19 June 2012
The FSO was in party mood last Saturday as it celebrated its 90th anniversary with an exuberant Prom Concert. The Orchestra was joined by guest soloist, Rebecca Hodgetts, together with local choir, Hart Voices, and friends with links to earlier eras in the Orchestra's history (See Photos).
A drinks reception for Orchestra VIPs, Sponsors and Patrons got the evening off to a convivial start. FSO Chairman, Peter Birkett, thanked them all for their support of the Orchestra and summarised the ways in which their financial contributions had made a difference throughout the anniversary season. He went on to outline his vision for the Orchestra, particularly emphasising the importance of recruiting excellent players, performing exciting and varied works and using venues which allow audiences to appreciate the sights and sounds of live music. As supporters and committee members mingled, the reception ended with a toast to the FSO.
The concert itself began in light-hearted mood with Malcolm Arnold's Grand, Grand Overture; the work, which was written as a parody of concert overtures, is scored for 3 vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher, which were 'played' by old friends of the FSO. A series of arias by guest soprano, Rebecca Hodgetts, delighted the audience and a cello solo, with moving dance interpretation of Saint-Saens' The Swan by Elen Hunter, and a Borodin extravaganza brought the first half of the concert to a triumphant close.
After the interval, the Orchestra played Delius' overture, Over the Hills and Faraway (to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth) before being joined by Rebecca Hodgetts for some memorable 'in character' performances of favourites from the worlds of opera, operetta and musicals. The evening reached its climax with many 'Last Night of the Prom' classics in which the audience joined with flag waving fervour.
The evening was captured by the FSO's photographer, Andy Friend-Smith, and his pictures can be viewed by following this link.