 to Diploma level. The music's not hard, but our play-list is vast, so we need good players happy to play simple music really well. Visit www.hago.org.uk to see us, hear us, and learn about our other sizes of guitar, or ring Derek on 023 9247 9200 for a chat. As our website says, we're positively passionate about guitar!