The second event of our Western Front Anzac Day & Centenary Choir Project for 2016 is about to commence, with 15 choristers now on their way (or have arrived) to France!
This blog is a preview for the trip to let you know where our ensemble will be heading, led by conductor, Voices of Birralee Founder and Artistic Director Julie Christiansen OAM, assisted by Claire Preston, with the tour managed by Rochelle Manderson.
And of course, we’ll be documenting the journey with a daily blog over the 10 day trip, so you can feel a part of it!
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The choir will meet in Paris on Thursday, 14 July – perfectly timed for Bastille Day, before they travel north to Lille, and on to Amiens, Fromelles and Pozières, on the Western Front.
If you had a chance to hear our Western Front Centenary Choir at their Dedication Service & Concert in June, you will know how much work they have put into this trip, and that with their beautiful music, they will do us proud.
The choir’s journey will see them perform at the Australian Memorial Service at Pheasant Wood Cemetery, followed by the Australian Memorial Service at VC Corner Cemetery next Tuesday (19 July).
Pheasant Wood is an incredibly significant location in our history, further brought to light recently, with the discovery of a mass grave with the remains of 250 British and Australian soldiers. These soldiers died in the battles of Fromelles, a battle believed to have caused the greatest loss for a single division in WW1, in 24 hours. The grave, discovered in 2009, was dug by the German forces in July 1916. More here.
VC Corner Cemetery is the only solely Australian cemetery in France, and the only without headstones or epitaphs (written note / dedication on tombstone).
The third official commitment of this trip is the Australian Memorial Service at the First Division Memorial, Pozieres on 23 July. This location marks the first major action the 1st Australian Division experienced on the Western Front, between 23 July – 27 July, 1916. Further reading here.
Along with the official services, which will no doubt be extremely moving and proud moments for our choristers, as they honour our Anzacs, they will bring joy to the communities throughout France through their singing. This will include concerts in Fromelles Church with the Hunter Singers and town concerts in Villers-Bretonneux and Allonville.
Of course, between these commitments, there will be lots of rehearsing, sightseeing, and investigation opportunities where our choristers will discover more about our Anzac’s involvement in WW1 on the Western Front.
We can’t wait to tell you the stories from what’s going to be an exceptional trip!