The Prescot Festival welcomed 500 people to its first weekend, with Leyland Band receiving a rapturous reception for an opening night that featured music by Rossini, Dvořák, John Williams and Randy Newman.
The second night saw a festival record, with 120 sopranos, altos, tenors and basses from across the North West gathering to form the Prescot Festival Chorus to sing Vivaldi’s Gloria. The impromptu ‘Come and Sing’ choir has been part of the festival since 2007. Among them were members of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Choir, who went on to deliver a suitably majestic Coronation-themed second half to the evening’s concert.
On Father’s Day a recital by pianist and organist James Luxton, also of the Met Cathedral, included the world premiere of a new organ work by festival director Dr Robert Howard.
The celebration of arts and music continues throughout the week, culminating in a closing weekend featuring swing with the Phil Shotton Big Band, songs from the shows with BOST and a Proms-style finale with South Liverpool Orchestra.
The penultimate day sees a festival first—an event in the Ken Dodd Performance Garden at Prescot’s Shakespeare North Playhouse. In a chaired discussion with Q&A, creative director Laura Collier and CEO Melanie Lewis reflect on the theatre’s first year, offer a glimpse of its future and reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets of the period Jacobean theatre. Tickets start at £3 and are available directly from the theatre.
“In a short time, the theatre has already brought so much joy and magic to our community,” said festival artistic director Dr Robert Howard, “and it’s an honour to be collaborating on what we hope will be the first of many opportunities to work together in putting arts and music centre-stage in Prescot.”
The 19th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts runs until Sunday 25 June in venues across the historic Lancashire town of Prescot, Merseyside. For event information, including ticket sales, visit prescotfestival.co.uk.
Pictured: Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Choir prepare to enter Prescot Parish Church as part of the Prescot Festival (Alan Humphreys Photography)