After his success last Christmas with the Military Wives, Gareth Malone has again been showing TV viewers recently how he can take reluctant singers and turn them into competent choristers.
National Symphony Orchestra conductor Anthony Inglis has a different problem when he takes to the sea aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 – accommodating all the passengers who want to join the scratch choir.
On a recent Transatlantic crossing, more than 200 volunteered – enough to form two separate choirs who then took part in a Last Night of the Cunard Proms event on the final evening of the voyage.
The NSO’s repertoire for the performance included Gilbert & Sullivan’s Overture to HMS Pinafore, The Knightsbridge March by Eric Coates and another hornpipe, this time from The Water Music by Handel.
Ko-Ko’s entrance in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado followed, in which the Queen Mary 2 choirs featured. Then came a sequence of Sea Songs (Saucy Arethusa, Tom Bowling and Hornpipe), Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, and, of course, Land of Hope and Glory, with the entire audience on their feet and waving union jacks in full song.
The combined choir and NSO performances achieved an outstanding approval rating of 98.7 in the guest feedback questionnaire.
Cunard president Peter Shanks has a full report of the event, with pictures, on his We Are Cunard blog.
The overwhelmingly positive passenger response has ensured that Anthony and the NSO will be working their magic on another Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic crossing next year, from September 2-10.
Inglis says: “I’m looking forward to putting the passenger choir through its paces. The choirs I’ve conducted have regularly raised the roof at the at the Royal Albert Hall and now with an extra day to rehearse, I’m looking forward to doing the same in the Royal Court Theatre aboard Queen Mary 2 with our own Last Night of the Proms.”
Vantage fares for this crossing start from £1,469 per person. Reservations on 0843 374 000 or www.cunard.co.uk.