The Proms (not the prom)

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When I was in high school, I went to the prom. It was awful.

When I was in Alton I went to the Proms. It was awesome.

Last Saturday night, after the JAS AGM, I went to a local version of a very English event called The Proms. Proms is short for promenade concerts. Apparently, the Proms comes from an eighteenth-century tradition: the English would walk around beautiful “pleasure gardens” listening to beautiful music. By the end of the nineteenth century, the promenade concerts were a thing. In our century, major cities, such as London, and smaller towns, such as Alton, put on their own version of the Proms every summer. BBC calls the Proms “The World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival.”

The theme of the particular Proms event I attended with my host Sarah, her friend Nancy, and my husband Adam, was Movie Night! That was a fun way to attend my first Proms! From Star Wars and Indiana Jones to Pirates of the Caribbean and Titanic, I heard a lot of great music. Some of my favorite pieces were British themed; the James Bond montage was great. The rendition of My Fair Lady‘s “I Could Have Danced All Night” was amazing–I sang along in my best operatic voice. The most fun I had consisted of listening to British songs such as Rule, Britannia! (also a poem I used to teach quite often), and in watching the English women, men, and children dance and sport their flags. See the pic:


People were picnicking, socializing, singing, dancing, and simply having a good time. Such patriotism was also appreciated. From full sized flags to crowds waving small flags on sticks, the public was certainly digging this event. I didn’t wave a flag, but I did sing along to Rule, Britannia! Sorry, America! 🙂

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