In 2011 Catherine Underwood (Head of Music and Deputy Headteacher at Sponne School) and I were reviewing joint Sponne and Rotary projects and felt that it would be nice to give a wider audience the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful music that Sponne musicians perform, whilst raising some money for local charities and the school.
Sponne had been performing the Proms in school for some years, but using the school hall as a venue rather restricted the performance. What we had in mind was to try and create a great experience for a larger audience after the style of what the BBC do at the Albert Hall. So we agreed that Catherine would sort out all things to do with the musical performance and Rotary would organise everything else required.
After I had researched all the local venues and Catherine had checked the acoustic suitability, we decided to use the Brooklands Suite at Whittlebury Hall. This provided an upmarket venue with good ambiance and the facilities to make the event a real occasion. The concept being that the audience would dress up in patriotic style, with plenty of involvement, singing and flag waving.
In addition to the Sponne musicians and choir, we had the benefit of the adult players of Kidlington Concert Brass. So we ended up with a combined band of just fewer than one hundred artists.
Towcester Rotary club sold tickets both on line, through local contacts and advertising. Parents were able to buy tickets on line from the school.
For the first event, in February 2012, we sold just under four hundred tickets. At our latest Proms in February 2016 we sold over 400 tickets.
The music and singing is always absolutely fantastic and being so close to the sound brings goose pimples to your back and the audience really enter into the spirit of the evening with gusto and enthusiasm. Every year there is a slightly different theme to the music that is played as well as of course all the old favourites that make it an event not to be missed. If you haven’t joined us for our Local Last Night of the Proms yet – then make a date for 2017!