hago concert reviews

We acknowledge the copyright in each of these reviews by quoting only extracts.

hago at Basingstoke

QMC Basingstoke

From Basingstoke Lions newsletter for September 2015

This was undoubtedly one of the most delightful evening’s entertainment I have ever experienced. And it was very clear from the audience reactions that they felt the same. Ten guitarists played for us on this occasion led, as ever, by their hilariously understated Director, Derek Hasted...
...The audience were completely captivated. While the orchestra played there was not a sound from them. I had a look around and the facial expressions were a mixture of rapt attention and silly grins, with the latter predominating. The whole programme was a marvellous mix of tunes from the last three centuries alternating the truly beautiful with real toe tappers. It was a super performance which didn’t hit a single bum note.
The members of the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra are lovely people. They have raised over £65000 for charity and they helped us to a net profit of £740 for our evening. They are looking for other guitarists to join them, so why not check them out on their website. You can also see and hear them performing on Youtube. Enjoy!

hago at Basingstoke

QMC Basingstoke

From Basingstoke Lions newsletter 2014

...Have you ever heard of a Guitar Orchestra? I hadn’t. It is brilliant. And the players clearly love what they are doing! No electrics, just beautiful mellow acoustic guitars on which they gave us an hour long medley of famous tunes – Penny Lane, Woman, Eternal Flame and many more. Derek Hasted leads and presents their show with a dry, wry sense of humour that had us in stitches, particularly when (having had a look at us) he invited us to use our dentures as castanets for the Dansa Cubana. Priceless! Check them out on their website.

hago at Dorset Guitar Society

DGS Kinson

From Dorset Guitar Society's newsletter

...The sound was very rich in tone, but also clear, so you could easily hear the individual parts, but with the melodic lines never being obscured, the dynamic range was also about as wide as it could have been...

...the pleasure of so much very good playing of well-arranged and varied music.

... a highly enjoyable and professionally turned-out ensemble...

hago at West Sussex Guitar Club

WSGC Bognor

From Good Vibrations, the WSGC newsletter

...We heard a whole spectrum of types of music, ranging from Dvorak to Status Quo, from 42nd Street to an exciting Cuban Dance and from the Beatles to Elizabethan music...

...it was a most appropriate way to end the season with such a light evening of music and humour which was greatly enjoyed by both the audience and performers alike. We all eagerly await their return.

hago at Waterlooville Music Festival

St George's Waterlooville

From The Portsmouth News

The mayor of Havant, Councillor Gerald Shimbart, has praised Monday evening's show which saw Hampshire clarinet and saxophone choirs perform with Hampshire Guitar Orchestra.
Cllr Shimbart said: 'In the first half the youngsters played with energy and expression producing a vigorous and varied programme.
'The virtuosity of the Hampshire guitar orchestra was amazing and the patter was hilarious.'

hago at St Peter's Titchfield

St Peter's Titchfield

From the Titchfield Bonfire Boys blog

"Derek's witty comments between the pieces had the 80 plus audience laughing in the aisles.
Organiser Mary Burner from the Bonfire Boys said, 'It was a brilliant, fun and entertaining evening, everyone I spoke to seemed to enjoy themselves' ."

hago at Petersfield Festival Hall

Petersfield Festival Hall

From the Hayling Island Forum

"They played a variety of music perfectly, beautifully, passionately and with such entertaining narration. I would have paid triple for a ticket."

hago at Hythe United Reform Church


From the Hythe Herald

...performed to a packed audience and played unbelievable music...

hago at West Sussex Guitar Club

WSGC Bognor

From Good Vibrations, the WSGC newsletter

...It was a fun evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed - especially our honoured guests the Mayor of ADC Ashvin Patel and the Mayor of BRTC Jen Gillibrand and her husband Rob...

...A wide range of music was covered - something for everyone, if not everything for everyone. We had baroque, light classical, a Sousa march, film themes, pop through the ages, and jazz. The arrangements were all extremely well orchestrated, some were absolute gems...

