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Proms and Pimms at St Jude’s

20 June, 2019 — By Michael White

IF you’ve never experienced the Proms at St Jude’s, it’s a community undertaking like no other: something that runs with the charm of a country fete (marquees, Pimms, rose-trimmed lawns, as you’d expect in Hampstead Garden Suburb) but the sophistication of serious artists doing worthwhile things.

Most of them are at St Jude’s Church, Central Square, which is the nerve-centre for it all. And the 2019 season opens this Saturday with a concert performance of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, shipped in from the country-house opera at Nevill Holt: a big event.

Sunday is Gershwin night, with clarinettist Julian Bliss and his own jazz septet. Tuesday has a recital by the acclaimed violinist Jack Liebeck and no less distinguished pianist Katya Apekisheva. And there’s a full programme of other events that range from children’s orchestral workshops and a Barbara Streisand tribute concert (with cabaret star Liza Pulman) to a Last Night celebration with flags (if you must) and communal singing.

Not to miss, though, is the pin-up classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, at St Jude’s on Thursday, June 27.

And another must-see are the legendary King’s Singers on Friday 28 with music from Tudor England, although there will probably be room for some of the close-harmony crossover repertoire for the which they’re known.

Going since 1968, when they were six King’s Cambridge choral scholars taught by David Willcocks, the Singers have undergone endless changes of personnel over the years; and none of the present members joined before 2010. But they maintain a tradition of musicianship that’s technically superb (even if it edges into kitsch when they try too hard to be entertaining). And for presentational polish they set a benchmark.

• The Proms run from June 22-30, at St Jude’s, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, NW11 7AH, with all profits divided, as ever, between North London Hospice and Toynbee Hall. Details at www.promsatstjudes.org.uk

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