With a British and European Union flag thrust in hand, I effortlessly passed through the Covid, ticket and bag checks to find myself inside the Royal Albert Hall. I was filled with excitement and ready to enjoy the world's greatest classical musical festival, the BBC Last Night of the Proms.
This was the first time I had been to a live performance since January 2020 when I went to see La Roux at Fabric night club in London. Life was so different back then!
I grabbed a programme, found my seat and I took a moment to reflect on those dark days of the pandemic and the impact that had for students, musicians and performers whose passion and livelihood had been pulled out from underneath them. That magical bond between performers and audience severed through the enforcement of social distancing and the closure of venues, churches, clubs and schools.
The orchestra began and, with each beautifully played piece, told its own stories and uplifted my spirits. It amazed me how the flow of classical music could express so much beauty which was enhanced even more by the BBC singers. What also struck me was the power the conductor held at the end of a piece, holding that space of silence before allowing the burst of applause, which felt almost sacred.
Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton were the real crowd pleasers. Skelton's return on stage dressed as an Aussie cricketer for Rule Britannia was so funny! It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves, waving flags, singing the traditional favourites, and bobbing up and down having a good time.
I had a really enjoyable evening and The Last Night of the Proms is definitely one to tick off the bucket list. I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to go.