Prescot Festival kicks off with a bang

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Over 600 people came through the doors at the opening weekend of the Prescot Festival.

Swingshift Big Band and vocalist Chris James launched the 2016 festival in style on Friday, with an evening concert paying tribute to swing legends Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra, who would have been 100 this year.

Prescot Festival Chorus performing Mozarts Requiem

Prescot Festival Chorus performing Mozarts Requiem

Saturday began reflectively, with an afternoon of events remembering Prescot’s role in the two world wars, including a Q&A with a former prisoner of war and ‘Prescot War Memorial at 100,’ a talk by historian Stephen Nulty.

The day ended with a moving performance of Mozart’s celebrated Requiem, performed by a ‘come and sing’ chorus of almost 100 singers from across the region, with Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral’s James Luxton conducting.

The brilliantly talented Wigan Youth Brass Band delivered a stirring second half to the concert.

On Sunday, Nigel Ogden of BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains played to an appreciative crowd, while nearby the town council-organised Prescot Carnival attracted hundreds more visitors—not withstanding a soggy close to the afternoon—on top of the 600 already attending the festival.

The programme continues throughout the week before a closing weekend that begins with a Barn Dance and Hot Pot Supper on Friday night. Saturday sees LJMU scholar Elspeth Graham speak about ‘Shakespeare and Prescot,’ and an evening concert featuring Songs from the Shows with BOST, one of the North West’s best musical theatre companies.

The 10-day festival draws to a close with Festival Choral Evensong on Sunday, followed by a Regal Festival Finale, with South Liverpool Orchestra paying homage to Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth II.

The rousing occasion ends Proms-style, with such patriotic favourites as Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.

“We’re incredibly proud to be going so strong in our 12th year,” said Artistic Director Dr Robert Howard.

“The quality of skill and talent on display only seems to increase year on year, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the success of this year’s festival so far.

“As ever, we aim to keep arts and culture accessible and affordable, and we encourage everyone to come along and experience the joy of live music for themselves.”

Full details of the programme are online at www.prescotfestival.co.uk