Author Archives: Katharine Allenby

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Learn to Play Day: 16th March 2013

On Saturday 16th March it’s Learn to Play Day, and lots of music shops around the country are offering free taster music lessons to people of any age. A whole range of instruments are available to try, and some famous musicians will be out there offering their advice and encouragement. This is a brilliant opportunity to find out if you should really be learning the trombone, or what it feels like to get behind a drum kit.

The Learn to Play website lists which shops are participating in this scheme and what’s going on in your area, or have a look here for events at your local Music Room store.

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Singing at the Last Night of the Proms

One of the huge privileges of being part of the BBC Symphony Chorus is taking part in the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. We are the amateur choir attached to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and our ranks are made up of people from all walks of life, such as teachers, lawyers, students, doctors, HR people, photographers, care workers, tax specialists, psychologists, fund raisers, arts administrators, mums, and even a couple of publishers. In some ways we are a disparate group, but we are united by our love of singing, taking on challenging music, and performing it to the highest standard.

For us, the Last Night of the Proms is a bit like an end-of-term party, after the hard work of the whole Proms season. It is certainly different from many of the concerts we do with unusual repertoire and smaller audiences. We usually perform in five or six concerts over the eight-week Proms season, but often start rehearsals for them in the January or February previously, in order to have enough time to prepare the demanding works we are asked to sing by the orchestra. For the Last Night we cast aside our usual black concert wear and bring out the party dresses and the bling, and this year a Sikh member of the tenors treated us to a red, white and blue turban.
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