Cushions, Craig Revel-Horwood and Disney - it’s the Snape Proms!
PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 July 2018
The Blues Band, Georgie Fame, Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and more… It’s got the lot
If June means the Aldeburgh Festival (a classical music showpiece “so broadly rich in interest that it ranks among the finest in the world”, reckons The New York Times) August belongs to Snape Proms: 30 dazzling days that offer something for everyone.
Eclectic? Oh yes. From the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain with its musical tour from the mountain to the sea, via The Blues Band and The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, to “Come and Sing Disney” – when we’re invited to exercise our tonsils to tunes from family favourites such as The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen. Who can resist?
Speaking of beauty, the beauty of the proms is its air of informality. Seats at the front of Snape Maltings Concert Hall are taken away to make the proms area, where people sit on the floor (usually on a cushion). For each event, more than 100 prom tickets are sold at £6.50. (If you lean towards the more conventional, you can of course book a traditional seat further back.)
It kicks off on the evening of August 1 when the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain comes to Suffolk for a sold-out concert.
To add to the fun, the audience is invited to bring their own instruments for a mass performance of The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)!
Some of the concerts do sell out speedily (at the time of writing, the “sold out” signs have gone up for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Courtney Pine featuring Omar, The Blues Band, John Wilson Orchestra, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, Georgie Fame and BBC Big Band, Beethoven’s Fifth, Friday Night is Music Night) but, should you want to go along, all is not yet lost.
For, as organisers point out, “There’s always a chance to get tickets for sell-outs, as 20 Prom tickets go on sale at 10am on the morning of every concert at Snape Maltings Concert Hall’s box office.” Note, though, that these can be bought only in person from the box office and are limited to one per person.
Snape also says: “While some concerts sell out quickly, we almost always have tickets returned. You can sign up for notifications via WhatsApp to find out when sold-out concerts become available.”
Here’s a quick run-through:
August 2: National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Includes Ravel and Debussy.
August 3: Britten-Pears Orchestra & conductor Marin Alsop. Features music of Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns and Ravel
August 4: Piccadilly Dance Orchestra & Lance Ellington – Jazz Age classics from Crosby, Sinatra and Porter
August 5: Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf, with Britten-Pears Orchestra; and Suffolk Youth Orchestra – Spanish dances, an English idyll and a musical gallery tour
August 6: The Blues Band
August 7: Roberto Fonseca – The music of Cuba, with a modern sound
August 8: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Brecon Baroque)
August 9: Courtney Pine featuring Omar
August 10: Trio Isimsiz – Romantic chamber music (Haydn, Mendelssohn, Brahms)
August 11: Britten-Pears Orchestra & Marin Alsop – Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet
August 12: Apollo’s Fire – An Appalachian folk gathering
August 13: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim (includes Tchaikovsky and Scriabin)
August 14: John Wilson Orchestra and vocalist Kim Criswell – ‘Hollywood’s Leading Ladies in Concert’
August 15: Georgie Fame and BBC Big Band
August 16: Christian Blackshaw & Soloists from the Berliner Philharmoniker – Mozart and Schubert
August 17: Takács String Quartet (music of Mozart, Dvořák, Mendelssohn)
August 18: Beethoven’s Fifth (Aurora Orchestra) – No scores. No stands. Just music
August 19: Woman to Woman – Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven, Julia Fordham
August 21: Pianist Angela Hewitt plays Bach
August 22: Altan – ‘one of Celtic music’s great live bands’
August 23: American jazz singer Hailey Tuck
August 24: Miloš Karadaglić and Friends – Guitar music from Bach to the Beatles
August 25: Come and Sing Disney – family sing-along; and The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band
August 26: The Dime Notes – Blues-drenched 1920s New Orleans jazz
August 27: National Youth Choir of Great Britain (features music of Britten, Rachmaninov, Ravel)
August 28: Gretchen Peters – Nashville songwriter-poet
August 29: Friday Night is Music Night (even though it’s a Wednesday!) – Craig Revel-Horwood presents music from the worlds of stage and screen
August 30: Jon Boden and the Remnant Kings – ‘all-star folk collective’
August 31: Abdullah Ibrahim – South African jazz pianist
Here’s Snape Maltings’ Guide to Promming
n Bring a small cushion to sit on, or hire a legless proms chair for £3 (book in advance by calling the box office on 01728 687110)
n Don’t bring deck chairs, camping chairs, sofas, recliners, armchairs, beanbags, chaise longues, rocking-chairs, benches or anything else that could block the view of fellow prommers, or take up large amounts of floor space
n Do arrive early if you’re hoping to queue for one of the on-the-day £6.50 proms tickets (which go on sale from the Snape Maltings box office each day at 10am)
n Don’t worry about dress code – there isn’t one!