Audiences basked in the glorious sunshine in Sutton Park for Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council’s second annual Concerts in then Park. With headline performances each day from the world-class City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) the weekend featured 117 professional artists and 514 community performers.
Saturday saw audiences on their feet and dancing with Swing Era to the sounds of Down for the Count’s Vintage Swing Orchestra before Ex Cathedra raised the roof, or rather the blue skies, with songs from across the centuries followed by Down for the Count returning to the stage with their Motown Collective.
Headliners CBSO took the stage at 7pm conducted by Dirk Brossé and filled the Park with musical highlights including Strauss Overture, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Bernstein’s West Side Story as well as Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet: Montagues and Capulets and Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty Waltz all compered by TVs Josie d’Arby. The CBSO were accompanied on some numbers, including Luck be a Lady and Singin in the Rain, by the amazing BBC Strictly Come Dancing vocalist Lance Ellington.
The finale saw the audience up on their feet with their union jack flags in the air for Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and final curtain call The can-can brought a much-deserved standing ovation.
The sold-out Family Woodland Concert on Sunday saw families enjoy performances from a 10-piece ensemble from the CBSO and Ex Cathedra Sing Makers alongside a wonderful range of local choirs – 514 community performers in total graced the various stages.
The main stage was compered by BBC Radio WM’s Daz Hale whilst in the adjacent woodland area, new for 2018, the acoustic tent included storytelling by Gavin Young, Poetry by Sutton Arts Forum and Acoustic performances by local singers and musicians.
Local business Floral Jazz salvaged unwanted musical instruments turning them into beautiful artistic creations which appeared across the site on both days. Throughout Sunday, craft activity was provided Sutton Coldfield Creation Station including making everything from woodland hats to flags and smilestones. Silent Noise Events produced a Silent Woodland Disco which was enjoyed by young and old and Sutton Coldfield Community Games encouraged everyone to join in sports activities including gymnastics, martial arts and table tennis.
Artisan food and drink kept the audience fed and watered with over half the traders local businesses offering everything from pizza and flatbreads to deli treats and coffee, burgers and hot dogs to ice cream and crepes. New for 2018, audiences enjoyed the Simpson’s Gin Bar botanical tent as well as firm favourite the re-designed drinks fire engine!
Leader of the Town Council, Simon Ward said: “What a weekend! The sun shone and our beautiful historic Sutton Park was filled with music, arts and story telling and most importantly filled with people the vast majority of whom were local residents.
“This years’ Concerts in the Park had a real fiesta feel, we expanded the programme to include more opportunities for our community, particularly our younger audiences, to join in with activities and created the magical woodland area to give us an additional space for crafts and performances.
“The business support for Concerts in the Park has been fantastic with over half of the traders from our local business community demonstrating the high-quality food and drink offer available in Sutton.
“A wonderful, memorable weekend firmly cementing Concerts in the Park in our annual calendar.”
Concerts in the Park is supported by Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, Punter Southall Financial Management, Sutton Coldfield College, Simpson’s Gin Bar and Royal Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce.