The Prescot Festival began its first fully live programme in three years last weekend, and it promises more to come before Sunday’s orchestral finale.
The tremendously popular Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats made a return visit for Friday’s opening night, and the crowds returned for a celebration of choral music on Saturday. Liverpool Cathedral’s community choirs joined the 100-strong Prescot Festival Chorus for a concert that included Somewhere over the Rainbow, the Vicar of Dibley theme and highlights from Handel’s Messiah, featuring the famed Hallelujah Chorus.
Sunday saw first-time visitors Liverpool Bach Collective present a sung service of Evensong in the majestic church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, a Jacobean building with a beauty that uniquely complements the music of such luminaries of sacred composition as JS Bach and CV Stanford.
The programme continues all week, with schools’ events, a film screening and a barn dance before a spectacular closing weekend featuring England’s number one-ranking brass band Foden’s, local historian Ken Pye, musical theatre company BOST and a finale with the Phoenix Concert Orchestra.
‘We couldn’t be more delighted with the festival so far,’ said founder and artistic director Dr Robert Howard.
‘After an unusual and challenging couple of years, there was inevitably uncertainty about bringing back such a large-scale event, but the sheer quality of performance and the audience’s warm reception of our guest artists have exceeded expectations.
‘With the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in just a few weeks, we couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate fanfare to herald the next stage in Prescot’s cultural history.’
The 18th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts continues until Sunday 26 June in the historic Lancashire town of Prescot, Merseyside. Tickets are on sale at Poco Bar & Café at 30 Eccleston Street, L34 5QJ (cash only) or online via prescotfestival.co.uk, where audiences can view the full schedule.
Photos: Dr Jazz & the Cheshire Cats at the 2022 Prescot Festival (credit: Alan Humphreys)