It isn’t about glorifying war – it’s about honouring Canadians’ service and sacrifice for the way of life we hold dear.
That’s the message from Gordon Harris president of First Capital Chorus, the Langley chapter of the barbershop Harmony Society, whose members are already busy selling tickets for their upcoming annual tradition, a concert for Remembrance Day.
In a time when support for veterans has been called into question, it’s a good way to affirm solidarity with them, Harris noted.
The 45-strong male choral ensemble, directed by Mike Wilcox and Danny Tryon – which draws many members from the Semiahmoo Peninsula – will present this year’s edition, Honour Our Patriots, Nov. 7 at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 12953 20 Ave. (Ocean Park).
And, as in previous years, there will be two opportunities to catch the show that day – a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 7 p.m.
It’s also a felicitous, melodic way to mark the period of remembrance – there’s something about the sound of all the combined voices that brings added resonance and significance to such time-burnished songs of the First and Second World Wars as It’s A Long Way To Tipperary, Keep The Home Fires Burning and I’ll Be Seeing You.
The youthful popular songs of generations that sacrificed so much have acquired an almost anthemic dimension over the years, Harris, a 41-year veteran of the group agreed.
“Our concept this year is to honour both those who are fallen and those who are still here,” he said, adding that over the past hundred years “I don’t think we’ve had a minute where there wasn’t a war going on somewhere.”
“It’s still going on – we keep losing people in Afghanistan.”
Adding to the bittersweet mix of memorable melodies will be Harris’s own quartet, past district barbershop champs Synchromesh (which also includes Wilcox, Leigh Anderson and Bill Finlay) and quartet Mixed Company (in which chorus stalwart John West is joined by his daughter, associate member Barb Bourbonnais, lead Derek Sanft and baritone Dave Pinhey).
The show’s producer Ian Hearn and fellow chorister Clint Davies will team for the Englebert Humperdinck classic The Green, Green Grass of Home, while David Dahl and his wife Dorothea will offer their version of a beloved hymn.
“They do Amazing Grace like no one else,” Harris commented. “They make a phenomenal job of it.”
Another feature of the show Harris is looking forward to is a return of last year’s special guests The Company ‘B’ Jazz Band, with their uptempo, youthful recreation of the sound of such Second World War favourites as the Andrews Sisters.
“We’re delighted to have them back again – they’re just awesome and they’ll be a highlight of the show,” he said.
Featured in the act – which has become a staple on the retro music scene – are vocalists Juhli Conlinn, Shannon Scott, Emily Lyall, acoustic bassist/percussionist Jen Hodge, guitarist Dave Taylor and Jens Christiansen on clarinet and saxophone.
Harris also said the organization appreciates the help it receives from St. Mark’s Church in staging the concert.
“They’re very supportive of us – they make it very easy for us to do this,” he said.
“We’ve been doing this for many years, and we enjoy doing it.
“But it’s not about us – it’s all about the veterans.”
Tickets ($20, $15 seniors and veterans, cash or cheque only) are available at the door or, in advance, at Keith Ridge Men’s Wear and the Pelican Rouge Cafe.