When you hear the word “Prom,” you may instantly be transported back to those years of school where you spent months agonizing over which person to ask to the prestigious dance,what you were going to wear and innumerable other choices that had to be made. When asked what he thought of when I said “Prom;” Thomas “TK” Kurtz III, General Manager of The Fighter Factory said this: “Pulling up to the fancy high class hotel in my big Chevy truck (that I still own) all covered in mud.” That pretty much sums up the American ideal of what a Prom is, where you pull up to the big night in whatever ride you’re in dressed to impress and ready to have the night of your life. What if I told you that Prom means something completely different in the United Kingdom and right here on our very shores at Virginia Beach, Virginia?
Prom, short for the word Promenade, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “Promenade Concert” which is where we’ve derived the abbreviated word from in the United States. In the United Kingdom, they often hold Promenades or “Proms” in the English countryside where you can purchase tickets to sit a small venue and enjoy the sounds of an orchestral suite for 45 minutes to an hour or so. Some of these Proms are taken a step further at some of the smaller aerodromes around England where orchestral music is accompanied by the roar of engines as warbirds make passes behind the crowds that have come to watch the show. This is one of Mr. Gerald “Jerry” Yagen’s visions for his private collection of WWI and WWII aircraft when he started hosting his own Flying Proms each year at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.
The concept is very simple; you take a world-class orchestra, add in vintage aircraft, and cap it all off with fireworks from top notch professionals. It is a proven combination that’s worked time and time again for thousands of people in Virginia Beach and abroad but the words of TK sum the evening up perfectly: “Watching the planes cross behind the stage at the right time. The music mixed with the engine noise is awesome!!” Where else can you find extraordinary music mixed with extraordinary old aircraft and great company?
After my personal experience with the people down at Military Aviation Museum and The Fighter Factory, I strongly urge all of you to make the trip down to VA Beach, VA this weekend for the Flying Prom on Saturday, June 7th. The gates open up at 3pm with the concert beginning promptly at 6:45pm. Tickets are $45 for general admission (with seats), $30 for general admission on the lawn, and $20 for youth (ages 6-18). Sypmhonicity will provide the music with fireworks provided by Zambelli Fireworks after the show and the flying done by Military Aviation Musuem’s aircraft piloted by their staff. I can personally guarantee that you will never see a better show or spend time around better people, and it is in your best interest to take the time to catch this show.