Category Archives: Western Front Centenary Choir

The AP experience – What our accompanying people remember from our tours

Since our tours began as part of the WW1 Western Front Centenary Choir project, we’ve always shared experiences from our choristers’ perspectives.

So, for this post, we’ve taken a different approach, asking our APs (those non-choristers who have accompanied our tours) to share their memories.

Tour 1: 2015 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir (Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux and Service at the Digger Memorial, Bullecourt) 

Philip and Sally Willington toured in support of their daughter Jane Murtagh and her husband, Brendan. The trip was especially relevant to the Willingtons having an ancestor who served on the Western Front from 1916 – 18.

2015 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir

The 2015 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir, taken by the Willingtons at the Victoria School.

“We had the great pleasure of accompanying the choir on the tour to Villers-Bretonneux for the Anzac Day Dawn Service and each of the other performances in the various battlefield towns around the area of the Somme.

“The afternoon service on Anzac Day at Bullecourt was very inspirational in beautiful spring afternoon weather. There seemed to be a great sense of relief that came over the members of the choir once they had finished their formal performance commitments after several days of touring. This relief culminated in some drinks in the main road of Bullecourt, and an impromptu performance of The Parting Glass as a show of thanks to the organiser of their tour. I understand it was the favourite song amongst the choir members and it was very emotional and inspirational.

“The members of the choir spent some time experiencing the history of the war at local museums and other displays and seemed to be quite affected by the tragedy. They were wonderful ambassadors for Australia, delicately balancing the celebration of the Anzac landing centenary and also demonstrating great respect for the tens of thousands of Australians who were killed or wounded in the area of the Somme.

“I am sure they impressed everyone who had the pleasure of seeing them perform with both their singing ability as a choir and also as young Australian ambassadors to an area of France that holds Australia in such high esteem.

“One highlight was the choir’s performance in the Villers-Bretonneux Covered Market with some of the local primary school children singing Waltzing Matilda which resulted in a rousing standing ovation and was very moving. It was a fitting end to an evening in the town which proudly displays the sign ‘Do Not Forget Australia’ in the nearby primary school playground, with local students apparently sings the Australian National Anthem every day.”

Tour 2: 2016 Anzac Day Centenary Choir (Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux and Service at the Digger Memorial, Bullecourt) 

Miree Le Roy supported her daughter Isabelle Fielding on this tour.

“The Dawn Service was very organised but somewhat sterile (not to mention freezing), however, the service at Bullecourt was much more intimate and meaningful. The rain during the service seemed very fitting,” she said.

“I would highly recommend the experience. The visiting to the various memorial sites and museums is not something you would typically do except on a trip such as this.

“It gave me a greater understanding of a terrible time in history that we tend not to consider here in Australia.”

Tour 3: 2016 Western Front Centenary Choir (Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles and Pozieres) 

Kym Boon toured as an AP in support of Sarah Morton.

“The beauty and solemnity of the ceremonies was a highlight. It was great to be a part of it all and witness it in person.”

Other highlights included being able to “… share in some small way the choristers’ experience of this special event, to experience the beauty and magic of what the Birralee choirs can do in such an emotional tour, to learn in a more intimate way about what happened to those who defended our country during WW1.

“Observing the obvious bonds between the choristers and seeing them further develop during the tour was another highlight. The impromptu performances in Amiens and Albert cathedrals were intimate and beautiful and reflected the emotional investment of the choristers in the overall experience.”

Tour 4: 2017 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir (Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux and Service at the Digger Memorial, Bullecourt) 

Brigitte Deeb accompanied her son Anthony, while being a manager of the tour. While she didn’t have a family member who served in WW1, she was grateful to learn so much and enjoyed hearing family stories from others.

Reflecting upon the services she attended, she noted:

“It was an almost sombre, eerie feeling, and I had to pinch myself a few times. It was a wonderful experience and one I would highly recommend to anyone considering being a part of such an event and tour,” she said.

For those future APs, Brigitte offered the following advice:

“Do some research on your family prior to tour to make it more memorable. There is quite a lot of free time for APs, particularly in Paris so make the most of this amazing city and make some plans.”

