Last Night of the Proms – Plymouth Guildhall
It was such a delight to be met with a full house, buzzing with excitement at Plymouth Guildhall, as we arrived for the “Last Night of the Proms”.
Over a hundred excited and smart local singers and instrumentalists of all ages and abilities from the South West Philharmonia and Chorus, were packed tightly onto the stage with centimetres to spare.
The audience was a lively and varied mix of couples and families from all walks of life. Immediately you could see that this event had been successfully marketed as a broadly accessible and inclusive evening.
To open the concert, the Chorus lifted the roof of the Guildhall with a confident and well-rehearsed rendition of Zadok the Priest from Handel’s Messiah. The power and excitement of the very first sung chord assured us of a strong performance of this familiar piece.
The evening progressed smoothly with a well-balanced variety of British music, arrangements of familiar movie themes from James Cameron, John Williams, Leonard Bernstein and wartime songs made famous by Dame Vera Lyn. Cornish soprano Anne Sutcliffe gave a clear and tuneful performance in her first outing in a lead role; we hope to see her perform again in the future.
The programme wasn’t over reliant on familiar classics though; Plymouth was host to a UK Premiere of American composer Dan Forrest’s new choral setting of “How Great Thou Art”, an uplifting and beautifully performed modern arrangement which the listening audience rewarded with exceptional applause.
The second half (with full costume change) brought all the fun and singing of the traditional Proms experience. Hooters honking in the variety of traditional sea songs, kazooing in unison throughout the Dambusters Theme, and rousing communal singing and flag-waving in the traditional Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, and Pomp and Circumstance March.
Musical Director Marcus Alleyne owned the stage with his vivacious style, and he communicated his fun and warmth to the audience with wit and energy.
The evening was stitched together by the BBC’s David Fitzgerald, a seasoned hand at presenting local events in the area, who hosted with good humour, and relatable Plymothian anecdotes.
This was an ideal opportunity to introduce orchestral and choral music to young people – many of whom enjoyed the communal frolics in the second half. I wonder if next time, we can venture outside on a summer’s evening, and bring this wonderful atmosphere and family-friendly traditional celebration to the Hoe?
Drivetime Presenter & Station Support
The SWPC are thrilled to announce the appointment of Kristy Marcer-Griffiths who will be joining the management team as Assistant Director of Music.
Kristy has been a professional musician, academic and educator for several years and we are very much looking forward to working with her. More to come on Kristy very soon...
The Southwest Philharmonia and Chorus have returned to a brand new concert season with some exciting new pieces of music and of course preparations for this year’s UK premier, which we will be revealing very soon.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of the new management team who will be assisting in the day to day running of the choir and orchestra. Graham Shaw will be dealing with the accounts and finances, Shaun Griffin will be Concert and Events Manager and we welcome Sharon Lee Beatie as SWPC Administrator.
Earlier this month we hosted our orchestral and choral open days, which attracted several new members. We are still welcoming new members as we work towards our 2017 season, which is to include workshops for both choir and orchestra. We are offering a gospel workshop lead by West End actor and WGC Artistic Director Nathaniel Morrison, followed by an attempt to deliver Mozart’s Requiem in a day.
In late March we are very excited to be extending an invitation to our first social event. SWPC will be organising and hosting a Car Treasure Hunt on Saturday 25th March. This is a great opportunity for a fun packed day suitable for all the family, click here for more information.
What a fantastic new beginning for the SWPC!
On Saturday 10th December the choir and orchestra filled Plymouth's Cathedral as they delivered a spectacular programme of music alongside two UK premiers. Director of music Marcus Alleyne is fast becoming one of the City's most prominent conductors. Managing to draw the best from musicians and singers alike the choir and orchestra are forging a place on the heavily loaded musical map of Cornwall and Devon. We are very much looking forward to a healthy, happy and busy 2017 with some very exciting news coming your way.
We are thrilled to have been able to donate over £600.00 to the very worthy Shekinah Mission and will continue to support them as our selected charity for 2017.
SWPC Management Team
So here we are having almost completed phase one of our new beginning initiative, with a few new additions, including the website and official email address. Keep an eye out for more exciting news comming very soon.