When Vicki met Vera

The Tribune (NZ) - - THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT -

Vicki Lee is on to a win­ner. The singers’s The Life and Mu­sic of Vera Lynn, orig­i­nally per­formed on An­zac Day in the Globe, not only sold out but had a reprise sell-out per­for­mance in June. What is even more spe­cial is that last month, Vicki got to meet the woman whose evoca­tive songs she per­forms in the show.

Dame Vera Lynn is 98 and is still liv­ing in her own home in Sus­sex, England.

It was an en­counter Vicki de­scribes as ‘‘sur­real’’.

‘‘We went to England to see our son in the first week of Septem­ber af­ter a trip through East­ern Europe.

‘‘I had been in touch with her daugh­ter through Dame Malv­ina Ma­jor, and there was a small win­dow of op­por­tu­nity, but it hap­pened, and it was an amaz­ing thing to think that I’ve met this won­der­ful woman who rep­re­sented so much to so many.’’

Dur­ing World War II, for songs such as We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, There’ll Al­ways Be An England, and A Nightin­gale Sang in Berke­ley Square, Dame Vera was known as ‘‘the forces’ sweet­heart’’ and was

‘‘My mother loved her songs. I’m not try­ing to be her, I’m just an in­stru­ment bring­ing her songs to her au­di­ence, and throw­ing in a bit of his­tory about the times.’’ Vicki Lee

named in 2000 as the per­son ‘‘who most rep­re­sents the spirit of the last cen­tury’’.

‘‘When I got to see her I was think­ing ‘Is this re­ally true?’ It was spe­cial to spend time with her... and she is so thrilled that the mu­sic lives on and is be­ing played to an­other gen­er­a­tion, and that younger peo­ple are keep­ing the songs go­ing.’’

Vicki de­scribed the singer as phys­i­cally frail, slightly hard of hear­ing but men­tally ‘with it’ and hav­ing a great sense of hu­mour.

When she presents her show, a spe­cial fea­ture will be a 60 sec­ond video clip she made of Dame Vera.

‘‘In it, she thanks peo­ple for keep­ing the mu­sic alive.’’

Vicki grew up on Dame Vera’s mu­sic.

‘‘My mother loved her songs. I’m not try­ing to be her, I’m just an in­stru­ment bring­ing her songs to her au­di­ence, and throw­ing in a bit of his­tory about the times. I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in his­tory, and the show is a story of her life and times.’’

Peo­ple, she says re­spond with sto­ries of their own. Through an ar­range­ment with Ro­tary, Vicki in­tends to take Vera Lynn on the road, with as many as 40 per­for­mances around the lower North Is­land. The pro­ceeds will be go­ing to Ro­tary’s youth lead­er­ship projects.

Vicki gives two per­for­mances of The Life and Mu­sic of Vera Lynn in Globe 2 on Sun­day Novem­ber 1 at 2.30pm and 7pm. The shows in­clude a cup of tea and a An­zac bis­cuit, and there’ll be a chance to rem­i­nisce, with Vicki shar­ing sto­ries and mem­o­ries that peo­ple have passed on about their own wartime ex­pe­ri­ences.

Book­ings for the two per­for­mances of The Life and Mu­sic of Vera Lynn are at the Globe, 351 4409 and on­line.

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