Lest We Forget

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Cosmopolitan Music Society’s salute to First World War military personnel

PREVIEW

Lest We Forget … A Musical Tribute

Cosmopolitan Music Society

Sunday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m.

Winspear Centre

9720 – 102 Ave.

Tickets: $25 at 780-432-9333 or info@cosmopolitanmusic.org

Once again Edmonton’s Cosmopolitan Music Society hosts another patriotic tribute of music, performance and pageantry in the annual Lest We Forget … A Musical Tribute concert.

This is the centennial year of the First World War, sometimes called the Great War. Lasting from July 28, 1914, to Nov. 11, 1918, it mobilized more than 70 million military personnel.

An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result. Another 15 million were seriously injured and seven million permanently disabled. To say Europe suffered catastrophic casualties is a mild description.

Canadian counts reached close to 61,000 men and women killed with another 172,000 wounded. Many who returned were shattered in mind and body.

“This to me in some ways is the biggest, most important concert of the season because of what it means and the purpose around it,” said music director Taina Lorenz.

“It is so much more important than just about ourselves. This concert is about recognizing the sacrifices that were made for us. It’s about the big picture. It’s about our humanity. It’s a way for us to do something that matters.”

As Cosmopolitan Music Society’s first note strikes on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Winspear Centre, until the last one ceases, the society’s bands and choir dedicate the concert to all branches of the Canadian Forces.

The traditional parade of colours, remembrance at the cenotaph showcased by The Last Post, and a multi-media photographic tribute of military loved ones is back.

CMS choir and bands have rehearsed a repertoire that varies from stirring marches to the more cheerful popular music of the day. In addition, Lest We Forget welcomes the tartan-clad RCMP Regimental Pipes and Drums as special guests.

“We’re so excited they’re coming out. There are about 25 pipers and dancers, and they’re outstanding. They have a showcase in the first half and return again in the second part,” Tainz said.

One of the big highlights of this year’s concert is Pte. Malcolm Skepple playing The Last Post and Reveille on the historically significant Mons Bugle.

As Lorenz explains, an unknown soldier from the 49th Battalion received an order to play the ceasefire bugle call on Nov. 11, 1918, at 11:11 a.m. in Mons, Brussels.

The bugle was rarely played after that. As the 49th Battalion was renamed the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, the bugle remained in its archives.

The concert’s big piece is composer Eric Whitacre’s Sleep. This new work begins softly with a haunting, ethereal chorale and slowly blossoms into a powerful climax of lush voices and harmonies.

“It’s almost a quasi lullaby and it’s so evocative. It beautifully recognizes fallen soldiers and their eternal rest. When I listen to this, I get so emotional. I can’t imagine what it was like to be there and serve in such conditions. It’s such a great honour to provide music for their recognition.”

The choir also sings John Rutter’s classic contemporary hymn For the Beauty of the Earth, an adaptation from the 19th-century hymnal.

And in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid over Germany during the Second World War, the Monday Night Band performs Eric Coates’ The Dambusters March from the 1955 motion picture.

For more information, visit www.cosmopolitanmusic.org.

 

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About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.