I first visited the Royal Albert Hall as a child with my family to attend the London District Boys Brigade Galas held there every year and was overwhelmed by the size of the place. I first attended a Prom concert in 1975 and never dreamed that I would one day perform there myself. Later that year, I auditioned for the BBC Choral Society and was accepted, doing my first studio recording with them in January 1976.
Just six months later, I was in the choir seats behind the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the First Night of the 1976 Proms singing Beethoven's 'Missa Solemnis' with Colin Davis conducting. I sang at the Royal Albert Hall in 40 concerts with the BBC Choral Society, later renamed the BBC Symphony Chorus, both in the Proms and at other events there from 1976-1982. It was a great privilege to perform in such a wonderful hall to such an appreciative audience. Since then, I have attended many other Proms and concerts as an audience member and always feel a great thrill as I enter that special building, which holds so many memories for me. Sitting in the auditorium, I feel like the building is putting its arms around me and giving me a hug, as if it is as pleased to see me back, as I am to be there in 'Dear Albert' once again. Being named Victoria, after the Queen who laid the foundation stone, is another personal connection for me to the Royal Albert Hall.