The Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra offers special Proms For All Jubilee celebration
The concert is part of their re-emergence from the pandemic which has also been an opportunity for the orchestra to take stock and rebrand themselves. By day, under the direction of Marcio da Silva, they will be joined by the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and massed local choirs for a program including Parry – God save the Queen, Jerusalem, I was glad; Handel – Zadok the Priest; Handel – Hallelujah Chorus; Elgar – Cello Concerto; and Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance March No 1.
HPO is the new Orchestra-in-Residence at the White Rock Theatre, and they are dedicating their 2021-22 season to celebrating the history of the Hastings City Orchestra, for which the theater was established.
Marcio said: “Our plan as an orchestra is to continue the whole history of the Hastings Municipal Orchestra which closed after the war. We launched the HPO in 2016 with this story in mind. When we found out big names had performed at the White Rock like Rachmaninoff and Sir Henry Wood, we had to do something. We wanted to fill the void and build on that story, but this is our first season based at White Rock. The idea is to celebrate this heritage and also to celebrate the jubilee.
The new orchestra has got off to a very good start so far: “But what’s hard to understand is that there’s no scenario in which an orchestra would ever break even, but I think that we have been very successful in surviving the first five years. We have had funding from the Arts Council and we have developed our corporate sponsorship and our friends and our regular audience. We put on 20 events a year, not all orchestral concerts, so it’s a very full program that we offer and we constantly obtain good audiences.
“But for this one, we really want to fill the White Rock as much as possible, so we’re donating a number of tickets to local organizations that work with disadvantaged people who might not otherwise be able to come to the concert. The theme is Jubilee and we call it Proms For All and we try to bring together as many people as possible. The program is a real crowd pleaser and the whole thing is a big party for us. We do this in partnership with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir.
“The pandemic has been in some ways very difficult for us, but in some ways also very good. We had to stop all the shows we were doing and it was a big stop for all the musicians but it also gave us a chance to repackage and rethink our strategy and reorganize. We renamed the orchestra during the pandemic and there have been many changes. We were associated with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and they gave us operational support early on, but during the pandemic we became our own independent organization with a new website, so in that sense the pandemic was a game-changer for us .