Churchill Music!UK Registered Charity No 1121866
Patron: Peter Donohoe CBE

Posted on Thursday 23 September

Harry Harris June 2010

Jonathan Ross once said that Harry ‘The Piano’ Harris was, “the best damn pianist in the civilised world”. I’m not a fan of Jonathan Ross, but so blown away was I by Harry Harris’ concert on Saturday 26th June in Churchill that I must grit my teeth and agree wholeheartedly with the overpaid BBC presenter.

If you weren’t there at St John the Baptist Church, Churchill, now is your cue to go green with envy because those who were witnessed a one-in-a-million talent that has had citizens and celebrities all over the world crowing about it. Another offering from Churchill Music!, improvisatory pianist Harry Harris held the audience spellbound as he mixed musical cocktails of Cole Porter and Chopin, Mozart and Mobile phones, and served up a sparkling treat of pianistic virtuosity in every conceivable musical genre. The trial of an 8ft screen fed by a two projectors enabling the whole church to have a bird's eye view was a huge success which Churchill Music! organisers have promised to repeat whenever possible.

Just to prove he wasn’t cheating, Harry took song suggestions from the audience and turned them into a 10 minute rhapsody of wit and delight. It’s not often you hear Cockles and Muscles in the style of Rachmaninov segueing neatly into Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ played as if it were a Mozart piano sonata, but then Harry Harris is no ordinary pianist. Not only is his talent something extraordinary, but his manner too – Harry seemed just as happy to play to a packed church in rural Somerset as he is to accompany the likes of Elvis Costello and David Bowie, appear solo at the Royal Albert Hall, share a stage with Andrew Bocelli on TV, and play headline gigs at the worlds major festivals.

Stephen Fry (who I like much better than Jonathan Ross) said of Harry, “His phenomenal talent, unobtrusive charm and wit are a delight.” I agree, and would like to extend the compliment to Churchill Music! whose hard work and inspiration makes it possible for us to enjoy world class talent in a country church in rural Somerset. All hail to the music makers.

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