Preparing For Proms In The Park
Quiet how they pulled this one off is amazing. The countries top Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing at a Northamptonshire Village park?
NOT since the BBC's Vicar of Dibley secured Kylie Minogue to open a village fete has there been such a coup for a parish council.
Fictional worlds aside, Northampton's eight-member Wootton and East Hunsbury Parish Council has landed a big name to play at its forthcoming community arts festival.
And this big name is no less than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).
As well as having lined up a string of future concerts at London's famous Royal Albert Hall, RPO managers have also agreed to play at the Wootton Village park in Curtlee Hill Road, Northampton, on July 6.
The orchestra, which holds a regular regional residency at the town's Royal and Derngate Theatre, will be kickstarting the community's Walk in the Park Festival which runs on both Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7.
Event organiser and parish councillor Kevin O'Keefe said one challenge has been to convince the public that the RPO is actually going to play in Wootton
He said: "One reaction has been disbelief.
Some people still think it is an RPO tribute band, as on July 7 we have got a British rock tribute bands such as Pink Floyd.
"But this is the real, full RPO."
Assistant parish clerk Kate Houlihan said: "I thought it was fantastic.
An awful lot of planning and work has gone into this.
More people actually believe the RPO is coming now – they took some convincing to start with."
Councillor O'Keefe, who works as a police constable, said the idea of asking the RPO to perform stemmed from the fact that last year the equipment for the Saturday festival had been up and ready on Friday night.
So this led to the idea of a Friday evening concert.
He commented: "We have got all of that equipment in place on Friday evening so we might as well use it. Then I thought, what will we put on? We have all sorts of dance going on, rock bands and singers but we wanted something on the Friday which would be different so we went down the line of it being classical.
The Last Night of the Proms is always a pretty popular event and people from all around the world attend.
"So we set about finding an orchestra and I thought, why not start at the top, go for the best and keep trying?"
To the organisers' joy, the RPO agreed to headline the festival.
With lots of Grand Prix fans staying in the county that weekend this concert is being promoted as a fitting prelude to Silverstone's Grand Prix weekend, although you don't need to be going to the Grand Prix to love this concert.
Tickets are £25 each for the event and can be obtained online from www.seetickets.com or by telephone from the box office on 0870 264 3333, or by calling in person from the Parish Council Office.
View detailed information on the event including details on the programme which includes Williams, Strauss, Puccini, Bizet and Tchaikovsy.