Splendid Last Night of the Proms

Jeremy Vine will compere the evening.

Jeremy Vine will compere the evening. - Credit: Archant

The overcast skies and promise of rain on Saturday night showed no signs of dampening the atmosphere and enthusiasm among the audience for Sidmouth Town Band’s Last Night of the Proms.

Crowds gathered early to set out picnic tables, hampers and bunting in anticipation of the annual celebration concert in the attractive surroundings of Connaught Gardens.

Compere for the evening, BBC Radio and televison personality Jeremy Vine was warmly received and set the tone from the start with energy, exuberance and a great sense of fun, peppering his commentary with amusing anecdotes and encouraging audience participation! The programme was a mix of classical and modern together with the traditional tunes expected of the occasion giving the band, under the leadership of musical director Adrian Harvey, the opportunity to showcase the skills that have taken them through to the National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain later this year.

The first half of the concert came to a close with The Old Rugged Cross, composed in 1866 and poignantly the year in which the town band was formed.

After the interval, the programme continued in time honoured tradition with The Dam Busters, Nimrod and Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs, followed by Jerusalem and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, giving ample opportunity for some community singing.

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Percussionist Jerome Blackburn, who has performed in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues with the National Youth Orchestra, delighted the crowd with his brilliant xylophone solos – his rendition of Helter Skelter was amazing.

Vocalists from Honiton Community Theatre Company, Sally Cregan, Alex Jackson, Charlie Craig and Amelia Hibbert, added to the ambience of the evening with James Bond themes, songs from the ever-popular Les Miserables, and the traditional patriotic arias, with Alex contributing to the fun in the finale with a true pantomime dame costume of red, white and blue for Rule Britannia!

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Trombonist Christopher Holland gave thanks to everyone who had helped make the concert come together and most particularly thanked the audiences for their continued support – a splendid Last Night!

Tricia Barclay

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