Thursday 21st January 2021

New Music to Mark the Centenary of the Armistice

Archbishop Beck Catholic College Senior Concert Band will travel to perform in Ypres, Belgium to mark the end of World War I.

The ensemble will perform at a number of key War Graves cemeteries. They will also perform in the town of Ypres. On Saturday evening the ensemble will attend the evening service at the Menin Gate.

The college has commissioned Mr John Holland, a London based composer and arranger to compose a piece scored around the poem “In Flanders Field” by Major John McCrae.

During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.

As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

This will be performed while in Ypres and is being created in tribute to the many who gave their lives in this conflict.



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