Battle Proms at Highclere Castle

July 31, 2011 at 8:39 am 2 comments

There are moments when I just cannot help feeling terribly proud to be British and you would be hard pressed to beat a sunny Summer’s evening for a bit of Union Flag waving (its only a Jack if you’re at sea it seems!) and a lot of pomp and circumstance. Well to this long term expat anyway.

Every year, there are Battle Proms held at various stately homes around the country. Their success is hugely dependant on the weather of course over which there is no control. I took the plunge and purchased 2 tickets and we were in luck! Arrival at 5pm with picnic and chairs and find a pitch. Various battle charges are re-enacted in full costume on horseback as well as on foot. Its a proud day for the English…not so for the French although there is a splendid Napoleonic village. All this against the magnificent backdrop of Highclere Castle near Newbury, Berkshire instantly recognisable as ‘Downton Abbey’. These Battle Prom evenings follow a well loved formula and the highlight for me was listening to Holst’s Jupiter (I vow to Thee my Country) whilst a spitfire commenced daring manoevers overhead to the oohs and aahs of the appreciative crowd. This is a family and friends event – some bring tables, candelabras, picnic feasts, the full Monty. When the sun shines down on the British its a glorious evening indeed. There are always opera soloists and popular music…Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (the Rollerball theme), the 1812 Overture complete with cannon fire, a fabulous ‘battle’ between orchestra and audience as the Hornpipe increases in tempo….Jerusalem sung as fervently as if it

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 were our National Anthem….Land of Hope and Glory of course and a marvellous firework fuelled Auld Lang Syne finale. Will I be back next year? You bet…with knobs on.


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sally  |  August 1, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Was the lovely Denise Leigh soprano?



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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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