Musical director from Portsmouth hangs up the baton after 40 years of theatre

Alan Pring, musical director for SDMS. Picture: Supplied
Alan Pring, musical director for SDMS. Picture: Supplied
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A MUSICAL director who has been a part of Portsmouth’s music scene for more than 40 years will retire this weekend.

Alan Pring, 66 from Cosham, has been playing a part in musicals across the region since 1976.

Alan Pring conducts the Portsmouth Youth Orchestra at The Guildhall back in 2005. Picture: Michael Scaddan

Alan Pring conducts the Portsmouth Youth Orchestra at The Guildhall back in 2005. Picture: Michael Scaddan

This weekend, he will hang up the baton at his final show, Oklahoma, being held at Ferneham Hall in Fareham.

Starting with Solent Theatre Company, Alan is most well known as the musical director for South Downe Musical Society, where he has been since 1979.

He said: ‘I’ve been around for a fair few years now but it's time for me to call it a day.

‘There have been a lot of memorable moments in that time, especially with the challenges – I’ve done West Side Story a few times and that’s always tricky for everyone involved.

‘But if you have good principles and a good chorus, your work is made so much easier and that is what I’ve been blessed with.’

Much of Alan’s life has revolved around musical theatre, with his mother Audrey being the president of SDMS for a few years and even meeting his wife Tricia through the group.

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The couple have since been together for 38 years, having two children, Anna and Peter, who are now also musical stalwarts.

‘I met my wife at an after-show party following a performance of Oliver,’ he said.

‘Now Peter plays the trumpet and Anna is leading the orchestra, so to have both of them and my wife at my final show is an incredible feeling.’

Alan’s retirement will give him more time to focus on his other hobbies, such as gardening and playing the trumpet.

Following the birth of a grandson, he says he may also find himself on babysitting duty to fill up the now empty evenings.

He said: ‘Tricia tells me it will be a bit of a culture shock, because I’ve done rehearsals of some sort every night for the past 40 years.

‘I’m still doing some singing rehearsals in Portsmouth but this will give me a lot more free time.

‘I’ve made some great memories and great friends through musical theatre.’