Tickets and registrations are now available for two free commemorative concerts in Toowoomba and Cairns in November, which will see New Zealand baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and award-winning songstress Katie Noonan leading a mass community choir through songs that reflect on the First World War experience.
Voices of Remembrance is a musical memorial—presented by the Queensland Government in partnership with Queensland Music Festival (QMF)—commemorating the centenary of the signing of the Armistice that led to the end of the First World War. Specially selected by music director Dr Jonathon Welch, founder of The Choir of Hard Knocks, the repertoire includes anthems that reflect on war, peace and the enduring legacy of the Anzac spirit.
In addition to a world premiere by Australian composer Gordon Hamilton, musical highlights of the two-hour concert include favourite songs from the era, Keep the Home Fires Burning and It’s A Long Way to Tipperary, through to contemporary works such as Kristin Berard’s A Mother’s Plea and Eric Bogle’s And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.
QMF Artistic Director Katie Noonan said each concert would feature a distinct musical narrative, written specifically for Toowoomba and Cairns locales by Queensland playwright and director Daniel Evans.
“Voices of Remembrance spotlights the history and legacy of the community during the First World War, and acknowledges the vital role of Indigenous soldiers and the Australian Light Horse, whose actions helped turn the tide of war in favour of the allies,” Ms Noonan said.
“These powerful concerts will help everyone reconnect with moving stories from the First World War, and pay tribute to the peace that came with the signing of the Armistice.”
Toowoomba Anglican College and Preparatory School’s Director of Performing Arts, Nerida Eckert, said she was proud to perform as part of the Toowoomba core choir alongside her husband and members of her local community.
“Voices of Remembrance is a worthy celebration of Australian history and an important event to reflect on the sacrifice of ordinary Australians to provide us with a better quality of life,” Ms Eckert said. “It is a wonderful experience to perform with high calibre conductors, soloists and musicians alongside my fellow choristers.”
Community choirs all over Queensland have been rehearsing the Voices of Remembrance concert repertoire in their own communities and will showcase their work with performances at pop-up events, community gatherings or formal concerts in the lead up to, or in conjunction with their Remembrance Day services.
Many groups from across the state have embraced this opportunity, with groups from Mount Isa, across to Charters Towers and down to Cunnamulla and Scenic Rim already confirming their local performance details.
The free Voices of Remembrance concerts in Toowoomba and Cairns are part of a broad and inclusive suite of Armistice Centenary commemorations across the state to ensure the Anzac legacy is preserved for future generations.
For the full program of Armistice Centenary commemorations visit www.qld.gov.au/remembrance
Voices of Remembrance, Toowoomba, Friday November 9, 7 pm, Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. Tickets: Free, all-ages. Information and tickets: www.qld.gov.au/remembranceday
Voices of Remembrance, Cairns, Saturday November 10, 7 pm, Munro Martin Parklands, Cairns. Information and registrations: www.qld.gov.au/remembranceday
NOTE: While the performance in Cairns is not ticketed, attendees are encouraged to register their interest ahead of the event.
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