En­joy a stir­ring per­for­mance on Novem­ber 11

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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.

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