After the ceremony was pretty much concluded – Peter had earlier advised that I should leave at the end of the God Save the Queen. I did and he was correct. It was a breeze exiting out of the parking lot and down the road. I even had time to change out of my jacket and tie into jeans and a shirt – I did think about whether I should have just put my tux on – but it was in the car. Besides Caffrey was glad to have someone open the door and let her out for a quick piddle on the lawn – I did not have the chance to take her out for a little walk as I needed to get to Knox for the last minute rehearsal.
This was the day we were singing 2 concerts. The first would be at 2 PM and the next 730PM. The choir felt that they were not reaching a large number of people at the later time and I think they were correct. Anyway, got to knox on time. Then looking at the rest of the choir decided to change into concert dress. Good thing the tux, which I just bought last fall, still fits!!
So we went over some of the areas we needed to brush up on. Then came the 2PM concert.
It went well, there were tears – some from the choir. On this day there are all sorts of emotions, some left over from the ceremony people were just at. Others from remembrances of friends who were no longer with us, other emotions just brought on by the words in the pieces, or the way the music interacted with our senses. For me it was a time to remember those who I had been on missions with, those whom I had lost because of accidents on missions, crashed airplanes while on exercises, those who were killed in action in Afghanistan, etc… When you couple that with all the emotions of the day and then the wonderful music – sometimes it was hard to sing! I just remember my vocal coaches advise – bite on the inside of your cheek or your tongue, that should help.
I had asked, previously, whether I could wear my medals for the concert and was told I could. So I did, this is what they look like. (Yes, I know that the NATO bar is missing from the medal on the far left, it fell off.)
So, by wearing my medals during the concerts I ended up being asked questions about what I received them for. What a great conversation starter with people whom I did not really know. I told people what I received them for, from left to right:
- Special Service Medal – NATO Bar – for services with NATO forces
- Canadian PeaceKeeping Service Medal – in 1988, when I was serving with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Israeli Occupied Syria – UN Peace Keepers were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Canada provides, still does, this medal to all serving personnel who were deployed to an eligible mission.
- UNDOF Medal, the 2 means I did 2 – 6 month tours;
- UNPROFOR Medal – United Nations Protection Force (Former Yugoslavia) I was in Croatia for 7 months in 1994;
- Canadian Forces Decoration – for service in the Canadian Armed Forces.
- United Kingdom Iraq Medal – for service with the British Army Iraq 2003.
As I said above there were tears during the concert, from the audience, from the choir. After the concert one of the Soprano’s came to me and said she couldn’t look at me or the Director or she would have lost it. Such were the feelings during the pieces. They were moving, special and I think we did them all justice.
I was able to make it back to the In Law’s between the concerts – then we rousted everyone to make it to Knox in time for me to get ready with the choir. Second Verse – a little bit louder . . .
We ran through the numbers again – maybe with a little extra feeling, maybe not. Regardless, it felt good and I think we were in sync with our Director. Again there were tears but not that many from me this time. I believe we aced the Requiem this time. Judging from my Father In Law’s reaction it was a very special night with very special pieces of music that he then started to search out.
Later in the week I was able to speak to a couple of our City Councellors who attended the performance in the afternoon – they were surprised to see me in the choir, but liked the performance.
All good – now onto the preparations for the Christmas concert. Brittan, Pinkham and Bush – we have 5 weeks.