“Music in Quiet places came to Cusop Church on Saturday 30th June with a fabulous evening’s entertainment from exciting, renowned, electric and acoustic harpist, Jemima Phillips. Starting with traditional and wonderful acoustic harp pieces, the audience were amazed by the skills she demonstrated when she transformed her blue and gold harp into a harp rock machine. It was incredible and like nothing we had heard before. Jemima was able to explain how the harp worked by using 7 pedals as well as making it even more complicated by adding extra pedals to operate her electronic wizardry. She took questions and answers afterwards and then we were treated to canapes and wine. An excellent experience with great music and skill, enjoyed by over 60 people in the lovely venue of Cusop Church. ”   

A little bird sent in this review of the most recent, and final, concert in this season’s MiQP series. Church mouse was also part of the enthusiastic audience and can corroborate every word.

Multi-award-winning Jemima, was Royal Harpist HRH to the Prince of Wales in 2004-2007 and played at his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, at the reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen for the 2012 Olympic Bid, featuring in the first public concert recorded by Classic FM which was broadcast following the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day and premiering the Salvi ‘Royal’ harp at the Llangollen International Festival. She is a born entertainer and described learning to play the harp being akin to learning to drive a car with twenty-one gears (and seven pedals) – not for the faint-hearted. What helps to make Jemima’s performances so interesting is her ability to move so easily from the delicate, decorous rippling notes of traditional harp music which might remind us of Jane Austen and the Pump Rooms in Bath to the electric sounds of the rhythmically driven pop or film music produced by linking the harp to a box somewhat like a guitar special-effects box. Jemima also makes her own special effects by, for example, rubbing a pair of scissors or a violin bow against the strings.

Feedback from the concert has been enormously enthusiastic with many people who were not there having expressed their huge regret at having missed the performance.

Cusop Church itself  is originally early C12 and C13, (with C19th and C20th restoration work).  a simple, but beautifully carved C13th font. The churchyard contains ancient yews which were mentioned in the Doomsday Book and also the grave of William Seward, a follower of Wesley; he died a few days after being attacked by a hostile crowd in Hay on Wye where he had been preaching. There are several walks through glorious countryside which can be started from the church which also has connections with Francis Kilvert.

Harp at Cusop
Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust