Proms in the Park, Glasgow Green, 10th September 2016

My daughters have birthdays 3 days apart (well 4 years apart, but both within 3 days in July) and my brother has a wee tradition of arranging an outing for them as well as giving presents on the day.  Last year we all went to Edinburgh Zoo. This year he came up with the idea of attending the BBC Proms in the Park, a local event tied to the Last Night of the Proms held annually at the Royal Albert Hall.  My older daughter (aged 7) is a big music fan, in fact she’s a fan of anything involving a stage and performance, and the small one (aged 3) is slowly being indoctrinated introduced to different types of music and has been known to intersperse her nursery rhyme singing with lyrics from some of my favourite bands… Anyway, it sounded like a fun evening and a good way to expose the girls to different genres of live music.
Despite a surprising lack of information available anywhere online, we gathered that a certain amount of preparation would be required, namely camping chairs, blankets, snacks and waterproofs.  Fortunately, Saturday was the first day in about 2 weeks that hadn’t been completely miserable weather-wise so we wouldn’t need the rain ponchos that my parents had helpfully provided.  On arrival in town we found that other, clearly more seasoned Proms in the Park attendees were even more prepared that we were, as they lugged full-on picnic hampers, lanterns and head torches to Glasgow Green.
We scouted out a good position, set out our camping chairs just in time for the orchestra to begin tuning up.  The older girl wasn’t too impressed with this first piece until we explained what tuning up was.  There was a big screen to the left of the stage affording us close-ups of the performers.  The main performers were the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, with guest appearances from KT Tunstall, Collabro (never heard of ’em, apparently they won Britians Got Talent a few years ago) Karen Cargill (opera singer) and the stars of Gary: Tank Commander. Yeah…..
It was certainly an eclectic mix of music, from opera, orchestral pieces, orchestra-backed pop, musicals, a comedy-infused number from Frozen and traditional Scottish ceilidh dances.  It wouldn’t have been my ideal choice of programme, but the main point was to give the girls some experience of a range of live classical/traditional music.  The 7 year old spent all of yesterday composing her own songs and putting on performances, so I would say inspiration=achieved.  She also asked me to put on “that lady that sang and said ‘Come on Glasgow!’ at the concert” so we listened to a bit of KT Tunstall yesterday too.  Thankfully she didn’t ask for Collabro. I am not a fan of musicals.
The live hook-up with the rest of the UK (they link to the Albert Hall concert as well as similar Park events in London, Wales and Northern Ireland) was interesting but when they were encouraging us to sing along to the Scottish contribution to the UK-wide “Sea Songs” collection, then brought out the opera singer to lead us in The Skye Boat Song, there wasn’t a great deal of audience participation.  Everyone knows The Skye Boat Song, but not at that pitch. Around us anyway, there were more people singing along to Northern Ireland’s choir singing Danny Boy.
As usual with classical music, I recognised more on hearing that I did by name.  Looking at the programme I had no idea I was familiar with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture or Bizet’s Farandole but it turns out I am.  Our parents never took us to this kind of thing when we were little, but both my brother and I took up music at school and I played in a variety of wind bands and orchestras in my time, first trumpet, then percussion.  I have played more classical music that I have seen performed by others.  Stuart still plays trombone in a brass band.   I’m glad that both my girls have in interest in music and I plan on making the most of this while it last or before they succumb to peer pressure and develop an interest in boy bands or chart r’n’b.
It was a lovely evening, a good atmosphere and nice to just sit back, chill out and watch the sun setting on the Green.  The People’s Palace was lit up as well and it was one of those I Love Glasgow moments.
To our surprise, both girls stayed awake and interested to the very end.  There were fireworks at the end of the first half (I think for the benefit of the TV coverage which ended then) but we also got some at the finale, much to the girls’ delight.  All in all it was a good evening, and I look forward to taking the girls to more similar events in the future.

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