Join John Toal for Proms In Your Garden

It’s time to grab your picnic rug and chairs, head out into the garden, settle back and join John Toal for a very different Proms this year.

Published: 7 September 2020
Get your hampers ready, fire some food on the barbecue and join me for Proms In Your Garden.
— John Toal, Presenter

Proms In Your Garden on Saturday 12 September, will be live on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle, or you can join John at his house by watching online at from 6.30pm-8pm.

Bringing music to listeners’ homes, and in a change this year due to current restrictions on large gatherings, John will be broadcasting from his home in County Down with an eclectic line-up of some of Northern Ireland’s most popular and well known musical names, as well as some favourite Proms moments from the Ulster Orchestra and soloists.

John says: “We’ve done the Christmas John Toal Show from our house and garden for the last few years now, so I suppose I’ll just have to cut the grass again. The cows and sheep in the back field are well used to it, and as long as there’s some Moo-zart or Baaaach for them, they’ll be happy. Get your hampers ready, fire some food on the barbecue and join me for Proms In Your Garden.”

Joining John live in his garden will be singer/songwriter Gavin James performing alongside a string quartet made up of members of the Ulster Orchestra, while actress Kerri Quinn will be singing some songs with accompanist Matthew Reeve on piano, and singer/songwriter Ria Maguire will be performing a song with arranger Paul Campbell on piano and the orchestra quartet. The song was selected as part of the Ulster Orchestra’s Your Song Now project.

During the programme there will also be some special pre-recorded performances, recorded at locations across Northern Ireland, including country star Lisa McHugh, with Pete Wallace on guitar and a string quartet from the Ulster Orchestra in a wildflower meadow on the National Trust property at Mount Stewart.

Barry Douglas was recorded performing on his piano at home; Tenor George Hutton performing at a care home with a brass quintet from the Ulster Orchestra and Sam Staunton, the orchestra’s principal percussionist, on vibraphone; and jazz singer/songwriter Katherine Timoney performs alongside pianist Scott Flanigan.

Up in the North West, Ryan Vail and the Elma Orkestra, with Prima Quartet, were recorded outside Altnagelvin Hospital, vocal ensemble ARDÚ, and Christopher Blake (principal oboe with the Ulster Orchestra) and harpist Tanya Houghton in the grounds of Mount Stewart.

At 8pm John hands over to BBC Radio 3 for the Last Night Of The Proms from the Royal Albert Hall, which will also be live on BBC One. And directly after the Proms TV coverage concludes, join John and friends for Proms In Your Garden - Encore from 9.45pm-10pm, where the music continues at his house with his special guests in his back garden.

Throughout the week from Sunday 6 September to Saturday 12 September in the build up to Proms In Your Garden, BBC Radio Ulster programmes will have special guests and performances as well as some tips on how to get ready for the celebrations.

There’ll also be a chance to see some of the highlights from the programme from John Toal’s house in a special one-hour TV programme to be shown later this month on BBC One Northern Ireland.