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TWO of the country’s best guitarists — Tony Cox and James Grace — will be performing at this year’s The Witness Hilton Arts Festival, which takes place on the campus of Hilton College from September 21 to September 23.
Cox has travelled far and wide, and has shared the stage with the world’s greatest guitarists. He has garnered great critical acclaim wherever he has appeared in the past 30 years.
A multiple South African Music Award (Sama) winner, he is also a consummate performer and entertainer — and, between dropping jaws at his six-string prowess, he often has his audience in stitches from the stories he tells.
Catch his concert, Well and Truly Picked, in the Chapel at 8 pm on September 22. Tickets cost R90.
Classical guitarist, James Grace, will perform a variety of works from his five independently produced albums, including the Sama-nominated Café Latino and Sevilla — Music of Spain II, as well as a selection of works from his forthcoming album in his concert, I Love A Guitar, at 10 am on September 23, in the Art Block.
Winner of the Kanna Award for best male artist at the 2010 Absa KKNK, and the 2011 KykNET Fiesta Award, Grace is widely regarded as one of the hardest working musicians in South Africa.
This intimate solo programme will showcase some of his favourite works for the guitar. Tickets cost R80.
Also headed to the festival is former Tree63 frontman John Ellis, who will be presenting an intimate acoustic evening of songs from his new album Rural, recorded with Johnny Clegg’s drummer, Barry van Zyl.
His programme will also include songs from his Sama-nominated, debut solo album Come Out Fighting, and some of his well-known Tree63 hits.
You can catch Ellis in the Art Block at 8 pm on September 22. Tickets cost R100.
Talented local singer, songwriter and pianist, Ruby Gill, will play a selection of original music and popular covers in her Unplugged session in the Art Block at 11 am on September 22.
Gill recorded her first album at the age of 15, and has gone on to perform at a range of venues and festivals, including Southern Cross and Concert in the Park.
She is currently working on her next album. Tickets for her concert cost R50.
Another musical attraction at this year’s event is Soundscapes — a collaboration between the Hilton College Music Department and St Peters Preparatory Music Department, which will see soloists and ensembles from the two schools performing everything from popular classical and sacred choral works to dynamically vibrant contemporary acts and bluesy township jazz standards.
A new Cold Play mass item, which includes the school organ, will also be premiered at Soundscapes in the Chapel at 6 pm on September 21. Tickets cost R50.
In addition to the paid-for concerts, there is a host of free music in the SAB Festival marquee and at the Amphitheatre throughout the weekend. Among those performing are the legendary Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters and jazz stalwarts, the George Mari Band and Platform Jazz.
• For more details on The Witness Hilton Arts Festival log onto www.hiltonfestival.co.za Printed programmes are available from selected Spar and SuperSpar stores, Exclusive Books, Adams in Musgrave Centre, Bookworld at Cascades, the KZNSA Gallery in Durban, The Witness offices, and the Hilton College Theatre (weekdays office hours).
The SAB tent full programme is set out below:
• September 21
4.30 pm: Ricky MacGregor
6 pm: The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters
• September 22
9.30 am: Nicky Grieshaber
11 am: Offshore — Maritzburg College
12.30 pm: Pietermaritzburg Concert Band
2 pm: George Mari Band
4.30 pm: DHS Jazz Band
6 pm: The Bifocals
• September 23
10 am: KZN Youth Orchestra
12 non: KZN Youth Orchestra
1.30 pm: Platform Jazz
5 pm: Howick High School Jazz Band
The Amphitheatre full programme:
• September 23
11.15 am: St Nicholas School Marimbas
1.15 pm: St Nicholas School Marimbas
• September 24
11.15 am: Liquid Deck Marimba Band (Cowan House)
1.15 pm: Wykeham Collegiate Wind Ensemble
3.15 pm: KZN Youth Wind Band
Several performances at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival are already sold out. They include:
• September 21: 8 pm — ... miskien ;
• September 22: 10 am — Boesman and Lena;
12.30 pm — Paul Zerdin: Comic Ventriloquist;
1 pm — Sunday Morning;
3.30 pm — ... miskien;
5.30 pm — Horn of Sorrow ; and
6 pm — Rocking It Gently.
• September 23: 10 am — Boesman and Lena.
Other productions are selling fast, so get your bookings in now.