ANZAC Recreation almost a century on
BEECHWORTH Organ Society held a concert in the Town Hall in late December to re-create the original Welcome Home for the Beechworth ANZACs over a century ago.
The program bought to life the music, songs and poetry that re humour of the times.
The enthusiastic capacity audience took time to dress in 1918 fashions.
At the start young Liam Nicholson played the bagpipes and his brother Aiden accompanied him on the drums to create atmosphere at the front of the Town Hall beneath a large ‘Welcome Home’ banner.
Members of the Australian Great War Association came from Melbourne to be a part of the concert wearing genuine original uniforms from 1918.
Matt Aldridge whose charity ‘The Coo wee Ride’ raises money for veterans and farmers who are experiencing hard times with mental health, came with Michael Whitehead from Whittlesea and his horse Winifred.
When asked if he could get ing his response was, “We are not going to let some rain stop us… in true ANZAC spirit we will be there” and the proceeds from the concert were donated to his worthy cause.
Musical director Sandra Williams pulled out ‘all the stops’ to show off the Town Hall Organ with music and songs from the times with selections from Australia, France and Britain telling the story of how The Great War impacted on a small town like Beechworth.
the mood of the time with the classical music ‘Menuet’ from ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’, and ‘The Fairy Barque’played as a duet on the piano with Alison Davey.
Janet Tweedie sang ‘My Hero’ from the very popular ‘The Chocolate Soldier’, Mark Stephens sang ‘The Rose of No Mans Land’ and ‘Song of Australia’ as well as his own composition about local man Bill Birrell who never came home.
Poignant poetry recitals included ‘A letter to the Front’ from ‘The Sentimental Bloke’, presented by Ian Threadgold, and Fr Thomas Leslie bought to life the moving poetry of ‘Christmas in the Trenches’.
Local singer and musician 10 year old Bonnie Melbourne accompanied by her father Jack , gave a beautiful performance of her original songs, ‘I pray you remember’ and ‘Better than this’.
The hugely popular, ‘Where war song from the 1960’s made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary, was beautifully sung by Lynne Oliver, Sandra Williams and Mark Stephens.
Finally, with amazing longevity, Dame Nellie Melba returned to sing ‘There’s No Place Like Home’, and ended the concert with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ with the entire audience and cast joining in. LETTERS: Ian Threadgold recites ‘A Letter to the Front’- ‘Bill’s letter to his mate Ginger Mick in Gallipoli’ from the hugely popular ‘The Sentimental Bloke’ by Australia’s larrikin poet laureate at the time - C J Denis. PHOTOS: Mark Stephens
ENTERTAINERS: The cast and crew from the Beechworth Organ Society. Richard Gray, David Lawrence, Sandra Williams, Christine Cansfield-Smith, Wendy Stephens, Ian Threadgold, Janet Tweedie, Jack and Bonnie Melbourne with Matt Aldridge, Paul Peakay, Michael Reardon and Michael Whitehead on his beautiful horse, Winifred.
WIBBLY WOBBLY WALK: In rehearsal are Leigh Privett, Will Arnold and Peter Leppert bringing ‘The Wibbly Wobbly Walk’ to life to the delight of the audience as it happened 100 years ago.