On Saturday, at the Royal Albert Hall, the nationalistic fervour of The Last Night of the Proms ended with thousands of flag-waving Brits singing Rule Britannia under the leadership of a Czech conductor and a soprano from the United States.
Last night, in the Hall for Cornwall, the local version of this hardy annual saw battle hymns sung as the Cornish waved their national flag and rallied against their neighbours across the border in Devon. Patriotism is alive and well in England’s far southwest and the evening was greatly enlivened by this call to arms against traditional foes.
Following the pattern set by the London Prom season finale, the first half of the evening was as close to serious as these occasions ever get with excursions into the classical and operatic realms from Camborne Town Band and singers from Duchy Opera. The band showed why it is regularly among the Britain’s top-ranked performers with a mix of rousing pieces and some delicately fresh arrangements of old favourites.
Polished solo performances from the band’s own ranks and much-travelled soprano Cheryl Brendish (she once sang with the tragically defunct Victorian State Opera) added to the enjoyment. The chorus, however, was sadly underpowered and seemed to have undergone a charisma bypass.
Post-interval we were treated to all the usual Last Night hand-clapping, flag-waving and full-throated singing of the Radetsky March, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory. And so we wandered off into the night fully cheered – and ready to do battle against any invading hordes from the north.
Who needs the Albert Hall when the HFC can put on a show like this?