BBC Concert Orchestra / Lockhart

This was a concert I'll not soon forget. For starters, I took part, contributing wobbly vocals ("You must remember this … ") to composer and arranger Don Sebesky's medley of Hollywood songs. Luckily, my efforts were heard by neither myself nor anyone else, thanks to about 5,000 other people in the audience – including Proms director Roger Wright – who sang along, too, encouraged by the BBC Concert Orchestra's new principal conductor, Keith Lockhart, as part of this light-hearted, light-headed bank holiday concert.

This was Lockhart's first Prom, but he has been working with the orchestra for some time, and the American and his new ensemble read each other perfectly. A beautiful, smooth-toned but unslushy performance of George Butterworth's The Banks of Green Willow proved this; a spirited, superbly paced rendition of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story underlined it. With the first half given to British music (Arnold, Butterworth, Walton and Graham Fitkin) and the second half to American (Bernstein, Gershwin, Williams, Warren), the programme combined popular appeal with the same imaginative, thoughtful planning given to its more serious counterparts. This was no kitschy "crossover" event, but a nice balance of unsentimental nostalgia and unapologetic joy.

The concert was also memorable for presenting the smallest cellist, playing the smallest cello I suspect this stage has ever seen, gamely leading her section of the BBC's Family Orchestra in the world premiere of Fitkin's PK. Inspired by the Victorian telegraph network that had its international hub in Porthcurno, Cornwall (or "PK" in code), the piece used 12 conductors to distribute morse code-inspired music among the mass of amateur players and singers swelling round the Concert Orchestra. The piece is about communication difficulties. Somehow, it just about hung together.

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