Last Night of the Proms
No excuses for being proud to be British
Last night Darlington Civic hosted the Last Night of The Proms, a celebration of British composers, traditional classical music with addition of a few interesting renditions of Abba, showtunes and movie themes.
Most people will have seen the world famous LNOTP from the Albert Hall and this, albeit on a smaller scale, managed to capture all the pomp & ceremony. Ageless favourites including Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and the Selection of Sea Shanties were enthusiastically and energetically performed by the British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra while the audience lapped up every possible opportunity to wave their Union Jacks, clap and of course sing. It was quite obvious that there is an expected degree of knowledge and etiquette when attending a 'Last Night' performance; the conductor (who for this show was the wonderfully energetic 'Lord' Anthony Kraus) will play to the crowd, trying to keep them in time and at pace, the leading soloists will deliver their finale bedecked in Red, White & Blue and the audience will bring kazoos, whistles, bells and rattles to ensure their audio cues are hit with as much noise as possible. To this end, there is, for the uninitiated the need for a compare just to guide us along.
For this evening we had Gary Wilmot as the master of ceremonies who immediately gave the proceedings a wonderful air of fun, humour and cabaret; it is such a shame that we don't see Gary on TV these days, there are none better at combining genuine humour, impeccable timing with a great singing voice - I had almost forgotten just how easy he makes things seem while clearly enjoying himself on stage. When you watch the usual TV drivel we are served up labelled as family entertainment there must be a vehicle somewhere to get Mr Wilmot back on our screens. Throughout the evening Gary interjected with telling facts, trivia and of course jokes (some new, most old but all were funny) all focussed on the theme of anniversaries. He also helped to keep the lead singers, the delightful Anna Clare Monk and the mischievous Andrew Forbes, in line as both were tempted to throw away the running order and just join in with the audience.
You don't have to be a classical music buff to appreciate Last Night, nor do you have to be worldly wise in regards to traditional patriotism; all you need is to be able to enjoy a great evening of music, laughter and a sense of pride at being British.