Crowd marks centenary of two big oc­ca­sions

Geraldton Guardian - - REMEMBRANCE DAY - Fa­ther Robert Cross

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.

Pic­ture: Hawes Her­itage Events

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.

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