Claire Grebert supported Tilly Lawson on the same tour, with the family having two distant relatives remembered at The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux. She laid a wreath at the Anzac Day Dawn Service in their honour.

Reflecting on the service, she noted:

“It was very cold – the conditions 100 years ago must have been horrific, I also wondered about the experience of the locals and their interaction with the troops,” she said.

Experiences that will stay with Claire include “… the choir’s performances in the churches. The sound was magnificent. Also, the war graves were sobering.”

“Overall, the tour was excellent – the care taken at the beginning of the trip when we received our envelope of metro tickets and other items touched me with the thoughtfulness of it.”


The APs! Michael, Phil, Steve, Robyn and Sandra.

Tour 5: 2017 Western Front Centenary Choir (Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood, Belgium) 

Steven and Robyn Davey, parents of chorister, Georgia, attended the tour where our Western Front Centenary Choir performed at the Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

“It was so memorable to have the opportunity to join with members of the choir representing our county at these important events. On many occasions the emotions were overwhelming for the choristers and personally for us. It was extremely well organised in terms of performances, visits to cemeteries and memorials, museums, as well as accomodation. The Birralee tour organisers were amazing too. It was a very happy tour group as well.”

For the Daveys, there were many highlights including the choir singing at Menin Gate on two occasions, meeting the locals for choral performances, impromptu performances upon visits to various cemeteries, along with the Dawn Service at Polygon Wood.


Steve and Robyn Davey.

“As dawn broke, a mist rolled in on us. After entering via the impressive re-enactments during the Reflective Trail we experienced the haunting sound of a didgeridoo and later the bagpipes were played.

“It was a chilling reminder of what it might have been like for the young men who sacrificed all for their country over 100 years ago. The Australian Memorial sits high on the butte as a reminder of the sacrifices made.

“There are rows and rows of headstones as reminders of what occurred here and how significant it was. It was special to be a part of the commemoration with the choir, the Australian Army Band, Crown Princess of Belgium- Princess Astrid and our Governor General. It was great to be an Australian overseas.”


Thanks to all of the APs who have been involved in each tour and have added so much to the experience through supporting our choirs as a cheer squad and providing support during emotional experiences.

Are you a past AP? Tell us about your experience by commenting below, or email

Day 7: Polygon Wood – We will remember them

At 12.45am Tuesday morning, we were on the bus.

Performing in the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate just a few hours earlier, it was a bit tricky to get a rest in – some of us managed, but most were too excited for the day ahead.

Having heard so much about the Remembrance Trail on site, set up by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, our tour manager / mum, Rochelle, arranged for the choristers and APs to be dropped off at the beginning of the trail to experience what the attendees would witness. It would also set the tone for the morning of reflection and remembrance.

The trail through Polygon Wood was lined with information plaques and as we got further, we were an audience to various activations, most we weren’t expecting. There were actors in replica trenches or huts taking on the roles of army cooks, officers or soldiers. It was so incredibly surreal yet authentic to witness all this in the misty darkness.


In the distance there were gunfire and explosive sound effects, while the informative plaques took us on a journey explaining the events that took place which claimed more than 5,000 Australian lives, as well as those from New Zealand and other countries in September 1917.

One path led us off the trail to Scott Post, a German bunker captured by Australians. It was named in honour of Distinguished Service Order awardee Lieutenant Colonel Allan Humphrey Scott, Commander of the 56th Australian Infantry Battalion, killed on 1 October 1917.

Visual presentations showed soldier life in WW1 and what this now beautiful site had looked like 100 years ago, when it was completely destroyed by warfare.

The final checkpoint before Buttes New British Cemetery was a field of handmade poppies. The poppies were from 5000 Poppies, an organisation who stage activations across the world planting poppies that people send in with images of soldiers who have served. Lynn Berry from 5000 Poppies informed us that she had provided 3000 poppies to the Rotary Club of Armentieres to be planted at commemorative events such as this.

