A recent week-end saw the ‘Last Night of the Proms.’ What am I talking about? Some of you may already know, many of you may not. It is the final of a series of more than fifty orchestral concerts, mostly in the Albert Hall in London. The series culminates in the ‘Last Night of the Proms’, on a Saturday evening.
It is organised by the BBC, and is very successful. Every concert was completely booked out. I watched many of them on TV. The music is classical and very varied, including jazz, as are the orchestras. Saturday evening was the final evening for this year. As usual, all the seats were taken, and the large, central floor area was completely full of people, standing. The concert became more like a party. These people bob up and down, bending their knees, in time with the music. They wave flags, some wear funny clothes, others sound horns and make other sounds. They take care not to be louder than the orchestra.
Everyone accepts this as part of the last night. Towards the end of the concert, the music changes to old, patriotic, British songs. Then the crowds start to join in, and sing their hearts out. Among the many British flags, there are some of other countries: Italian, German, Dutch, USA, Norway, Japan, etc. Simultaneously, there are concerts in parks in Northern Ireland, Glasgow, Wales and in London’s Hyde Park, which is situated next to the Albert Hall. Hyde Park was again full, with flags waving, people singing, etc.
The evening ends with the National Anthem; but immediately before that, comes ‘Rule Britannia.’ A song which brings out the loudest, wildest singing from everyone, including the otherwise most introverted Brits. These concerts are broadcast to many other counties of the world. The classical music was international. The orchestra conductor was an American woman. The main singer was an American woman. The very badly dressed – but superb – violinist was a Brit – Nigel Kennedy.
There was a choir of at least 3 hundred singers, and the fact that there were the flags of many nations, makes me sometimes ask myself, why there are wars, when such music brings so many nations to act together, as one.
culminates - comes to a close
sound - notice this word, as a verb, also as a noun!