College's Proms In The Park Event
East Durham College held their special ‘Proms in the Park’ event on Friday 26th June 2009. The event was put on to celebrate the completion of the stunning new £36m Peterlee Campus.
College Principal and Chief Executive, Ian Prescott, said about the event, “The buildings around us have been built to provide a quality learning environment for the people of East Durham. But a College is more than just a collection of buildings and more than books and the resources these buildings house.... fantastic as they are. It is the students and staff who fill it, who define it and make it breathe. This event is a celebration and recognition of this”
The crowd, of about 600, braved the rain and fog to be entertained by the English Philharmonic Orchestra, whom was conducted by David Haslam. David won the Walter Stokes scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied flute, piano and composition. He then went on to play with the Scottish National Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia. Today he is acknowledged as one of the most admired flautists in the profession. David now works in and around the UK; conducting, composing and playing solo flute.
The Orchestra also featured renowned violinist Tristan Gurney. Tristan studied the violin at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Now he is the leader of the Edinburgh Quartet. In addition to his work with the quartet, Tristan regularly gives concerto and recital performances around the UK and is the Head of Strings at The University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The event was expertly compered by TV star Nicholas Owen, presenter of BBC news. Nicholas told the crowd, “It’s a great pleasure for me to be here. I started my broadcasting here, with the BBC in Newcastle, way back in the early 1980s. I need no excuse to come back....and the weather doesn’t bother me a bit....and I’m so glad so many of you clearly feel the same way.”
Before the English Philharmonic Orchestra took the stage, East Durham College student Laura Fulcher, 17, performed a number of solo songs to entertain the crowd. Laura, from Thornley, has been a student for the last year studying a BTEC National Award in Performing Arts and will be returning in September to continue her studies. Although only 17, Laura has continued to develop her skills outside of college and has worked as a solo performer at a local restaurant and has also performed at Newcastle City Hall as part of the ‘talentstar’ competition.
The evening was rounded off by the Orchestra playing Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 and Parry’s Jerusalem with the crowd signing along and waving Union flags to a firework spectacular.