So, with all the hype surrounding Proms in the Park 2015, we thought we would give you the chance to brush up on your knowledge. Here is a little bit of background information on the event itself, as well as a few interesting facts about the main acts set to perform…
Proms in the Park: a brief history
The Proms – an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts held predominantly in London’s Royal Albert Hall – was founded way back in 1895. Each season usually consists of over 70 concerts, but in 2009 it reached the 100 mark for the first time. Jiří Bělohlávek once referred to The Proms as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival.”
The Albert Hall could have been filled several times over; the demand to attend the Last Night was extremely high. As a result, new Director of the Proms, Nicholas Kenyon, instituted ‘Proms in the Park’ concerts in 1996 – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Initially, there was only one event (Hyde Park), but more locations have been added as the years go by, in places such as Glasgow, Swansea, County Down and Salford.
Every year there is a distinct air of patriotism, with around 45,000 Union Jack-clad prommers, all bubbling with excitement for the Last Night of the Proms. As well as picnic blankets, quiches and empty bottles of prosecco, there are always some top performances from a variety of acts. Past performers include Earth, Wind and Fire, Rufus Wainwright, Brian May, Katherine Jenkins, Westlife and Kylie Minogue – amongst many others.
This year’s line-up is guaranteed to lift people’s spirits to an all-time high, with The Jacksons performing some of their world-famous hits, such as ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘ABC’…
The internationally-recognised family group from Indiana has had three names in its lifetime: when they first formed in 1964, they were known as ‘The Jackson Brothers’. This all changed when Michael and Marlon joined the group and they became ‘The Jackson 5’. Today, they are known simply as ‘The Jacksons.’
Back in the 60s, their father pushed them to enter a variety of talent shows, and in 1967 they came onto the professional music scene before being signed by Motown in 1969. A year later, the fivesome made history as the first act to see its first four singles reach the number one top spot, with the songs ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘The Love You Save’ and ‘I’ll Be There’. By this point, Jacksonmania had officially begun.
After 17 top-40 hits, including ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ and ‘Dancing Machine’, all members, except Jermaine, left Motown in 1975 and signed with Epic Records. Randy took Jermaine’s place, and they went on to release five albums over the next five years, including the hit album Destiny in 1978. Their repertoire consisted of R&B, pop, soul and disco.
In 1983, Jermaine reunited with his brothers to perform on ‘Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever’ and released the album ‘Victory’ the year later. However, after Michael and Marlon left the band, the remaining four were dropped from their record label.
Fast-forward 17 years to 2001, and the band reformed to perform in Madison Square Garden to mark Michael’s 30th anniversary in the business as a solo artist. Following Michael’s untimely death in 2009, the four eldest brothers embarked on their Unity Tour in 2012.
After a few years’ break, it seems that The Jacksons are as excited about Proms in the Park 2015 as their audience will be. Speaking to BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce, they said: “When we get there we’re going to be singing all the greats, and we’re going to have a really big party. We always bring great weather over from California!”
Danielle de Niese
An Australian-American soprano, Danielle de Niese had success as a child in singing competitions before moving to the States from Australia to pursue her operatic career. She became well-known around ten years ago after her stunning performance as Cleopatra in ‘Giulio Cesare’.
Danielle has certainly had a varied career to date; from Baroque music to Broadway (Les Misérables), she’s done it all.
This Dutch pop/jazz singer debuted six years ago with her single ‘Back It Up’, and her debut album ‘Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor’ spent a staggering 30 weeks at number one in the Dutch charts. In 2013, her second album ‘The Shocking Miss Emerald’ reached number one in the UK charts.
Alison Balsom is an English trumpet soloist from Hertfordshire, and she’s been a professional classical trumpeter since 2001. With many awards under her 36-year-old belt – including ‘Female Artist of the Year’ at the 2009 and 2011 Classical BRIT Awards – she is no stranger to The Proms, having performed at the Last Night in 2009 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Russell Watson is an English tenor – known as the “People’s Tenor” – and came to our attention in 1999 after giving us goosebumps with his performance of ‘God Save the Queen’ at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. His debut album in 2001 was titled ‘The Voice’ and he has released several albums and singles since, from both the operatic and pop genres.
Russell has overcome serious health problems over the last decade, which he discusses in his honest and heartfelt book Finding My Voice.
Are you lucky enough to be attending Proms in the Park this year, or will you be watching it on the TV? Either way, which act are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments box below!