Traditional bank holiday weather failed to dampen the spirits of music lovers in Solihull last night as CBSO musicians staged a mini Proms concert for one lucky Birmingham Post reader.
The orchestra's Little Big Time Band set up under a gazebo in Peter Monahan's back garden to play classical favourites including Pomp and Circumstance and Jerusalem.
Mr Monahan, a former CBSO board member, had entered a competition run by The Post hoping the band would play for his wife Moyra's 80th birthday.
More than 50 guests came bearing cards, gifts, and their own chairs to sit on to enjoy the back garden Proms night.
Unfortunately, less than a minute into the concert the heavens opened, but the band played on for nearly 40 minutes before they were forced to seek shelter from the storm.
Mr Monahan, aged 76, said: "At first we weren't too worried about the weather because everybody was having such a nice time.
"But as the wind and rain persisted the band had to give up to protect their instruments. It was certainly a different way to celebrate Moyra's birthday."
He added: "I was on the board of the CBSO for seven years in the 1990s so my entry was a little bit tongue in cheek. I actually do know some of the musicians from my time there.
"We hadn't actually planned a big party. It was our golden wedding anniversary recently and that was when we had our principal celebration."
The Little Big Time Band was formed in 1995 with representatives from the main orchestra sections - strings, woodwind, percussion, brass and keyboards. Its line-up currently comprises Mike Seal on violin, Mark O'Brien on clarinet and saxophone, John Quirk on trumpet, Tom Millar on double bass, Wendy Quirk on keyboard and Peter Hill on timpani percussion.
The band also forms part of the CBSO's On The Road project, sponsored by Mitchells and Butlers, which brings live music to communities across the West Midlands.
In celebration of the brew-ery's silver anniversary as CBSO sponsors, an extra five concerts have been added to this year's programme, making a total of 25 instead of the
usual 20. This means community groups, from charities to hospital groups, can benefit from hearing free live music performed by some of the world's finest musicians.
Rachel Blackman, media relations manager for the CBSO, said: "It's a shame the heavens opened when they did but it seems everybody had a good time as long as the band played. It was like Wimbledon when all the umbrellas went up in the first minute of the performance."