Post 5: En route to the Somme and meeting the people of Allonville

What a wonderful Wednesday our choristers had – travelling from Paris to Amiens and then performing for the wonderful people of Allonville!

Getting out of the city (from Jack)
View from the accommodation in Amiens (by Jack)

The trip to Amiens included stopping at Musee de l’Armistice, Compiègne to observe WW1 artefacts, with particular reference to Armistice Day. This was a good chance for our choristers to brush up on their knowledge of WW1 for the days ahead.


Musee de l’Armistice, Compiègne (pic by Gai)

But the highlight of the day was exploring the town of Allonville. Our choristers visited the Allonville Communal Cemetery which has 78 Commonwealth burials from WW1 (more here).

The choristers were in awe of the beautiful church, Saint-Jean Baptiste Church of Allonville,  they would perform in that evening, while being so appreciative of the reception from the local townspeople.

Ciaran Kennedy: The church wasn’t as extravagant as something such as Notre Dame, but this church had a lot more character. It had more of a ‘personable’ aspect rather than the ‘wow’ factor. I spoke to a man named Jacques last night and he told me about the church. He was partly upset that they couldn’t achieve the funds required to maintain the building because of the declining numbers in Catholicism. The community were most appreciative of our performance and I thoroughly enjoyed singing for them because of how well we were received and how much they enjoyed it. We paid a visit to the cemetery before our concert and it was very different to the huge cemetery of Paris. The cemetery was small but that’s what made me think about how most of these people here were from this community. They knew most of the people they lay down beside and it really helped me make a connection with the people and helped me understand what this experience is all about. It’s not just the soldiers that were affected, it’s the families and friends that were left behind through their sacrifice.

(pic by Jack)

Avril Hocking: The Allonville community who came to our performance last night were absolutely beautiful! They seemed so excited to hear us, meet us and feed us… We sang a wide variety of pieces ranging from our remembrance pieces to our upbeat light-hearted pieces, including two encores!! We shared dinner with the community after the performance and there definitely wasn’t any shortage of food! The people of Allonville went above and beyond to look after us and I’m very grateful to have been able to experience it all with such beautiful people – both Birralee and the Allonville community!

Anzac Day Commemoration Choir Conductor Jenny Moon: Tonight we sang for the community of Allonville. Performing to a full church, the singers gave a 75 minute concert receiving two standing ovations. The beautiful acoustics of the church lent themselves perfectly to our repertoire and the audience was incredibly welcoming and appreciative. The crowd favourite was the World War One Medley, with the audience instantly recognising and clapping along to It’s A Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles. We have had three concerts in three days, all very different venues, experiences and audiences. A representative from the Australian Embassy summed it up last night when she said how proud they were of these young ambassadors who are sharing their music with such energy, team commitment and obvious enjoyment. 

A very special thank you to M. Eric Brisse from the Somme region for arranging the concert in Allonville, and the upcoming concerts, and to the Allonville Mayor, M. Joël Delrue and Deputy-Mayor, M. Lemaire, along with the incredibly hospitable and supportive community.

Today the choristers have their first official rehearsal at the The Digger Memorial in Bullecourt, where they will perform in the centennial service Anzac Day afternoon.

This evening (Thursday), they will perform at their second town concert, this time in Vignacourt.

We look forward to sharing their ongoing adventure through these beautiful French communities.

#vobanzacdaychoir #wewillrememberthem #lestweforget

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