Saturday 23rd August saw Helston Town Band present their 12th annual ‘Lismore Proms’ in the beautiful grounds of band president Michael Jay’s Lismore Gardens, and what a special evening it was.
The band began their performance with popular march Ravenswood, followed by the well-known Light Cavalry overture. HTB then featured rising star Sean Sjoholm playing the beautiful soprano solo L’inverno. A very special celebrity appearance by the nephew of operatic superstar Luciano Pavarotti - Garcalotti Pavarotti (Kevin Johns) performed the famous Nessum Dorma to huge applause by the 600 plus audience.
Mother and daughter singers Karen and Bromley Hurn were the band’s guest soloists this year and they delighted the crowds with a varied and entertaining programme. Compere for the evening was the ever-professional Bruce Taylor.
Helston also featured other ‘special guest’ soloists in the form of Tim (Jack Curnow) Jones (apparently the nephew of Tom Jones) playing and singing the hit song It’s Not Unusual, complete with goatee, loud shirt and hip thrusts. A blast from the past also made an appearance at the Proms, Laurel and Hardy (Paul Jenkins and Shawn Carter) took to the stage with a rousing rendition of Another Fine Mess.
A special highlight of the evening featured members of a local Pipe and Drum band performing the stirring Highland Cathedral along with the band.
The second half of the concert saw the band, joined by members of Helston Concert Brass, march through the beautiful gardens playing the Flora Dance.
The 2014 Proms was the first appearance of both new Principal Cornet Jasmine Ryder-Pollard and Musical Director Darren Hendy, who took over the baton in May and has made such an impact on the band with his drive, enthusiasm and determination.
A very special and truly unique moment in Cornish and English brass banding took place at this year’s Proms. Band veteran Russell Harvey, who joined the band in 1944, was presented with certificates and medals by the Cornish Brass Band Association and Brass Bands England in recognition of a truly incredible 70 years as a member of Helston Town Band. To put this in perspective, the next highest certificate that the CBBA have ever awarded is 63 years continuous service.
The band itself also paid tribute to Russell, with former MD Edward Ashton speaking about his professional and personal relationship with Russell. The band presented Russell with a silver salver and former band member Debbie Retallack also made a welcome appearance presenting Russell with a framed picture of him leading the band during the 7 o’clock dance of this year’s Flora Day and a bottle of Spingo!
The band would like to sincerely congratulate Russell on this incredible achievement… next target – 70 Flora Days?
The evening concluded with traditional Proms Anthems – Jerusalem, Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Pomp and Circumstance, and the Cornish anthem Trelawney, giving the audience the opportunity to wave their flags and sing their hearts out! The atmosphere was fantastic, with ‘Rule Britannia’ being heard across the night air on the other side of Helston.
To put on a night such as this requires a huge amount of work from a large number of people, and the band would like to thank everyone who contributed in any shape or form.