Landmark concert planned for orchestra

Helen Harrison, conductor of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra.
Helen Harrison, conductor of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra.
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Going against tradition, Blackpool Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the start of its season in a Last Night Of The Proms concert.

The orchestra marks the start of its 95th season, with the concert on Sunday at St Paul’s Church in Marton.

Blackpool born and bred tenor Kevin Matthews will be the guest singer, for a programme combining Proms’ favourites Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory, and popular musical theatre with a medley from South Pacific.

Kevin, a tenor in demand across the country, regularly graces the stage with the Royal Opera Company at Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and other major opera companies across the country.

He said: “It is a real pleasure to be able to come and sing for a home crowd and work with Blackpool’s very own orchestra. We have chosen a great range of songs with something for everybody; from some of the most popular arias from the world of opera to songs by Mario Lanza to Love Changes Everything by Andrew Lloyd Webber.”

Helen Harrison, the orchestra’s music director and conductor, added: “Kevin has brought a wealth of experience and musical knowledge to the orchestra during our preparation and rehearsal period that he has gained through his work with some of the greatest conductors in the world; it has been a real pleasure and privilege working with Kevin over the past few months as we have worked on this concert together.”

Locally, Kevin has worked as accompanist for St Annes Operatic and Preston Musical Comedy societies, was vocal coach for Blackpool Operatic Players’ production of Sunset Boulevard and will be musical director for their production of The Producers next year.

The orchestra’s newly elected chairman Alex Roe said: “It is an exciting time to take on this role as the orchestra continues to raise the musical bar every concert under the leadership of our director Helen in harmony with the talent and hard work of the members of the orchestra.”

* Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, Last Night Of The Proms, St Paul’s Church, Honister Avenue, Marton, Sunday, 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6 from (01253) 692047 or on the door.