Last Night of the Proms!

~posted by Carmel O’Donovan, KMFA part-time announcer

I love living in Austin. Each and every day I am blown away by the beauty of and accessibility to the countryside. I so enjoy getting to know the people here: such an eclectic mix and so entertaining.

All is good, but I have to confess every now and then I do get a little homesick for the UK. You know, all those typically English things, like a really good cup of tea (aka “a cuppa”), home-baked scones with cream and jam, or a really good cucumber sandwich (no crusts of course!).

And so it is that I am very excited that a little bit of British tradition is headed our way. Even more music and fun will be upon us in under two weeks. The Last Night of the Proms of course! For those unfamiliar with this institution, the Proms are a series of classical music concerts held over an 8-week period every summer, mainly in the The Royal Albert Hall in Hyde Park, right in the heart of London. They are called the Proms because people used to walk about (promenade) during the concerts. That is now limited to those people lucky enough to buy the cheaper tickets for the area at the front of the very grand auditorium, so they are “up close and personal” with the orchestra and can really get in the mood – they are the “prommers.”

Now, the Last Night of the Proms is to my mind the icing on the cake, as it is so far beyond your typical (dare I say it?) rather stuffy classical event. Oh my! The Prommers really get in the mood. They wear outrageous clothing, always in red white and blue, and they paint their hair, their faces – anything goes. The whole auditorium will be a sea of Union Jacks, and the crest of pride and patriotism can be simply overwhelming. Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory never sounds so fine as at the Last Night of the Proms with thousands singing along! Rule Britannia, as well as Jerusalem – all of the great melodies literally almost lift the domed roof off the Albert Hall and across into Hyde Park. It breaks my heart to tell you that although I lived in London for over thirty years, I was only able to attend the Proms once, and never to the rowdy Last Night. Oh well – I will be tuning in on Saturday, September 11th, to our own wonderful KMFA – I will have a box of tissues to hand, but am not sure whether to go for the cup of tea or something a little stronger to steady my nerves!

I hope you listen too and enjoy what you hear. Let me know, won’t you? Cheerio for now!

Carmel O’Donovan is a part-time announcer on KMFA 89.5; you can read more about Carmel and all our Music Hosts on our website.

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