AS the BSO opened the Proms in the Park 2018 with the Festive Overture by Shostakovich on Friday, the Red Arrows burst over the skyline away in the distance.

Somehow it seemed very appropriate that one distinguished institution should be paying tribute to another, albeit unintentionally.

Earlier a large number of people had no doubt been keeping everything crossed for the showers of the day to pass. They did.

The sky above Meyrick Park was clear and blue for the Classical Extravaganza, if a little on the chilly side.

Chief executive, Dougie Scarfe, welcomed the audience and then introduced Ravel’s hypnotic Bolero. Always a huge crowd favourite, all 13 minutes of it.

The BSO has given 130 performances since last year's park spectacular and of course has celebrated its 125th anniversary.

Tchaikovsky’s great ballet waltz, Sleeping Beauty, followed and the first half closed with Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Things really moved up a gear after the interval with the brooding and then rousing Finlandia by Sibelius, Saint-Saens' entertainingly haunting Danse Macabre and the Gladiator theme by Hans Zimmer.

Then the elaborate pyrotechnics kicked with almost 45 minutes of non-stop flashes and bangs, first to Handel’s Firework Music and to end, what else but the 1812 Overture complete with the Marseillaise, church bells and cannon fire.

But the orchestra wasn’t quite done. The encore featured Prokofiev’s familiar Montagues and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet also with an accompanying big budget fireworks display.

The BSO was in the very capable hands of the young conductor in association, the understated and enigmatic Victor Aviat, who ended his two year tenure with this concert.

Dougie Scarfe reminded the audience of around 2,500 that this was ‘their BSO.’

Indeed it is and we are all very grateful for that.