Enjoy a stirring performance on November 11
The Queensland government, in partnership with the Queensland Music Festival, will celebrate Remembrance Day with two free concerts — one in Toowoomba and one in Cairns.
Commemorating the signing of the Armistice and the end of the First World War, these concerts will be led by renowned New Zealand baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and award-winning songstress Katie Noonan.
Accompanying their noteworthy talent will be a mass community choir made up of Toowoomba locals performing a vast repertoire of songs which reflect on the legacy of the Anzacs.
These songs have been especially chosen by music director and founder of The Choir of Hard Knocks, Dr Johnathon Welch.
“It was a wonderful journey of discovery as we delved into the archives of the State Library of Queensland and unearthed a musical treasure trove of songs and stories from WWI.
Music is a time warp in history and the music we’ve chosen reflects not only the songs that were popular and relevant 100 years ago, but also helped us create the story arc that will thread the concert together,” Dr Welch said.
He added that the concerts will have a mix of popular WWI songs the audience will be able to sing along to, as well as a newly commissioned piece by legendary Australian composer Gordon Hamilton, and some contemporary music to bring the production back to current times.
Months ago, the QMF put out the call for local choristers to audition for the chance to perform as part of this massive choir.
A sizeable group of Toowoomba locals have made it through the auditions and rehearsal phases and are now ready to
sing their hearts out.
One such local is Vivienne Mccullom, who has been singing since she was about 10 years old.
She was chosen to sing in the core choir alongside members of the community, two of whom hold a special place in her heart.
“My children sing in the Toowoomba Choral Society youth choir and will be performing in the mass choir. It’s great to be able to perform with them,” she said.
Choir members attended workshops and rehearsed with Dr Welch and Mr Hamilton, making sure their voices are in top shape for the performances.
“It was just a fantastic opportunity to work with Dr Welch,” said Vivienne, who also praised the local talents of her choir partners.
A Toowoomba community orchestra has been enlisted and will be conducted by Patrick Pickett.
The concert’s narrative will highlight the contribution of the Australian Light Horse, who turned the tide of WWI in Beersheba.
“We really hope this concert will not only be an opportunity to reflect on the loss of so many Australian lives during WWI and beyond, but also to pay tribute to every man and woman in Queensland who has served in the armed forces,” Dr Welch said, and added that the concert will finish with a sense of hope and optimism for the future.