Saturday night

Proms 2018

This year, we welcomed The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO) to the Castle Concerts to perform on Saturday 14 July 2018.


About the RPCO

The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO) has built up an international reputation in its 30-year history, performing in the major concert venues across the UK and around the world, from China and the Far East to North and South America. The RPCO is known for its versatile programming of classical, light classical and popular music and has a worldwide reputation for working with internationally renowned artists, ranging from opera luminaries, such as Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and the late Luciano Pavarotti, to popular culture icons, including Burt Bacharach, Rod Stewart, Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, The Pet Shop Boys, Sting and Kylie Minogue, to name a few.

The Orchestra has recently undertaken a major tour of South East Asia including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam. Programmes included classical pieces mixed with traditional songs from the region, with all proceeds from the concerts donated to local charities. The RPCO also embarked on a short tour to Gibraltar in September 2017, giving the territory’s first ever concert by a professional symphony orchestra. Other upcoming highlights in the UK include an opera gala with Anna Netrebko at the Royal Albert Hall in May, and a national tour of the music of Roy Orbison in April 2018. In addition, the RPCO will be the featured orchestra performing the music live to films screened at the Royal Albert Hall including Star Trek and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

In the 2016/17 season, the RPCO appeared at the Royal Albert Hall performing the music live to the screening of films including Titanic, Brassed Off, War Horse and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' as well as performing with The Pet Shop Boys in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Other highlights included a celebration concert with the Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Florez and a War Horse programme where the orchestra was joined by the author, Michael Morpurgo, and Joanna Lumley. As well as the main concert halls, the versatility of the orchestra extended their performance venues from large exhibition arenas to intimate hotel ballrooms. In November 2017 the Orchestra toured the UK performing Elvis Presley songs live to film footage of the King of Rock taken at his concerts during his career, and December saw them perform the music from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to the live film footage at six venues across the UK.

The Orchestra was delighted to return to many summer music festivals in 2017, appearing at Hampton Court Palace, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Blenheim Palace and Rochester Castle, to name a few, and is looking forward to returning to many of these festivals in 2018. Other high profile projects included a gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall with José Carreras, a performance at Tate Modern as part of London Fashion Week as well as a Christmas concert at the Royal Festival Hall with Bryn Terfel and Hayley Westenra.

The RPCO also accompanied Andrea Bocelli on his 2016 and 2014 UK tours, which took place in London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Dublin, Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow. In the 2015/16 Season the Orchestra travelled to Vienna, Moscow and China as well as UK performances of the music from the computer game, The Legend of Zelda at Wembley Arena, Space Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall and an appearance on Sky TV’s programme A League of Their Own.

Jo Appleby

Supporting Act

Lancashire born Soprano, Jo Appleby is a company member of English National Opera where she has sung a number of roles and understudies

Jo studied at the Royal Northern College if Music. She began her professional career with Carl Rosa Opera. She then went on to sing with the Glyndebourne festival and touring chorus where she remained for four seasons.

In 2002 Jo was signed to Sony BMG and spent four years recording and touring internationally as part of multi-Platinum selling, classical crossover group "Amici Forever". Jo has also toured with Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Cliff Richard.

Jo was thrilled to be returning to the Rochester Castle Concerts this year to perform with RPCO once again.

Oliver Tompsett

Supporting Act

Oliver is currently playing the lead role of Charlie Price in Kinky Boots at The Adelphi Theatre in the West End.

He has also stared in Guys and Dolls, We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages and Wicked to name just a few. We are so excited to be welcoming Oliver to this year's Castle Concerts.

You can follow Oliver on Twitter and Instagram @OliverTompsett

Hertfordshire Chorus

Supporting Act

Known for commissioning new music, high-quality and passionate singing, Hertfordshire Chorus is one of the UK's finest symphonic choirs.

The choir performs regularly in the UK's major concert halls, appears frequently with the BBC Concert Orchestra and with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at our very own Castle Concerts.

Find out more about Hertfordshire Chorus and future events


Michael Reed

Supporting Act

Michael has conducted, orchestrated and arranged credits for over twenty West End shows including Phantom of the Opera, Joseph, and Singin' in the Rain. He was also the Musical Supervisor for many of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals and for his 50th birthday concert.

He has worked on five Royal Variety Shows, Eurovision Song Contests, three Royal Galas (Prince’s Trust); Jesus Christ Superstar (BBC Radio 2) and is currently working on Bat Out of Hell (Dominion Theatre, London).

We couldn't wait for Michael to host this year’s proms – it was a truly magical evening!



Supporting Act

Take three brothers, one cousin, four string instruments, add a generous amount of talent and comedy and witness a totally unique act that exceeds all expectation.

Stringfever are not a string quartet - or at least not as you know one. With their striking electric instruments they combine unrelenting energy, humour and audience interaction with great musical skill as they perform their brand new show which includes, "The History of Music in 5 minutes" and "Ravel's Bolero", played altogether on one instrument! All from the same family this fantastic and unique band is guaranteed to have the tiredest of feet tapping and the most cynical of audiences smiling. Stringfever have just completed their 13th tour of the USA, having now performed in over 150 towns in 37 States.

There are a number of ways you can get here to experience what Castle Concerts has to offer. An overview of travel options and help is listed below:


There is no parking directly on site, however there are a number of pay and display car parks located near by.


There is a free of charge coach park located in nearby Corporation Street, and a coach drop off point at the rear of the visitor information centre. For more information please contact


Rochester station is a short walk from the venue (less than 5 minutes). Strood station is approximately a 10 minute walk from the venue, over Rochester Bridge. Click here to visit South Eastern's website.


Services in Rochester are operated by Arriva and Nu Venture. Alight in Corporation Street, which is a short distance from the castle.


Postcode: ME1 1SW

A range of hot and cold snacks are available in the castle gardens. Bars, selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, will be open during the concerts. They will close 30 minutes before the end of each concert.

PLEASE NOTE: to ensure overall safety and enjoyment, we will now be following live music event best practice, similar to other concerts of this nature. Therefore, no drinks - except for sealed bottles of water - will be allowed into the Castle Concerts. Drinks will be allowed to be brought in for the Saturday night Proms only but no glass is permitted with the exception of champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco etc in sealed, pressurised corked bottles.

You may have noticed it’s been a little on the warm side recently! And it’s looking like it’s set to continue all of next week during the concerts. Therefore, due to this extreme hot weather, you will be allowed to bring in sealed bottles of soft drinks, as well as sealed bottles of water during this year’s concerts. Please be aware, no cans will be allowed – sealed bottles only.

Enjoy and stay hydrated!


Reasonably sized collapsible chairs are allowed into the castle gardens. A limited number of seats will be available and issued on a first come, first served basis.


Toilets are available within the castle grounds. No barbecues or gas cylinders will be permitted under any circumstances. No dogs (except guide dogs) or other pets will be admitted.

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