BATHED in glorious summer sunshine, the inaugural York Proms raised £10,000 for York Museums Trust from its sold-out debut in the Museum Gardens.

The sold-out event went so well that the organisers anticipate staging "an even bigger and better" York Proms next year, after more than 1,800 people attended last Sunday's concert, where classical Proms favourites, film music and musical theatre numbers were performed against a backdrop of the St Mary's Abbey ruins.

As guests entered the gardens, the acoustic Community Stage played host to Lucy’s Pop Choir, the York Music Centre Concert Band, Prima Vocal Ensemble and pianist Adam Parish entertaining the early birds.

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Cheers! Natasha Marsh raises a glass at the York Proms. Picture: Laura Toomer

Australian tenor Daniel Koek and Welsh soprano Natasha Marsh headlined the main Proms stage, performing such songs as George Gershwin's Summertime and Bernstein and Sondheim's Maria, from West Side Story. Heavily pregnant co-organiser Rebecca Newman – the York soprano originally booked to top the bill – duetted with mezzo soprano Danielle Thomas on Pie Jesu and Barcarolle.

The orchestra comprised Yorkshire brass band ensemble Austonley Brass and the orchestral musicians of the London Studio Players under the baton of 2017 York St John University graduate and in-demand musical director Ben Papworth.

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Ben Papworth, conductor at the York Proms. Picture: Laura Toomer

"They treated the audience to epic film pieces such as Jurassic Park and Superman, Meditation from Thais, a suite from Bizet's opera Carmen and many more," says Rebecca. "The evening rounded off with the obligatory Proms pieces, with flags waving and the audience dancing, followed by a fireworks display."

In addition to the fund-raising for the York Museums Trust, a collection on the gate raised £421 for York Inspirational Kid. Co-organiser Jonathan Fewtrell, Rebecca's husband, says: "We were really pleased with how the evening went and the audience were fantastic. Not only were they enthusiastic with their flag waving, singing, and generally having fun, but there was hardly any litter to remove after the event and no damage to the gardens.

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Heavily pregnant York soprano Rebecca Newman and mezzo soprano Danielle Thomas at the York Proms. Picture: Laura Toomer

"Our first event went so well, we expect to hold another York Proms next year and we have so many ideas to make it even bigger and better. We'll be sending out a survey to everyone who came to get feedback and ideas for 2018, even though we’ve already been inundated with messages and comments from people saying how much they enjoyed it and how they want to come back next year.”

Tickets will go on sale in the autumn, with a pre-sale for 2017 ticket holders. "Locals are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment, as the first event sold out in advance, so we expect the York Proms to only go from strength to strength," says Rebecca.

"You can sign up to the newsletter online at to find out when tickets for the next event will go on sale and all the other news about next year’s line-up."

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The audience at last Sunday's York Proms. Picture: Laura Toomer