The effect was beautiful! Voices of Birralee’s Birralee Blokes’ rendition of In Flanders Fields was played. (On a side-note, James, one of our choristers, was one of the Birralee Blokes who recorded for this track in 2004).

At the end of the trail, our choristers had a quick look around the site in the dark and eeriness of the morning before heading to our greenroom / tent for breakfast, before warm ups.

Our first set was a part of the pop-up entertainment to engage the audiences as they arrived. In this set we performed four songs – a great chance to break the ice and overcome any nerves before the filmed pre-dawn and Dawn Service began.

We then headed back to our tent for the final break and to add layers to withstand the cold especially as dawn approached.

Voices of Birralee on stage with the Australian Army Band (pic by Rochelle).

On the main stage, we performed pre-service entertainment with the band and some by ourselves.

By then most of the crowd had arrived, along with the VIP parties, including Australia’s Governor General, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, Princess of Belgium.

We were sat together on the stage with the New Zealand Memorial behind us, thousands of graves in front of us and as we glanced up we could see the iconic rising sun on the Fifth Australian Division Memorial at the top of the buttes.

When the official Dawn Service began, it started to get cooler. All was put into perspective, however, when remembering the horror that took place on this site 100 years ago. All we had to do was sing the beautiful pieces we had rehearsed and stay awake for an hour or so – a very small task in comparison.

The service was very moving with speeches delivered by Sir Cosgrove, Princess Astrid and more, and we sang O Valiant Hearts, the Australian National Anthem and music to accompany the wreath laying.

We lay a wreath on behalf of Birralee and on behalf of Geraldine and Bernie Knapp for their relative Patrick Bugden VC.


We also lay a wreath for the family of Private James Alexander McAllister who was killed on 26 September 1917 and has no known grave.


When the Dawn Service ended, we sang our post-service set with the band. Just as we finished the last note of our final song, My Country, the Governor General appeared on stage and told us that Princess Astrid would like to meet us.

Exercising perfect protocol, our two singers in the front row, Jules and Olivia, greeted the two dignitaries, while it was joked that Jules was about to pass out from excitement.

The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove with Princess Astrid from Belgium joins the choir and Australian Army Band on stage for an encore (pic by Robyn)

The press by this point had swarmed forward around the stage to take pics of this exchange. It was pretty exciting. We then sang an encore of Waltzing Matilda with the band, as requested by Sir Cosgrove.

Remaining on stage we took photos of our group, while various attendees requested photos with us.




This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here we met Michael Whitty – he is cycling through all the battlefields in Europe and Turkey during the centenary period, with his ancestor’s diary in his pocket who served in WW1. One of our choristers’ Amirah remembered that her mum chatted with Michael in July last year when one of our choir’s performed at the Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles. We look forward to catching up with him next year in either Le Hamel or Villers-Bretonneux in France.


After the service we headed back to our tent with the APs to regroup after an emotional morning as the sun began to rise, adding a glow to the 5th Australian Division Memorial.

The Fifth Division Memorial as the sun begins to rise at Butts New British Cemetery (pic by Kerry).

We sleepily headed back to our hotel in Kortrijk for a few hours’ rest before the tour would officially end that night with a group dinner, and of course a final song by the group before parting ways.


It’s been an awesome tour for all involved, but not possible without the input of a number of people. Thank you to:

  • Julie Christiansen OAM, Voices of Birralee Founder & Artistic Director
  • Paul Holley OAM, our conductor
  • Rochelle Manderson for her behind-the-scenes work in the lead up to the tour, while ensuring all ran smoothly
  • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Australian Army Band conductor Major Glenn Rogers and his musicians
  • Sue Edwards, Definitive Events 
  • The International Singers and Christ Church Lille 
  • Protestantse Kerk Brugge
  • Sint Maartenskerk, Kortrijk, the Pro Ecclesia Choir and congregation
  • The Ashgrove – the Gap Lions Club 
  • And thank you to everyone at home for your support!


If you missed it, you can catch up on the pre-dawn and Dawn Service via this link.

Thanks so much for reading and for following us on this incredible journey!

We look forward to sharing more blogs from our overseas trips in the future as part of this very special commitment.

