Talented young singers from a top Derby musical theatre group will take to the stage for the first time at this year’s Darley Park concert on Sunday August 31 – bringing two high-energy pieces to life as part of the packed concert programme.
The chorus, made up of 16 young singers aged 14 to 21 from Big Adventures Youth Theatre Company will perform alongside ‘resident’ Darley Park orchestra Sinfonia Viva and baritone Grant Doyle.
They will form the chorus for the song ‘Skimbleshanks, The Railway Cat’ which has been arranged by Viva timpanist and percussionist Graham Hall – one of several that he has arranged for the concert.
One of the senior members of the group – Joe Perry – will also perform alongside Grant Doyle – taking the tenor part of Rusty in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Starlight Sequence’.
Both are among the highlights of the specially-themed programme marking Derby’s celebrations of 175 years of train manufacture and feature alongside a host of other classics from the concert hall, stage and cinema performed by Viva.
Before conductor James Holmes and the Orchestra take to the stage, the tens of thousands of people who traditionally enjoy the evening’s entertainment will be treated to a choral feast, courtesy of the celebrated Ladies’ choir from Rolls-Royce plc – Viva’s official sponsors for the event.
The 30-strong Ladies’ choir was formed in 1959 and their programme for Darley Park will range from ‘The Locomotion’ and ‘Rhythm of Life’ to ‘New York New York’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Then, in the interval it will be the turn of the long-established Rolls-Royce Male Voice Choir whose performance will include ‘Soldiers Chorus’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, ‘Orpheus in the Underground’ and a Gilbert and Sullivan Medley.
Rolls-Royce Male Voice Choir Chairman Noel Towler said: “We have been wanting to be part of the Darley Park concert for many years and I am delighted that we are making our debut this year.”
The Male Voice Choir was formed in 1941 to keep the factory workers’ spirits high during the Second World War. There are now 25 members who perform more than 18 concerts a year.
Big Adventures Theatre Company has been performing in city for 17 years and this will be their Youth Theatre’s debut performance at Darley Park.
Director Dave Culling explained: “We were honoured to have been invited to perform at the Darley Park concert which is one of the UK’s largest free outdoor classical music concerts and therefore a fantastic annual event to mark the end of summer.
“We have brought together a chorus of young people who are outstanding singers and will be rehearsing throughout August in preparation for the big event.”
Soloist Joe Perry, 21, from Kirk Langley has returned to the group for the concert – having been a long-standing member before going to university to study Modern Languages.
Although he has performed as a youngster throughout the UK – this will be the largest crowd, although Joe is not daunted by the prospect.
He said: “Having been at university for the past three years, I have not sung very much at all but am so pleased to be back with Big Adventures who are an incredibly talented group of young people.
“This is a great opportunity to perform alongside a professional orchestra and baritone soloist and I am very much looking forward to experiencing Darley Park from the stage this year.
“Both pieces are complicated but glorious to perform and the audience is in for a real treat.”
Viva conductor James Holmes’ station announcements from the stage will chart a musical course which includes excursions into British and foreign railway experiences.
Hans Christian Lumbye takes passengers to Denmark for a short hop between stations with the ‘Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop’. The programme then crosses the ocean to New York for George Bernstein’s ‘Subway Ride and Imaginary Coney Island’.
Steam mixes with more modern trains through the magnificent ‘Coronation Scot’ by Ellis and several tributes from Strauss including ‘Bahn Frei’ (an exhortation to ‘clear the track’) and ‘Mit Dampf’ which translates to ‘at full steam’.
Vocal numbers performed by award-winning baritone Grant Doyle also includes Strayhorn’s swinging jazz-standard Take the A Train, Denza’s Funiculi, Funicula (which celebrated the first cablecar service on Mount Vesuvius – subsequently all but destroyed by a volcanic eruption).
And other great songs include Lionel Bart’s atmospheric From Russia With Love, the jolly Runaway Train by Warren, and – bringing us right back up to closer to the present – The Day We Caught The Train, a song from Ocean Colour Scene’s 1996 album Moseley Shoals as well as several audience participation classics.
Admission to the concert is free. Car Parking is available for £5 at St.Benedict’s School on Duffield Road (2pm – 11pm) and also £5 from 3pm at Derby Rugby Club.
Further and updated details from Derby LIVE’s website http://www.derbylive.co.uk and Derby Tourist Information Centre on 01332 255802 Minicom 01332 256666.
Supported by Rolls-Royce plc, Derby City Council, Derby LIVE, East Midlands Trains and Sinfonia Viva. Media Partner Classic FM. Sinfonia Viva is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.