Day 1 – 2: Arriving in Paris!

Voices of Birralee’s 2018 Anzac Day Commemoration Choir has arrived in Paris!

Our choristers were delighted to have the chance to explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which included checking out some of the architecture, art, food, as well as venturing to the outskirts to have some fun at Disneyland.

One group said they warmed up their voices singing along to all the Disney classics, including the new ear worm, “I am a princess, I am a pirate,” while others met some Disney favourites; Minnie Mouse and Mr Incredible.

Exploring included climbing the impressive Eiffel Tower, touring the eerie, yet interesting underground ossuaries of the Catacombs, while sampling some local cuisine, including arguably the best croissants in the world.

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On Monday morning, the choristers united for the first time in three weeks for a rehearsal, with their conductor, Paul Holley. This marked it was time to get down to business and remember the main purpose of this tour – to perform at the Anzac Day Dawn Service on Wednesday 25 April, which will also mark the Centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.

But of course there will be some wonderful concerts in between, where the choristers will meet many communities in villages significant to Australia’s involvement in the First World War.

VOB France Tour 2018
The crew are back together! (Pic from Kerry)

One of these special concerts was held Monday night, where our choir was welcomed so warmly by their host, Paris choir Ensemble Mångata and their director Hernán Alcalá, at Église Protestante des Batignolles.

Our choristers from our inaugural World War One Commemoration tour would remember meeting this talented choir in 2015. It was a privilege for our 2018 choir to share a concert with them again.

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As one chorister Kerry Pickering noted, our choir loved performing again and can’t wait for the upcoming concerts throughout the tour.

“The other choir were amazing, performing a couple of familiar pieces from Voices of Birralee’s repertoire. We also met some of the audience and one lady, from a couple I spoke with, was a musician herself and said it was the first time she’d heard Australian music, and she loved it,” Kerry said.


Thank you very much to Hernán and to Ensemble Mångata for hosting our choir and we wish them well on their own special tour which they embark on today to the south of France.

Voices of Birralee alumna Casey met up with the choir for last night’s concert and took this photo. 

Today (Tuesday) will be highlighted by a performance at the rekindling of the flame ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at the Arc de Triomphe. The ritual, held daily at 6.30pm is attended by many to honour those lost in war. We’re sure it will be a significant moment for our choristers on this tour, while helping to set the tone for the coming week.

We can’t wait to share the experience.

In the meantime, you can subscribe to this blog by hovering your curser over the bottom right hand corner of the page, and click on ‘Follow’ to enter your email address.

We also invite you to join our Friends of Birralee’s Anzac Centenary Tours Facebook page.

#vobanzac2018 #wewillrememberthem #lestweforget

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