Dogwood Fine Arts Festival to bring fall events

DOWAGIAC — For the first year ever, the Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival is hosting two autumn arts events.

In an effort to keep the Dogwood name in the community year-round, the Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival is hosting the Harp Twins at 7:30 p.m. at the theater of the Dale A. Lyons Building on Southwestern Michigan College’s campus, 58900 Cherry Grove Road this Saturday, and a screening of the original 1925 silent film, “The Phantom of the Opera” at 7:30 p.m. on
Nov. 1.

“We have our Dogwood event in May,” said Sue Watson, the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival board secretary. “We don’t have anything else going on the rest of the year, so our name kind of disappears until May rolls around.”

The festival’s board decided to coincide the Harp Twins’ performance with Dowagiac’s Under the Harvest Moon Festival on Saturday.

Harpists Camille and Kennerly Kitt make up the Harp Twins, who have created a YouTube following by combining different genres of music with the use of electric harps and acoustic concert grand harps.

“They are really good,” Watson said. “Everybody says, ‘oh harps, that’s going to be all classical stuff.’ Oh no, they do everything.”

Watson said the duo plays rock music like Metallica, Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys. The pair also writes their own music for their harps.

Watson called the Harp Twins a “well-rounded work,” because they do include classical harp music, but also do arrangements of classic rock, metal and soundtrack hits.

“It’s just unbelievable what they do,” Watson said. “They do an awesome rendition of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin.”

Following their performance, the Harp Twins plan to host a meet and greet with audience members and to have merchandise for sale.

To celebrate the Halloween season, the festival’s board decided to host a screening of the original 1925 silent movie, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

The movie will be presented by the Silent Film Society of Chicago, with photoplay organist Jay Warren presenting the musical soundtrack.

Last May, the festival hosted a silent cinema event at the schools and received positive feedback.

“The kids loved it,” Watson said. “They’d never seen a silent movie, especially accompanied by the music. The kids were like, ‘whoa, that’s different.’”

Watson said she remembers watching silent movies on Sundays as a girl and thinking how different they were.

“When you actually see and have the guy there playing the music accompanied to the movie, it’s really neat,” Watson said.

Warren previously performed at the first silent cinema and mentioned to board members his presenting of Halloween silent cinema. He contacted the board with a range of silent film options, and they decided on “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Watson is excited for the community to be able to experience both events and encourages those who are attending Dowagiac’s Under the Harvest Moon Festival not to miss the Harp Twins’ performance.

“All I can say is if you think harps or harp music is just classical, the Harp Twins will change your mind,” Watson said.

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