Conductor gets ready for Blickling classical concert Spitfire challenge

The Grace Spitfire

The Grace Spitfire - Credit: Archant

Conductor Rod Dunk is looking forward to the challenge of having a Spitfire warplane above his head, as well as a 60-piece orchestra under his baton at a north Norfolk summer concert.

Sinfonia Viva conductor Rod Dunk

Sinfonia Viva conductor Rod Dunk - Credit: Archant

He will be leading Sinfonia Viva as they play everything from stirring marches and proms favourites to James Bond and movie themes at the Blickling event on August 10.

Spitfire pilot Carolyn Grace

Spitfire pilot Carolyn Grace - Credit: Archant

But he also needs to synchronise the music and iconic flying machine which will arrive to the opening bars of William Walton's Spitfire Prelude.

He and pilot Carolyn Grace set a start time and discuss the tempo of the pieces, so she can choreograph her time over the field.

During rehearsal on the afternoon of the performance, Carolyn listens in over the phone to check the timings against her stopwatch and make any necessary adjustments.

When the concert starts, she has a colleague on the ground at Blickling who is in touch with her by radio, so she knows exactly when to make her entrance.

If Carolyn needs to make adjustments she may do a couple of extra circuits before making her entrance. Similarly, if Rod is slightly early, he will talk to the audience in order to get the timing right.

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He said: 'It's quite difficult to get it spot on as it can be affected for instance by something as simple as the length of applause, getting it right is a feat of timing engineering.

'Carolyn has a rare talent in visually complementing the music with her repertoire, her degree of precision, the care she takes and her sense of theatre really is very unusual and it's a pleasure to be teaming up with her again this year.'

The Last Night of the Blickling Proms concert has an 007 theme, with visitors encouraged to dress up as Bond girls or villains - with a prize for the best.

An additional rhythm section has been added to the 60+ piece orchestra this year. Mezzo soprano Jessica Walker will lead the proms singing.

Gates open at 4pm for a 7.30pm start. The evening will conclude with a fireworks display over the lake.

Tickets £32 (£35 on the night) are available online at or call the box office on 01263 734711. Group discounts of up to 20% are also available.

There is free parking for coaches and cars. More information about the concert is also on the revival-productions website.

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