October 21, 2011
We Are Cunard
Guest Blog – Anthony Inglis, Conductor, The National Symphony Orchestra
This is Anthony Inglis and it has been my privilege to conduct my orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra, on Queen Mary 2’s recent eastbound Transatlantic Crossing, which departed New York on 7 October.
More than half way across, we performed The First Night of the Cunard Proms for two delighted audiences at full capacity in the Royal Court Theatre. The performances celebrated American music that included “Rhapsody in Blue,” Sousa marches and some Broadway classics. The audiences particularly enjoyed fellow guests Toni and Roselyn, who came on stage and joined the orchestra by playing the bell in the “Liberty Bell March.” Thanks, ladies! The orchestra played well and, in my humble opinion, deserved the standing ovation they received from the audience.
Conductor Anthony Inglis (centre) poses with members of The National Symphony Orchestra and Choir of Queen Mary 2 during rehearsals for The Last Night of the Cunard Proms on the 7 October Transatlantic Crossing.
We also had a huge number of guests who volunteered to sing in the choir at The Last Night of the Cunard Proms, which highlights music by British composers and recreates the atmosphere of the Royal Albert Hall in Westminster, London, where the annual summer Proms concert has been held since 1941. Made up of nearly 200 guests, the Queen Mary 2 choir and I had three rehearsals, which were a lot of fun as we practiced singing the Proms favourites – “Rule Britannia,” “Jerusalem” and “Land of Hope and Glory” – plus my own arrangement of “Amazing Grace” sung in harmony. This anthem and arrangement is almost the signature tune of Cunard, as famed opera singer Lesley Garrett and I performed it at the Naming Ceremonies of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth in addition to most of the concerts in Liverpool, either on board or at the Liverpool Cathedral during one of the Cunard ships’ Round Britain voyage.
For this voyage, the guests and I laughed and bantered as we worked our way through our hour-long rehearsals. Some guests were singing in a choir for the first time, achieving a lifetime’s ambition; and others who regularly sing in a choir got a chance to perform on the stage of the Royal Court Theatre. Some were aboard last year, and some others deliberately booked this voyage in order to sing. But I think I held my own and we achieved an emotional and brilliant event for The Last Night of the Proms.
I will report back and let you know how we got on.
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Peter will be back next week with our next blog including an update on Queen Mary 2′s upcoming refit. Have a great weekend all!