Mark Eden

Mark Eden

Mark gave us a Masterclass to celebrate our 10th birthday and wrote on his EdenStell website

If you ever want to hear (and see) or be reminded why ensemble playing gives some players such a kick, them you couldn't do much better than go to a HAGO concert. HAGO (Hampshire Guitar Orchestra) are a fun loving guitar ensemble who perform to raise money for worthy causes. Their repertoire is entertaining and performed with such commitment and energy that they create an amazing musical presence - and they're only 10 years old!

hago at Cornerstone, Hythe URC

Hythe URC

From the Hythe Herald

Hampshire Guitar Orchestra treated us to an evening of musical delights at the beautiful Cornerstone Church, Hythe. Playing to a near-capacity audience, they regaled us with a wide variety of pieces, from classical compositions, to pop, jazz and musicals, this talented 14-piece orchestra switching skilfully between vastly differing tempos with great ease
The orchestra demonstrated its supreme skill in the final "Palladio", an intricate piece played with awesome dexterity.

hago at Station Theatre Hayling


From their in-house magazine

hago, otherwise known as the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra, presented a fabulously entertaining evening to an audience of more than 100 on Sat 4th October. This musical feast, seasoned with a spice of cabaret, comedy and pantomime was thoroughly enjoyed by both the audience and guitarists alike. The guitarists were skilfully led by Musical Director Derek Hasted, who is not only an excellent musician but also made me and everyone else laugh 'til I almost cried. In the words of our very own Vince Bailey, it was "a spiffing evening" ...

hago at URC Hayling

URC Hayling

Article for their Church Magazine

An evening of guitar music presented by HAGO, the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra, was a sell-out event with the church filled to capacity and proved an immensely entertaining experience.

Some 14 talented musicians led by their Musical Director (and Comic-in-Chief), Derek Hasted, played a variety of guitars from the small high-pitched alto to the grand deep bass instrument. They produced a vibrant and versatile programme of more than 20 pieces covering a wide spectrum of styles and tunes, many, to the uninitiated, not usually associated with classical guitars. Even Dick Barton put in a musical appearance.

All of this was accompanied by a string of jokes and asides, exhortation to audience participation (though nobody was brave enough to dance the hornpipe), and even at one point transmutation from Musical Director to long-haired rock star.

Other than the fascinating array of guitars, the only extra instrument used comprised two short lengths of wooden broom handle, carefully bonked together on appropriate beats. Maybe with a couple of years of tuition I might get the hang of that one!

This event, attended by over 150 people, including 7 young budding guitarists, was held in aid of the current building fund endeavours and grateful thanks is due to Hago and the appreciative audience for their valuable support.

WSGC, Amanda Cook and hago

St Paul's Chichester

From West Sussex Guitar Club's Club Magazine, "Good Vibrations"...

... we were treated to a supremely polished performance by hago. Derek Hasted does a wonderful job arranging a whole spectrum of music for the orchestra. Having four sizes of guitar ... gives a much greater range to their music. I would be hard pushed to pick out a favourite because they were all gems ... In addition to being a brilliant player and arranger, Derek is also a wonderful compère. If you have never seen hago before visit their website to find their forthcoming events. You will not be disappointed.

hago and Bruce Paine

CG Magazine

From Classical Guitar Magazine ...

... I was to witness a fine solo performance for the first half, followed by a riotously good piece of ensemble playing from the Hampshire Area Guitar Orchestra ...

Derek Hasted is a bit of a dynamo; you can feel his energy and sense of humour (jokes not totally unlike the late proprietor of that famous jazz club in Frith Street, Ronnie Scott) ripple through his band of guitarists and out to the audience ... Their repertoire is huge and tonight they had tongues firmly in cheek with numbers by Leroy Anderson, Charles Williams's Devil's Galop+ (the perfect chase theme a la Keystone Cops) and Sousa's Liberty Bell. Sting's Fields of Gold ... was given extra melodic poignancy with 16-year-old Louise Harbert's flute playing ...

They are an inspirational group raising thousands of pounds for charity with their performances ... I applaud Derek Hasted for bringing great music played on the guitar to a wider audience far beyond classical guitar's often specialist-with-a-capital-S followers ...

From West Sussex Guitar Club's Club Magazine, "Good Vibrations"...

On 7 July I was fortunate to be present at a concert that encompassed all that music making should be about ...

Bruce commenced the proceedings with a varied and challenging programme... His rendition of Stepan Rak's Remembering Prague was truly memorable ...

hago prove that serious music making is not only entertaining but can be great fun. Their repertoire is not only popular and accessible but is performed with great professionalism by an obviously well-rehearsed and highly competent orchestra ....

