A fitting classical tribute to 50 years of history
It was a night like never before… as the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra performed on the eve of National Day in a tribute to the 1967 Referendum and all who voted to remain British 50 years ago. Make no mistake the 85 strong orchestra knew why they were here and they delivered as the thousands of people who attended the concert on the Saturday night will tell you.
This was Gibraltar’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’ with flags waving, feet stomping, hands clapping and voices cheering.
With almost a full moon, the calm night gave way to a flurry of musical colour and extravaganza. The programme exactly what you would have expected on any prom night at the Royal Albert Hall giving the appreciative and expectant audience a chance to join in with the musicians and singers. A performance of quality bringing together and capturing a night of Britishness.
Everyone joined in. In the front row sat the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo with Sir Alan Duncan Minister for Europe and the Americas in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Governor Lt Gen Edward Davis and the many guests.
Conductor Timothy Henty spoke of his pride in his grandfather having been in Gibraltar during WWII, the singers Laura Wright and Wynne Evans (with his own Welsh pride) were thrilled to join in the festivities of this historic event.
From John William’s Star Wars to the always rousing and pleasing Traviata’s ‘Brindisi to the beautiful renditions of O Mio Babbino Caro and The Impossible Dream.
There was something for everyone. And then in part two a chance to let go and enjoy all that the event meant with Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.
But there was more as the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band and Corps of Drums with Bandmaster WO1 Richard Burton delivered some familiar tunes too… and our own National Anthem which was well received with flags waving and voices singing. There would be more surprises and proud moments as The Gibraltar Choir Collective joined in the proceedings.
It was indeed an emotive night, in particular the special film showing rare archive footage of the period and our political leaders spanning the 50 years as they spoke about the significance of the vote in 1967.
This was a night which will always be remembered as our ‘own proms’.