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  • Mick Anstice

Commemorating The Great War


On Sunday 4th November we were honoured and privileged to commence a week of commemorating 100 years since the Great War, with a concert in the magnificent St Petroc's Parish Church in Bodmin. Despite it being a truly inclement evening, we were astounded by the numbers of supporters who braved the conditions to join us for what was a very moving occasion. The Church had been spectacularly illuminated for Remembrance Week, adding to the atmosphere of reflection and contemplation. We had set out to deliver a concert that offered a broad range of music, and our guests for the evening did not disappoint. We were joined by our friends 'Levowan XII', and the 'Cornwall Music Service Trust Brass Quintet'.

The evening began with an opening set of reflective music from Loveny, including our first 'airing' of 'Danny Boy'....which I believe met with the approval of our MD Marcus. We were then captivated by the professionalism of the Cornwall Music Services Trust Brass Quintet playing a set of tunes with such depth it was difficult to believe the sound was being created by only five instruments.


Recitations given by our 'Bard', Roger James are usually highly amusing, but on this occasion, a more thought provoking composition, but nevertheless penned by his favourite Cornish Poet 'David Prowse'... entitled 'And In the Morning', delivered beautifully as always.

To conclude the first half of the concert, Levowan XII took to the stage, with our Deputy MD Colin Arthur, but before doing so, Tracey James-Thomas who is Rogers Daughter, played flawlessly the last post from the balcony at the rear of the church.

For many months now, the South West Philharmonia and Chorus, whose founder and MD is our own MD Marcus Alleyne, has been engaged in a major Choral and Orchestral undertaking. A highly significant commemorating work entitled the 'Great War Symphony' has been written by Composer Patrick Hawes, and the SWP&C have been privileged to be the only organisation in the UK outside of London to have performed it, with Tenor solo sections performed by Colin Arthur. Marcus and members of the SWP&C (and two members of Loveny, Frank Evans and Roger James) will be travelling to New York later this week to practice and perform the GWS with choirs from all over the world, in 'Carnegie Hall'! We wish them all well for this once in lifetime occasion.


Levowan XII are all also members of SWP&C, and performed the first of the four movements of the Great War Symphony for us with Colin singing the solo parts. Their Accompanist Mark Smith who performs in the SWP&C Orchestra, provided piano accompaniment for the piece...where normally the whole Orchestra would perform. The effect was no less amazing....and technically a very challenging piece to master....but master it they did.


After the interval, a little audience participation was the order of the day. Marcus conducted the audience and choirs in a WW1 song medley...'Its a long way to Tipperary', 'Roses of Picardy', 'Over There', 'Keep the home fires burning', and finally 'Pack up your troubles'. Though from a bygone era, Judging by the heartfelt response, this was clearly something almost everyone seemed able to relate to.

After a poignant recital from Marcus, Levowan continued to entertain us with three beautifully harmonised songs, 'The last rose of summer', 'In Flanders Fields' and 'Do not stand on my grave and weep'. The final set for the CMST Quintet included a stirring rendition of the popular James Bond theme, 'Goldfinger' and concluded with a foot tapping swing jazz tune.

Loveny concluded the evening with a set of three stirring songs, 'There Will I Be', 'And Can it Be', and 'American Trilogy', and closed with the 'The Blessing of Aaron'. I should also mention that Mark Smith provided Accompaniment for Loveny in addition to Levowan, and did a fantastic job for us too. It was a most enjoyable evening and a privilege to share the stage with such talented musicians. The appreciative and near capacity audience spurred us all on to give our very best, and we hope we did not disappoint you!

A long list of thanks, to all our guests from the CMST and Levowan XII, to Tracey James-Thomas, Marcus and Mark, Colin and Roger, our irrepressible MD John Ead, the Loveny Ladies, and the church organisers, thank you all for making this event such a great success.

Finally a huge thank you to all who ventured forth on that wet and windy evening to support us, what we do is pointless without you!

#lovenymalevoicechoir #MarcusAlleyne #LevowanXII #CMST #StPetrocs #Bodmin

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