  • photos and a video clip from the Concert in our Scrapbook

Birdman of Bognor

Bognor pier

From West Sussex Guitar Club's Club Magazine, "Good Vibrations"

"The hago orchestra regaled us with 2 hours of varied music covering the whole spectrum of the guitar ranging from classical, Spanish, jazz, rock, pop and South American - all very popular pieces and expertly played by the well-honed Orchestra. Well done Derek who leads, arranges and (also) plays the pieces ... I do hope that the concert will be repeated next year ... giving the general public greater exposure to our most favourite of instruments - the guitar"

Petersfield Concert in aid of Cecily's Fund

Love Lane Petersfield

From the website of St. Mary Magdalen, Sheet.

"The aim of the DIY concert was for us all to have a bit of fun and to raise money for the fund - over £1,000 was raised as a result of this evening!

As a reward for our efforts we were able to see our special guests hago, the Hampshire Area Guitar Orchestra, who provided the perfect finale to the evening.

hago surprised many of us, not knowing what to expect of a guitar orchestra! Fortunately they had clearly come to entertain us, with a large variety of music and even some jokes...

Recognising the Dr. Who theme tune was not difficult, but Ambrose Barber had to do his duty as Church Warden in identifying the theme tune to Dick Barton, which seemed to involve a race among the orchestra as to who could finish this breathtaking piece first!

(They did however all finish at the same time - which is, I suppose, what they are meant to do after all)"

hago at St Thomas

St Thomas Church Bedhampton

From the St Thomas Church Magazine

Perhaps it was the fascination of an unusual orchestra or just a different evening out, but whatever it was, an audience filled the pews of St Thomas Church on Saturday 6th March to hear music performed by hago; they were not disappointed.

With a variety of music from Michael Praetorius of the 16th Century to music of Elton John from The Lion King, and with dance music from around the world, the guitar orchestra delighted the listeners with their music skilfully arranged by their director Derek Hasted.

There was an opportunity to look more closely at the different size instruments during the interval when refreshments were served.

Proceeds of £275 went towards the Youth Leader Fund.

hago at PMF

Portsmouth Music Festival opening concert

From The News

Big Band fanfare gets Portsmouth Music Festival off to a cracking start

... review of other Concert items ...

"Havant Area Guitar Orchestra under Derek Hasted displayed extremes in four pieces ranging from medieval to modern, including one of his own compositions.
Their rendition of 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?' was particularly beautiful"

... review of other Concert items ...

hago at WSGC

hago visited our friends at West Sussex Guitar Club for a Guitar Recital and Workshop.

In the Recital we presented a dozen orchestra pieces. In the Workshop we teamed up with WSGC's own ensemble for a workshop centred around La Bamba, with a mix of orchestra guitars and conventional guitars.

West Sussex Guitar Club

From their Club Magazine

"On March 22nd our Club Evening featured a visit by the Havant Area Guitar Orchestra or 'hago' for short.

This twelve piece ensemble, under the leadership of their director, Derek Hasted, took the Club by storm, playing music from three centuries in an immaculate performance that showed just how entertaining the guitar can be en masse, when played with precision, colour and careful attention to dynamics. The inclusion of alto, bass and contrabass guitars added greatly to the depth and range of sound they produced, but the credit must go to the players, who not only performed with great professionalism, but also with evident enjoyment.

After supper, WSGC members joined with hago and had a taste of life under Derek's baton, working on his arrangement of La Bamba which was both demanding and great fun. I think we were all surprised to see how much we could achieve in 45 minutes.

All in all, the evening was hugely enjoyable, and a wonderful opportunity to make friends with one of our closest neighbours.

Our thanks go to hago and to Derek for their friendship, hard work and good humour - do come again soon!"

Richard Prior, Chairman WSGC

Comments include...

"one of the most delightful evening's entertainment"

"Stunning sound"

"Great concert - loved the music"

"What a fantastic evening"

"Saw them in concert in Basingstoke earlier this year and they are brilliant"

"A brilliant evening"

"A truly enjoyable evening"

"An amazing musical presence"

"Hugely enjoyable"

"Fabulously entertaining..."

"Outstanding playing"


"Supremely polished..."

"Awesome dexterity"

"Riotously good..."

"Highly competent..."

"Splendid evening"

"Expertly played..."

"Absolutely brilliant"