Although the scaffolding still shrouds the great building, Huddersfield Town Hall is open for business again with a tribute to the Last Night of the Proms.
True to its name, Friday’s charity concert borrowed the format from the iconic finale of the annual London musical extravaganza. There was bunting, flag-waving, rousing music and some very silly hats.
The programme began with works from stage and screen. As is so often the way when music from Hollywood and Broadway transfer to the orchestral arena, the technical demands on Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra are deceptive.
These easy-listening tunes make for anything but easy playing and that certainly applied to West Side Story and Harry Potter.
Excerpts from Carmen and Les Miserables were very well received with guest soloist Thom Meredith's charismatic presence being the highlight of the evening.
The relative simplicity of the material was a relief to the orchestra and audience alike, and Meredith’s perfectly gauged light Baritone colours simply captivated the packed-out hall.
After a moving speech by Mayor of Kirklees Clr Jim Dodds, whose chosen charity The Royal British Legion will receive all proceeds of Friday’s gala event, conductor Robert Guy led the forces in classic Last Night of the Proms favourites.
Here, the orchestra was in fine fettle with truly stand-out solos from the woodwinds in Wood’s famous Fantasia.
By the time we got to the must-haves of Jerusalem and Pomp and Circumstance, the essential Last Night ingredient of mild hysteria had emerged.
Looking around at this point as everyone stood, waved flags and belted out the wrong words, I felt that I was no longer at a concert but participating in a familiar – if bizarre – cultural ritual.
I knew what to do even if I wasn’t quite sure why I was doing it! Proof, I realise, that the evening was indeed a success.