Preparing for Remembrance Day

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This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

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Normally it is not something I need to “prepare for” however this year it is chock a block full of activity, careful planning, joy, hope and sorrow.  Let me just break that down for you:

My former neighbour in England Lorraine and one of my work colleagues Chuck celebrate a birthday – that is the joy of November 11.

As a veteran of both peacekeeping and warfighting operations, one who has lost comrades in arms in war, peacekeeping and yes accidents I feel that it is still my duty to go to my local cenotaph and remember those who gave their lives in the service of their country.  I wear a red poppy, not sure if I would wear a white one if asked or offered, but I respect the fact that people can make the

The National War Memorial in the afternoon on ...
The National War Memorial in the afternoon on Remembrance Day 2007 (Ottawa, Canada). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

choice to wear one or not.  The ability to make that choice is why I chose to serve my country for 29 years.  This service is the activity of hope and sorrow for me.

So with that background you might guess that first on my agenda for tomorrow will be the local service in St Albert with my three grown children.  At the same time my wife will be bagpipe playing with her band the Edmonton Transit System Pipes and Drums at the service in Panoka, which is a little more than an hour away from Edmonton. Normally during the service I am able to catch up with some of those other veterans, whom I meet with every month for breakfast, and we decide to meet somewhere for lunch after the service.  This year I won’t be able to go for lunch as I need to get to the Winspear Centre for a final rehearsal before our concert. These are the activities that require careful planning – which car goes where, who gets a ride with whom, etc.

Tomorrow the choir I sing with The Richard Eaton Singers or RES will be performing our concert Always and Forever, this is the activity requiring careful planning and hope.  We have been working toward this concert since September, so there is the careful planning – and we hope there will be a nice sized audience.  This concert is also representing sorrow for our choir as we are dedicating it to one of our long time members and supporters Margaret C (Peg) Matheson and her husband Douglas (former Spitfire pilot, veteran, POW).

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Under the direction of our Artistic Director Doctor Leonard Ratzlaff Edmonton’s symphonic choir, the Richard Eaton Singers, opens its 2013/2014 season with a Fall Concert featuring music in remembrance of our countries fallen. This will also be our first outing in Edmonton since our European tour in the summer of 2013!  We are hoping that people will join us at 1430, after having spent time at their local Remembrance Day ceremony for some moving music that speaks to the loss and sacrifice of family, friends and communities in the course of our countries history.  We will perform our version of “Soldiers Cry” by Edmonton song writer Roland Majeau and arranged by Edmonton’s own Trent Worthington along with other pieces by Christine Donkin, Healey Willan, Benjamin Britten, John Estacio, John Ireland, Stephen Chatman and H. Balfour Gardiner.  Finally, hear the majesty of the beautiful Davis Concert Organ, played by Jeremy Spurgeon, accompanying us in Gabriel Faure‘s Requiem.  

English: A publicity photo of the Davis Concer...
English: A publicity photo of the Davis Concert Organ at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music © 2004, Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation. Used by permission, a copy of which has has been sent to OTRS. This photograph is a publicity photo from the files of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation. Permission has been received from the copyright holder to license this material under the GNU Free Documentation License, and evidence of this has been lodged with the Wikimedia PR department. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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