The 2019 theme of circus and celebration was present throughout the festivities with jugglers and stilt walkers on hand to entertain and share photo opportunities with around 600 guests during the pre-concert meal; a delicious al fresco international buffet next to the Chao Phraya river.
With darkness falling, Director of Music, David Place appeared as if by magic at the entrance to the Memorial Hall to announce the start of the concert and invite guests to take their seats. And as guests made their way into the beautifully dressed auditorium, acapella group, Harmonix, as well as a specially assembled percussion ensemble, provided a musical welcome, setting the tone for what proved to be yet another high quality evening of music making at Shrewsbury.
After completing the national anthems and Kings’ song musicians and choral performers got straight into the programme with classic carnival numbers such as Circus Polka, Send in the Clowns and Sabre Dance. The crowd immediately got into the vibe of the show and were seen to be clapping and grooving in their seats. Not a dull note was heard as the performers - who have only been rehearsing together for 10 weeks – underlined the excellence of the music programme at Shrewsbury.
Returning for his second Proms performance, world-renowned international conductor Bundit Ungrangsee brought his own Hollywood-style touch to proceedings with Carl Orff’s O Fortuna, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Superman Returns – composed by the great John Williams. Bundit was then joined on stage by his wife and soloist, Mary Ungrangsee, who sang a beautiful Thai love song, ‘Rak Kham Khob Fah’, which was unsurprisingly a big hit with many in the audience.
Before the curtain was drawn on a wonderful night of music, the Shrewsbury Orchestra treated guests to some English classics befitting the Last Night of the Proms in the U.K, including Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.
After speaking to guests at the show, only praise for an incredible event was offered.
“This was our third time coming here, and we loved the enthusiasm of the crowd. People are dressed beautifully, the musicians are incredible, and the set-up is very professional”, exclaimed Mattias Glimbrand – a parent of one of the choral performers.
“It was amazing to see the great Khun Bundit Ungrangsee impart his knowledge on the children in the orchestra. It is very heart-warming”, said famous Thai violinist and band member of VieTrio, Dr Paye Srinarong.
The night (and any self-respecting circus!) would not have been complete without a closing fireworks display under the night sky. It was a spectacular end to a beautiful night that represents the best hospitality and performance Shrewsbury has to offer.
As a showcase for the performing arts, ‘Last Night at the Proms’ once again underlined the quality and breadth of opportunity that is offered alongside a Shrewsbury’s highly successful academic programme. In all aspects of a Shrewsbury education, students are encouraged to express themselves and be passionate about what they do, and for our wonderful instrumentalists and choral performers, Last Night of the Proms once again provided a fitting stage to share their talent and dedication with a hugely appreciative audience.
Our thanks to event sponsors D’Well Grand Asset and The Bangkok Club, to our audience members and specially invited guests, and of course to our Music Department, Bundit and Mary Ungransee and student musicians for making Last Night of the Proms a truly memorable occasion.