Last week saw the awaited return of the Changzhou International Guitar festival to WAIS – and what a fantastic week we had! This year’s festival was all about playing together, and pupils teamed up in an array of ensembles such as guitar duos and trios, but also together with voice pupils and violinists to experience and learn from these chamber music activities. Perfectly suited to this and invited on a cultural grant sponsored by the Swedish Government, guesting guitar virtuoso David Härenstam spent the whole week enlightening the guitar department with his vast knowledge and experience. He taught solo lessons, led ensemble rehearsals and gave a greatly applauded concert at the school playing solo pieces and duos together with myself on second guitar.
Outside the school. Mr Härenstam and Mr Nils Klofver also gave a concert at the brand-new music school RotKunst in Wuxi and started a collaboration with professor Danny Jeh at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. With these efforts they strengthen WAIS’ guitar department and give our pupils the opportunity to learn from several professional guitarists and play at external venues gaining valuable performance experience.
Concluding the week was the Guitar Day on Saturday 1st December where our WAIS pupils teamed up with guitarists invited from other schools for masterclasses with Mr. Härenstam and Mr Nils Klofver as well as teacher led ensemble rehearsals. All pupils participated in the newly formed WaisGO! – our own Guitar Orchestra which gives our pupils the opportunity to work together with guest pupils side by side.
The grand finale of the festival was the pupils’ concert on Saturday evening where the whole school enjoyed performances by the soloists and ensembles including a much-enjoyed rendition of the famous James Bond theme by WaisGO!. With this our jam-packed week came to a sensational end and we have received such humbling praise from our visiting guitar star, the invited guest pupils, external venues and our own young guitarists alike. A big thank you to everyone involved for making it such a great success – we look forward to the next guitar festival in 2019!