THE Proms In The Gardens will be performed on this summer’s York Mystery Plays stage on August 20 in a concert for the York 800 celebrations.

This open-air event in the Museum Gardens will feature York’s two premier brass bands, the Shepherd Group Brass Band and York Railway Institute Band, The compere and narrator will be York actor Andrew Dunn , who is best known for his role as canteen manager Tony in Victoria Wood’s BBC sitcom dinnerladies, but more aptly for this Proms concert played trombonist Phil in York Theatre Royal’s production of Brassed Off in 2004, when he starred alongside the Shepherd Group Brass Band.

In a real-life Brassed Off’ parallel, both the York bands have made it through to the National Brass Band Championships, just as the fictional Grimley Colliery Band does in York writer-director Mark Herman’s film and the spin-off play.

The bands will play together throughout the 7.30pm Proms, which will feature four premieres and specially arranged music to celebrate York’s 800 years since King John’s Royal Charter, followed by flag-waving Last Night Of The Proms favourites.

“Having 50 brass players and a team of percussionists on stage is going to be an awesome spectacle and sound,” says Kate Lock, co-director of Brassed On York, the not-for-profit company formed to stage the concert.

“‘We’re putting on an accessible and affordable Proms night right in the heart of York, and the specially composed music and the pageant aspect of it will make this a unique part of the York 800 celebrations.

“It’s all in the best tradition of Proms concerts, but with no hassle about parking in muddy fields. Seating is under cover and you can picnic in the Museum Gardens beforehand.”

While the concept for the concert came from The Press columnist Kate – who plays in the York Railway Institute Golden Rail Band – the driving force behind the behind the music has been creative producer David Lancaster, head of music at York St John University .

“For the first half’s musical gallop through York’s history, David has put together a programme with a piece of music for every century from 1212 to 2012, linked by our celebrity narrator, which will give the concert a really different aspect to the usual Proms fare,” says Kate.

“It opens with recorded sounds of monks singing plainchant in the abbey, over which we have a beautiful and evocative euphonium solo by Mike Pratt, and continues through the centuries with some Early music, some Royal music (Agincourt Song), a Purcell trumpet sonata and even The Best Of James Bond theme tunes to celebrate John Barry.”

David Lancaster will book-end this half with two premieres: Sounds Of St Mary’s, the opening piece that reflects music from the 13th and 14th centuries, and City Of Kings, a commission that presents a futuristic vision for 21st century York.

“There’s also a brilliant premiere by 18-year-old Jack Capstaff, from Huntington , who has already made his name as Britain’s youngest brass band conductor and is surely one to watch. His piece, The Minster, commemorates the installation of the Minster’s organ in 1832, but in brass,” says Kate.

“Getting the two bands to sound like a cathedral organ on stage is quite something – and I think he’s pulled it off.”

The fourth premiere is an arrangement of Purcell’s Trumpet Sonata as a duet for solo cornet players Mark Durham, of the Shepherd band, and Sam Lovatt, of the RI band.

“This has been arranged by Bruce Jackson, the solo euphonium player for the York RI Golden Rail Band, from an original score found in the archives of a library in York,” says Kate.

“So, this half is all very different from your usual ‘brass band concert’ stuff – ambitious, diverse and forward-looking.”

The second half will focus on the usual Proms suspects: The Grand Old Duke Of York; Johnann Strauss’s Radetzky March; Henry Wood’s Fantasia On British Sea Songs; David Lancaster’s arrangement of Rule Britannia, with soloist Ruth McCartney; Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; Parry’s Jerusalem, featuring Ruth MCartney again; and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 1.

Kate can’t wait. “Apart from the Ebor Vox choral work last month, I think this is the only musical event in the York 800 programme that explores York’s history in music, which makes it a really unique concert,” she says.

• Proms In The Gardens, York Mystery Plays 2012 stage, Museum Gardens, York, August 20 at 7.30pm; tickets, £20, £17.50 and £12, concessions £18 and £15, on 01904 623568 or

The concert is in aid of the Lord Mayor of York’s charities by arrangement with York Cultural Company, supported by City of York Council .