The BBC Proms are always the highlight of my musical calendar! 2 whole months of wonderful music, performed by some of the greatest musicians in the world, all broadcast live on the TV and/or radio. This summer event is quintessentially English, and The Last Night of the Proms sees thousands of people gathering to wave their flags with pride, in this lovely tradition.
It has always been a classical event, with classical music. However, in recent years, the Proms organisers have begun to branch out a little more, in an attempt to improve their accessibility. The programme now always includes some more ‘popular’ proms, for example a Doctor Who prom, a Sondheim prom, and even a CBeebies prom last year! This year, there are several proms suitable for families. Read on for my guide to the family proms, plus some helpful tips of how to best enjoy your trip.
Family Proms 2017
Celebrating John Williams
Thursday 20th July, 19.30
Suitable for: Age 6+
John Williams wrote some of the best loved film scores: Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T, and Jurassic Park, to name just a few. This concert celebrates his 85th birthday, with many of his most well known pieces, and a few more unusual ones thrown in. Kids will recognise loads of these tunes, and they will be amazed to hear the sound of such a full orchestra playing tracks from their favourite films. Film music is a really great way into the world of classical music for children.
Prom 11: Ten Pieces Presents … Sir Henry’s Magnificent Musical Inspirations!
Sunday 23rd July, 14.00, 18.00
Suitable for: Age 7-14
Each year since 2015 the BBC produce a list of ‘Ten Pieces’. These are exciting and inspiring classical pieces, carefully selected to appeal to young people. Resources are produced to help children engage with them, and to teach kids how to explore and enjoy these works. This prom features a selection of these ‘Ten Pieces’ from this and previous years. It will provide a lovely insight into the inspiration behind these pieces to help capture your child’s imagination.
If you arrive ahead of schedule, there is also a ‘Ten Pieces’ film being shown at the Imperial College Union at 12.00 and 16.00. This uses live action and animation to introduce children to the ten pieces.
Saturday 29th July, 12.00
A concert suitable for children and adults with autism, sensory and communication impairments and learning disabilities as well as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted. This is the first time a relaxed prom has been hosted. It will allow audience members to get up and move around, and to behave in a way that makes them most comfortable. It will include a mixture of classical music and popular music (such as Pharrell Williams’s Happy).
Swing No End
Sunday 27th August, 15.00
Suitable for: Age 8+
This prom will focus on the music from the 1930s and 40s, with lots of swing, blues, and bebop. It will focus on big band music from this era, and will be sure to have everyone toe-tapping. Even if your children are not familiar with these pieces, it is sure to be a very lively concert, with lots of exciting things for them to see and hear.
Things You Should Know About BBC Proms 2017
- Booking opens on Saturday 13th May at 9.00am. The most popular proms will sell really quickly!
- You can ‘prom’ on the day, for just £6.00. This means turning up or booking online on the day, between 9.00am and 12.00pm. These tickets allow you to watch from the Arena or Gallery, but these are standing tickets.
- Due to their popularity, Last Night of the Proms tickets are mostly allocated by ballot. Attending 5 or more other proms significantly increases your chance of getting a ticket!
- Children under 5 are only allowed to attend the Ten Pieces Presents…proms, and the Relaxed prom.
- Children aged 5-18 years are entitled to half-price tickets.
Even if you cannot get tickets to be there, you can still watch and listen to all of the proms on the TV and radio over the summer. Have fun, enjoy yourselves, and indulge in this truly special event!