Looking Back on Proms at St Jude’s 2015
CategoryNorth London Hospice
Every day at this year’s Proms had its own highlight. The opening night’s Carmen was a fantastic hit and The Nevill Holt Orchestra, directed by Nicholas Chalmers, excelled themselves with a captivating performance. On the following day, a full house heard former cabinet minister Alan Johnson at LitFest in conversation about his memoir, Please Mr Postman. Johnson’s humanity was evident throughout, and he was warmly welcomed by the spirited audience. Eric Willis led a ‘behind the scenes’ guided walk around Golders Green Crematorium on day Three, highlighting the beautiful gardens and historic buildings of this world-renowned local landmark. Day Four produced an enchanting harp recital by Clara Garde and Zita Silva. Harp recitals look set to become a tradition at the Proms, and provide a contract to both orchestral and vocal performances. The virtuoso violinist Charlie Siem appeared with pianist Walter Delahunt on Wednesday, half-way through the Festival. This was a return engagement for Siem and it was great to see his fan club, the band of so-called Charlie’s Angels, alongside Proms regulars to hear the lively gypsy and folk set. Youth really came to the fore on Thursday when Oliver Zeffman directed the talented Melos Sinfonia. A particular high point was Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos featuring Antoine Françoise and Robin Green. Their playful rendition of parts of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals led to rousing applause. Friday’s concert brought a little magic as Cardinall’s Musick performed a 16th and 17th programme, with stirring vocal performances wafting up into the beautifully lit nave. On the penultimate day, the BBC Elstree Concert Band demonstrated how to get children enthused with live music as they performed a range of film themes and musical numbers, at times giving the younger members of the audience a chance to play along with the band. Not to be outdone, conductor Howard Williams pulled off the same stunt on the Last Night, turning from the London International Orchestra to direct the audience singing along to Rule Britannia. As a surprise on the Last Night, the audience was also treated to Proms Committee veteran David Littaur taking up the baton to conduct the orchestra in honour of his 90th birthday. It was a fitting way to end the Proms’ 23rd season, one which has raised about £60,000 for Toynbee Hall and the North London Hospice. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible.