On Sunday night Derby welcomed the return of one of its favourite annual events, the Darley Park Concert. The concert is one of the biggest outdoor classical music events in the UK, attracting around 30,000 people each year to hear a showcase of classical music, ending with a spectacular firework display.
Most of the music was played by the wonderful Sinfonia Viva orchestra, with accompaniment from the voice of tenor, Oliver Johnston, and soprano, Rosalind Coad. There was also a performance from Belle Ayres, a female vocal group from Landau Forte College, and a rendition of Live and Let Die from Derby panto star, Ritchie Neville.
This year was themed on couples of every kind, in love, or out of it. The audience was treated to the refrains of Prokofiev’s Montagues & Capulets, Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s March of the Siamese Children, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Finale to Swan Lake and Offenbach’s Infernal Gallop (‘Can-Can’), to name just a few.
Though most of the audience wouldn’t generally call themselves a fan of classical music (including myself), the Darley Park Concert brings out a passion for overtures and concertos in all ages. There really is no single age group that dominates the event. It has become part of the cities social calendar, an excuse to descend on mass to the slopes of Darley Park, picnic in one hand, a folding chair over the shoulder. We know how to relax in style.