#Belvob2017 #ww1 #wewillrememberthem

DAY 6: One more sleep!

Most of Monday was a rest day for our choristers before the final two performances of the tour; The Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate and the Anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood early Tuesday morning at Buttes New British Cemetery.

And just so you don’t miss it – make sure you tune into the livestream on YouTube from 1.05pm (Aust Time Tuesday) for the pre-service and continue watching via YouTube or the ABC from 1.30pm for the Dawn Service.

Our choristers had a later start than usual today (Monday), heading to Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke to discover more about WW1 and what happened in the Flanders region.


It was an incredibly comprehensive museum, with adjacent original dug outs used by Australian soldiers. There were also replicas of the trenches from WW1.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the way back to our hotel in Kortrijk, we stopped by Essex Farm Cemetery. This Cemetery has a memorial for John McCrae, the Lieutenant Colonel and doctor with the Canadian Army who wrote the famous poem, In Flanders Fields.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The memorial states the poem’s words which McCrae is said to have scribed when his friend was killed in 1915.

The cemetery also has a memorial for the 49th West Riding Division, a division from Yorkshire, England which lost 9,500 lives by the end of WW1.

After a restful afternoon in Kortrijk, our choristers and APs were on the bus by 6.30pm to head to Ypres to perform at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While this service is held at 8pm every night, tonight’s commemorative event involved our choir, along with the Australian Army Band and dignitaries, including the Governor General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).

Our choir enjoyed performing O Valiant Hearts, Amazing Grace and the Australian and Belgian National Anthems.

Now, it’s time for a bit of sleep, before our choristers and APs are back on the bus at 12.45am to head to Buttes New British Cemetery. 

It’s going to be an incredibly emotional morning and we will perform out best to honour our soldiers doing what Birralee does best – singing.

Tune in if you can! But we’ll tell you all about it soon.

#belvob2017 #wewillrememberthem #lestweforget

DAY 5: Performing in unique places

On Sunday it was back on site at Buttes New British Cemetery for another full day’s rehearsal for the Anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The choristers were able to check out the site more, while also making friends with the Australian Army Band musicians, led by their conductor Major Glenn Rogers. As a gesture of appreciation for their great work, we gave them Birralee badges.

Voices of Birralee with the Australian Army Band (pic by Rochelle)

Rehearsal included running through the full service for Tuesday morning. It gave the choristers a chance to get an idea of what they can expect, including preparing them for how emotional it will be. A roll of honour was played showing the number of young men lost, all of similar age to our singers.

After rehearsals, we headed to Sint Maartenskerk, a catholic cathedral in Kortrijk to provide the music for the evening’s mass. This beautiful church with gothic architecture, opened in 1390 and like many churches throughout Europe, it has amazing acoustics.

It was such a change to sing inside the cathedral compared to singing outside all day for rehearsals. Our voices carried beautifully throughout the arches of the church no matter how softly we sang.

At the end of the service, the priest loudly clapped and the congregation followed, giving our choristers a standing ovation.

(On a side note, we were delighted to see one of the International Singers – who we performed a concert with on Sunday – come and watch us perform!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the mass, the Pro Ecclesia Choir hosted us for wine and cake and it was lovely chatting with the choristers and other members of the church.

They showed us such wonderful hospitality and the organist, Dirk Blockeel, gave us an exclusive performance of Bach, allowing us to hear the music reverberate throughout this acoustically stunning space.

Thank you very much to Dirk and Hugo van Malder for hosting us so well – it was such a unique experience for all!

Next up, Monday.

Our choristers will have a break from rehearsals and are heading to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke before performing at The Last Post Ceremony, at Menin Gate tonight.

We’ll then be having a few hours’ sleep prior to what we’re all here for, performing at the Dawn Service for the Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

On Tuesday, you can watch the livestream of the event, with the pre-service via YouTube from 1.05pm (Aust time), and then the Dawn Service from 1.30pm (Aust time) – watch via  YouTube or on the ABC. YouTube link here.

More soon! 

