Concertgoers at the opening night of the Prescot Festival last Friday were taken by surprise when a Britain’s Got Talent finalist took to the stage to sing.
Richard Johnson – one half of the Johnson Brothers with younger sibling Adam – sat with the audience for the first half of the concert, given by Birkenhead Operatic Society, aka BOST.
In the second half, however, the singing sensation received a standing ovation after a stirring performance of Till I Hear You Sing, from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies.
Before returning to his seat, the 22-year-old tenor thanked fans for voting for him, and praised the Wirral-based musical theatre company, with whom he started his singing career.
Richard and Adam came third in ITV’s talent competition earlier this month, in a performance infamously interrupted by a protester throwing eggs at judge and producer Simon Cowell.
But the protest didn’t take away from the brilliance of their signature song – The Impossible Dream, a rousing showpiece for Richard and his baritone brother.
The Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts continued on the weekend with a record 100 singers taking part in Saturday night’s performance of Fauré’s Requiem, in a concert that also featured Liverpool Harmonic Gospel Choir.
The 10-day event, now in its ninth year, continues until Sunday 30 June with schools competitions, a barn dance, an acoustic night, a vintage film show, a brass band, Choral Evensong and the now-customary Proms-style finale.
A concert celebrating the works of British composers Britten and Elgar is the biggest event of the week, however.
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra cellist Gethyn Jones will play Edward Elgar’s much-lauded Cello Concerto with Wirral Symphony Orchestra on Friday 28 June.
The concert will also feature Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, in honour of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 will round off the concert, to be held in the majestic 17th-century PrescotParishChurch, Knowsley’s only Grade I-listed building.
More information about the Prescot Festival, including the full programme, is online at prescotfestival.co.uk.
Photo: Terry McCormick