A-promming we shall go. Sorry, excuse me, what did you say? Promming… What’s ‘promming’?
Allow me to
explain. Every summer at the Royal Albert Hall in London, from July to
early September there are nightly orchestral, classical concerts, with
leading orchestras, conductors and soloists from around the world.
They are affectionally known as The Proms, formally known as The BBC
Proms or originally known as The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, named
after the conductor of the first concert, Sir Henry Wood in 1895. Proms
concert-goers, particularly those who stand, are known as
“Promenaders”, but again are affectionally referred to as
“Prommers”, hence a-promming we shall go!
Tomorrow I’ll post about the Prom itself but for now I’ll focus on the outfit. Last night I took my printed blue tile joggers out for the musical spin to the 11th
Prom (a semi staged performance of Fiddler on the Roof). World-reknowned Welsh bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel was playing Tevye, a
role made famous by Topol, in the film version.
I bought the trousers only a few weeks ago. I was looking for a light trouser in a non-floral print as a break from all the florals and these seemed to fit the bill. I’m still a little undecided about them though. I call them my pyjama pants as they have a draw-string waist and really do feel as soft and light-weight as pyjamas! I knew they’d be ideal to wear as
a) inside the hall where the Arena Prommers stand, the temperature can resemble a sauna!
b) everyone sits during the interval to rest their legs. Unless you’re happy to flash your underwear, skirts aren’t a great option.
c) these are loose enough there’s no fear of seams suddenly ripping when sitting cross-legged!
d) if you want to go glam, you’ll look out of place as a Prommer.
I rather liked standing in front of the maroon doors at the station, before we boarded the train into town.
I’ve done some inadvertent pattern mixing here with my spotty bag! This is my workhorse bag. I use it practically everyday as it’s like the bag Mary Poppins had. Admittedly, I’m not carrying a hat stand in it as she did, but there’s an umbrella (this is a British summer!), water bottle and chocolate eclairs inside.
Yes, you did read that correctly. There was a pack of eclairs inside. With the concert starting at 7pm and having to queue early for ‘on the day Prom tickets’, it required us to port a ‘queue pic-nic’. Luckily it was cool enough that the eclairs survived the journey, cocooned in my bag.
Promming cultivates the art of patiently
waiting. And popular Prom concerts, even more so. A steward told us that some prommers had
started queuing that morning! We rocked up at about 5.30pm, so only had
an hour and a half of waiting. The perfect opportunity for TallBrownFox
to kindly take some more snaps.
Oh the glamour of outdoor photoshoots. The napkins from our ‘queue pic-nic’ are poking up from my backpack!
But let’s focus on the matching necklace and bracelet I’m wearing; this year’s birthday present from TallBrownFox. As I love textures, I was drawn to the hammered, silver plated links. It’s a contemporary design that looks stunning with a little black dress but equally gives an edge to a casual outfit such as this, especially next to the denim shirt.
When promming, comfortable footwear is essential. I knew I’d be able to travel, queue, stand for 3 hours of the performance and travel back home in my Vans. Years ago, I had a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors but for some reason I never found them that comfortable, but recently I thought I’d give Vans a go. Not wanting to pay upwards of £40, I scoured e-bay and found this pair, new, with box for just over £16!
The ‘tibetan red’ tones well with the more pinky red of my t-shirt. By bringing in another colour, it breaks up the blue block of the trousers and the denim shirt, whilst still complimenting them.
And what of the performance itself? There is something quite magical being inside a circular auditorium with a concert orchestra playing and a chorus at full throttle. You become enveloped in glorious sound. Here’s Bryn leading the cast as they sing the rousing ‘Tradition’ at the finale.
Fiddler on the Roof is not a sentimental musical. Its story of age-old traditions being challenged and people being violently and cruelly dispossessed of their homes and land because of their culture and faith is very relevant to today.
The orchestration, the staging, the superlative singing of the chorus and leads, not least the barnstorming, central performance of Bryn’s Tevye, made an evening that was poignant, funny, human and thought-provoking. Bravo to Grange Park Opera, The BBC Concert Orchestra, Conductor David Charles Abell and Bryn Terfel.
Have you ever been to The Proms? And if so, have you ever prommed, either in the Arena or the Gallery?