#belvob2017 #ww1 #wewillrememberthem

Day 4: Honouring the brave

The choristers packed up early from Ypres to travel to their next destination, Kortrijk, but on the way, they’d have a full day of rehearsals for the Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

They arrived on site and took in all the beauty, all the while more appreciated knowing what happened in this region.


Rehearsals were for both the pre-dawn and Dawn Service for Tuesday morning. During breaks, choristers climbed the buttes (ridge) to the Fifth Division Memorial overlooking the Buttes New British Cemetery, catching up with our APs at various stages along the way.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Behind the memorial, there is a path through the woods which attendees at the Dawn Service will walk through on Tuesday.

The choir in the woods behind the memorial site (pic by Rochelle / Lucy and Maree)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Throughout the wood, fabric poppies have been planted and at one check point Flanders Fields plays (the version performed by our Birralee Blokes!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After rehearsals, the choir and APs travelled to pay respect to Private Patrick Budgen VC, laid to rest at Hooge Crater Cemetery.

Private Bugden is the ancestor of Bernie Knapp. Geraldine Knapp was the former Councillor of the Gap Ward in Brisbane and was instrumental in helping Voices of Birralee in its early stages.

Private Bugden served in the 31st Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was killed in action on 28 September 1917, aged only 20. In the Story of Paddy Budgen VC by John Barnes, a part of Private Budgen’s letter to his mother is noted:

“Going to my duty every week and if by chance anything happens to me, rest assured that I feel in my heart that I shall gain a place of happiness for I have never done a deed in my life that I am ashamed of. So I fear nothing.” 

Private Bugden was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. The Australian National Memorial notes that the events that led to this award took place in late September 1917.

“On two occasions, when held up by intense fire from machine-guns, he led small parties to silence the enemy posts. Five times he rescued wounded men trapped by intense shelling and machine-gun fire. Once, seeing that an Australian corporal had been taken prisoner, he single-handedly rushed to his comrade’s aid, shooting and bayoneting the enemy. He kept fighting until he was killed.On two occasions, when held up by intense fire from machine-guns, he led small parties to silence the enemy posts. Five times he rescued wounded men trapped by intense shelling and machine-gun fire. Once, seeing that an Australian corporal had been taken prisoner, he single-handedly rushed to his comrade’s aid, shooting and bayoneting the enemy. He kept fighting until he was killed.”

Our choir sang Amazing Grace to Private Bugden’s grave.

After leaving the cemetery, our crew arrived in Kortrijk which will be our home for the next four nights.

The choir had a few hours’ break, exploring the town, before they headed back to Buttes New British Cemetery for night time rehearsal so that lighting could be tested to see how it will look in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The lighting provided a completely different mood to what was experienced during the day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overall it was a huge day for our choristers with Day 4 (Sunday) also set to be eventful. It will begin with rehearsals again before we’ll be heading back to Kortrijk to perform at Saint-Martin’s Church’s service.

More soon! 

#belvob2017 #wewillrememberthem #ww1

Day 3: Rehearsals and sharing our love for music

The choir was on the bus at 7.45am ready to begin the day by heading to a nearby hall to rehearse music with the Australian Army Band for two services.

The choir will perform at Menin Gate, Ypres again on Monday night, at a service with the band, while they also rehearsed for Tuesday morning’s Dawn Service for the Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

The choristers then headed to Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke  where the centenary service will be held. It was a hive of activity, with everything being set up for the significant event, including lighting, staging, chairs for attendees and lots more.

We were told by the DVA they chose for this service to be at Polygon Wood because the battle within the Third Battle of Ypres is lesser known than others, despite it claiming some of the most Australian casualties (5,770).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Dawn Service on Tuesday morning will be an incredibly moving event for both the choristers and audience. The audience will walk through the wood before getting to the cemetery and along the way will view installations showing what the site would have looked like 100 years ago.

Our choir will perform at the Spirit of Place service (live-streamed on YouTube – we’ll share a link soon!) and then the Dawn Service broadcast via the ABC at 1.30pm Australian time.

While the choir was rehearsing, the APs were off exploring In Flanders Fields Museum and other sites of Ypres, before joining the choir again after rehearsals to visit Tyne Cot Cemetery for the afternoon.

This cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world. Located in Zonnebeke, it lays to rest 11,954 soldiers, with over 8,300 unknown. Over 1300 soldiers buried here are Australian.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In most war cemeteries in Europe, the white headstones are usually lined up perfectly, however (as we were told by the DVA earlier in the day), when the headstones are close together, or positioned in isolation, it means the soldier/s were buried where they fell.

The sobering sight showcased the emphatic impact of WW1 and the massive toll on life.

After this visit, the crew headed to Christ Church, Lille in France for a concert with local choir, The International Singers.

It was such a fun concert where we performed a number of songs from our repertoire, with two pieces sung with The International Singers to conclude the concert.

The International Singers welcomed us so warmly, as did the community who came to watch and it was wonderful to see just how much these choristers loved sharing music as much as we do.

A huge thank you to The International Singers for having us, including Simon, Rowan and Nick. Also thank you to Vicar Canon Debbie Flach and Ms Rosemary Uylett.

Today our choir is ready for another day of rehearsals at Buttes New British Cemetery, before heading to our next accommodation in Kortrijk.

More soon!

#belvob2017 #ww1 #wewillrememberthem

DAY TWO: Discovering connections

The choir was up early on Day Two to leave the much loved Brugge to head to the next check point of the tour, Ypres, in West Flanders.

First stop on the way was discovering the historical relevance of Dunkirk in French Flanders at the Fort des Dunes Museum. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dunkirk is commonly known for its significance during WW2 (the recent movie Dunkirk is based on when 338,000 allied troops were evacuated from the beaches of France from May – June 1940).

At the museum our crew discovered about this massive effort, as well as the site’s relevance to WW1 and previous conflicts. Self-guided tours took the choristers through bunkers, cells and over forts.

After lunch in the nearby town of Dunkirk, the group were taken to Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery,  the Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground for the WW1 dead.

While reading about the history of this site, which has over 10,000 buried of 30 nationalities, it was realised that on 21 September 1917 (which was the day we were visiting – simply 100 years later), the cemetery had buried the most soldiers, 107.

In a tribute to those lost, our choristers sang We Will Remember Them (based on the word’s from Laurence Binyon’s famous ode).

One of our choristers, Amirah Farrell, found her ancestor, Thomas Marshall’s grave. Marshall served in the 4th Reinforcements, 22nd Battalion, enlisting on 15 July 1915.

He died on 9 November 1917 from wounds in Zonnebeke, Belgium. Below, Amirah talks about the significance of how she will be singing at the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood on Tuesday morning, where her relative was injured a century ago.

Our choristers and accompanying people then found an Australian soldier’s grave to stand behind, and each wrote down the name of the soldier to research their history.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This afternoon the choir arrived in Ypres, for its first performance. Two of our choristers, Kerry and Lucy squeezed a quick trip to the In Flanders’ Fields Museum exploring the toll of WW1 on this region.

It’s a significant region – as we were driving into the town, the bus driver pointed out the author of In Flanders Fields, Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae is buried in Wimereux Cemetery nearby.

There were many incredible displays at the museum, and this was one of them – This piece of wood notes the destruction WW1 caused (see the dark almost triangular markings), but symbolically shows that life goes on from destruction with the tree continuing to grow with rings outside these markings.


That night, our choir performed at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, a nightly memorial dedicated to the Commonwealth and British who went missing during WW1.

It was amazing how quickly the crowd gathered, with rows going back five people or so. It’s incredible that this kind of remembrance service gets such support.

Our choir sang Amazing Grace and Danny Boy during the wreath laying ceremony and the acoustics were fantastic – the voices seemed to float up and around the arches and against the walls. As the service ended, a number of attendees thanked our choir and asked where we were from.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, Day Two was massive, with Day Three (Friday) also to be full of activity. This will begin with a rehearsal with the band, followed by technical rehearsals at Zonnebeke for the Centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood.

Tomorrow evening we will travel to Lille in France to perform a concert with the International Singers.

More soon…

#belvob2017 #wewillrememberthem #lestweforget #music