Monday, 10 August 2015

Happy Birthday BBC Proms - 120 today!

That wonderful British musical institution, the Proms, is well under way again at the Albert Hall.

Have you been to one yet? We usually make the pilgrimage to London at least once each season. Here's how close I managed to park last year:

Impressive, huh? Mind you, that wasn't as close as the first time I ever went to a Promenade Concert. That was way back in 1990 and I was dropped at the stage door - as a performer. Ok, I was but one member of a rather large choir but it was a terrific thrill - one I had the good fortune to repeat several times during my stint with the RLPC (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir).

Today - this very day - is the 120th anniversary of the first-ever promenade concert. Back then they were known as the 'Robert Newman Proms' which subsequently became the Henry Wood Proms and then the BBC Henry Wood Proms and now seem to have become known simply as the BBC Proms.

Well, they do pay for it. And sustain it with their many orchestras and choirs (some of whom we Liverpool singers shared a platform with, not always successfully... but that's another story).

I get a little irritated at our constant need to refer to great British occasions as the best in the world. You know, the way we always ask foreign players if they agree with the unspoken assumption that Wimbledon is 'special' and refer to Lord's as the home of cricket (I think Hambledon has an earlier claim to that title) and so on.

But if you'll forgive the trumpet-blowing for a moment, the Proms really is the best music festival on the planet. You can still get in (to 'promenade') for just a fiver.

Although the programme'll cost you a little more than the 80p I parted with way back in September 1990.
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