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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Thousands enjoy Proms finale
Proms audience
Flag waving is traditional on the Last Night
More than 6,000 people took part in the Last Night of the BBC's most ambitious season of classical Proms concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall.

For the first time, there were also simultaneous Proms in the Park events around the four UK nations, attended by an estimated 70,000 people.

The closing concert of the Proms is a traditionally spectacular and rousing event with much flag-waving and audience participation.

This year's Last Night's programme included, as always, Elgar's rousing Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 (Land of Hope and Glory).

Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Henry Wood and Percy Grainger was also performed, and the evening culminated in Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and the national anthem.

David Blunkett at the Proms
Home Secretary David Blunkett joined in

But the organisers also pointed out that the night's event included pieces by international artists and new works.

It also brought together the different themes of the season. The central theme this year was Greek mythology.

Audiences in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were able to watch the action from London. They could also enjoy their own music with all six BBC national orchestras performing.

Large-scale concerts

The Last Night festivities will be followed on Sunday by the CBBC Prom in the Park, aimed at children.

The highlight of the concert will be a performance from the cast of the London musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Many pop acts are also lined up to take part.

The Queen at Prom 17
The Queen met some of the Promenaders ealier in the series

The plans to extend the Last Night festivities to a larger audience are a reflection of a general move to widen the annual music season's programme.

This year's programme contained more large-scale opera and choral music than seen before at the Proms.

There were 31 major premières from 29 composers from around the world, including seven new BBC commissions.

Other highlights included a Prom attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in their first visit to the BBC Proms since 1994.

About 340,000 classical music fans are estimated to have watched the live events and millions more to have tuned in to 300 hours of broadcasts on BBC television and radio.

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