Anzac Day – we are ready!
We are collected at 1.30am and arrive safely to the The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux
Snug in the tent with some brekky ‘amazing’ doesn’t begin to describe the atmosphere.
The seats begin to fill and our choristers have some time to take photos to document this significant day of their singing careers.
The choir mingles with so many talented people who are part of the commemoration. Choristers Natasha Calderbank and Beth Price meet Jesse the piper. Jesse will play one song with the band and choir and then will head up to the tower to perform. It is going to get a little chilly for him with the kilt on!
It’s 4am and time for warm ups!
The choir assembles for the pre-service program. Despite the rain, they sounds amazing!
Choristers Julia Bruerton, Luke Krause and James Higgins talk about what they felt as they first came onto the site.
We have a short break between the pre-service program and awaiting broadcast of Gallipoli to finish before our dawn service begins.
The choir had worn ponchos for the pre-service program but during their break between services they decide wearing ponchos is not a way to honour the soldiers who fought in worse conditions than a bit of rain and cold. It is wonderful to see them embrace the Anzac spirit!
The choir is back out for the main event, the Anzac Day Dawn Service. Watch how the sky changes as we approach dawn.
We are so proud of the choir and how they perform. They sing beautifully during the pre-service program, during the dawn service and the public wreath laying.
After the dawn service, we leave Villers-Bretonneux to join in the town service at Bullecourt in the afternoon.
When the service finishes everyone walks to the ‘Digger’ Memorial. The Royal Australian Navy Band leads the procession and we join in.
The choir readies themselves for their final performance of the day – the Australian service at the ‘Digger’ Memorial, Bullecourt.
This week has been a highly significant experience for everyone involved and here are some comments from two of our choristers, Emily Foster and Bree Cohen.
Emily Foster: “After joining the Voices of Birralee at a very young age I was faced with a young diagnosis of MS and it progressed very quickly limiting my ability to walk and see. With this diagnosis, I had to take a brief break from the choir but to now be here representing my family members passed, who were involved in the war in a big way, and those present who were watching from home, I could not have felt more blessed to be here and be part of something so amazing and life changing. I could never thank people enough for this significant opportunity.”
Bree Cohen: “A special experience was swapping my City of Brisbane badge for a France army service leather badge (at least that’s what I think it is) with an older French gentleman after the mayor’s reception at Amiens town hall. I will need to do some research on the exact significance of this badge but, yeah, pretty special.”
We look forward to sharing more about our experience soon but in the meantime, thank you everyone for your support!