A HARE playing a harp depicted on a 12th-century stone carving has inspired a new piece of music being premiered in Powerstock on Sunday.

And the carving, which usually now resides in Dorset County Museum, is being loaned out to go ‘home’ to Powerstock to take pride of place at the concert.

The Hare and The Harp is the work of Bridport musician Sammy Hurden and features musicians, singers – and the peal of six bells from St Mary’s Church, where the concert is being held.

Sammy explained: “When you’re in the church you can see the bell ropes very clearly and we thought it would be great to incorporate the bells. I recorded each one separately, put them on my computer and worked with them to write the piece – I’m using them to tell the story.”

Sammy first heard about the harp-playing hare while she was living in Wytherstone, near Powerstock, where the carving was found.

While the carving’s exact origins and meaning are unknown, Sammy became fascinated with hare mythology the more she delved into it, and this is reflected in her lyrics.

“There was a hill behind my house when I lived there and my image is of the harp on the hill and the hare running up to play it. The hare plays the harp in the moonlight and sends out wishes for growth and abundance. In Celtic times the hare was connected with the goddess Eostre and would lay a white egg and was a sign of abundance and fertility – that’s where the Easter bunny came from,” she said.

The Hare and the Harp has been sponsored by clothing retailer Johnnie Boden, whose country home is at Wytherstone. “It’s very generous of him. It’s something we can leave behind, I can see this piece being used by the school in the future,” said Sammy.

“And hopefully it will inspire more people to come and learn the art of bell-ringing – the church is already recruiting new ringers.”

Sunday’s concert is a collaboration between Artsreach and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra which will also feature Sammy’s work from the Jurassic Journey project along with songs inspired by other Dorset places.

The Freedance Choir, led by Sammy, will be accompanied by the BSO’s Resonate strings who will also be performing well-loved pieces.

The all-important harp will be provided by Jane Saunders, who lives nearby and plays the Celtic harp. Trumpeter Jim Dvorak and percussionist Ben Stephens, who also lives near Powerstock, complete the line-up.

Tickets for Sunday’s concert cost £8. Contact Lindsay Ingram on 01308 485264.