Crowd marks centenary of two big occasions
A capacity crowd filled St Francis Xavier Cathedral last Friday for the WWI Memorial Concert in honour of two centenary events, the Armistice ending WWI on November 11, 1918 and the completion of stage one of the cathedral in August, 1918.
To mark the occasion, the cathedral and Our Lady of Sorrows chapel, the subterranean chapel dedicated to the fallen soldiers of WWI, were decked out with more than 7000 poppies.
Before the concert the Geraldton City Band entertained attendees with a selection of wartime tunes.
The concert began with the 11th Battalion Living History Unit solemnly marching into the cathedral to form a catafalque around the eternal flame to honour the fallen soldiers of WWI.
A special feature of the evening was the sounding of the Last Post and the Rouse by Joshua Duff with a bugle taken to Anzac Cove in February, 1915 by Private Roy Thompson.
Pte Thompson was killed in action only three days into the Gallipoli campaign.
His brother Claude returned to Geraldton, bringing with him the bugle. Ron Hayward of the 11th Battalion Living History Unit read the names of the 57 fallen soldiers listed on honour boards in the cathedral crypt, and a candle was lit from the eternal flame for each one to show their sacrifice is still remembered 100 years on.
The concert featured renowned artists, including Yoram Levy, principal trumpet of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, soprano Katja Webb, and organist Jacinta Jakovcevic.
A highlight of the musical section of the concert was the rendition of the very moving We Will Remember Them by Katja Webb and the Geraldton Choral Society.
The unique interior of the cathedral, together with its stunning acoustics, heightened the energy and passion brought to the concert by the artists.
The rapture of all was palpable. The great success of this event augurs well for future concerts being planned by Monsignor Hawes Heritage Events to recognise the fact the heritage of Monsignor Hawes belongs to the whole community of Geraldton and the Mid West.
11th Battalion Living History Unit members Dr Stuart Adamson, Henry Adamson and Mike McGillivray pose for a photo as Geraldton CityBand play outsideSt Francis Xavier Cathedral.