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Darwin Chorale - Voices of Remembrance

Sung to motivate, placate, distract or bring solace, music played an important role in one of the bloodiest periods of human history.

By Anna Dowd

One hundred years ago a document was signed that effectively ended what was known as the ‘war to end all wars’ – World War I.

To commemorate the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the Darwin Chorale joins a cast of local actors to bring to life the music of the era in Voices of Remembrance.

Through a woven narrative of song and stories, the audience follows two young men from very different worlds in pre-war Darwin, into the trenches of war torn Europe and back again.

Director Shalom Kaa says he wanted to tell a Territory story with an ANZAC twist.

“The more I researched, the more fascinating it became. I really wanted to highlight the way in which music kept everyone going.”

He says the songs span several genres and are a kind of soundtrack to the times. Tunes like ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ were patriotic calls to war, while classics like ‘Now Is The Hour’ revealed the naivety of those at home who expected their boys to return much earlier than they ever did.

On the home front, music kept loved ones placated, while on the Western Front full-time bandsmen entertained troops, and soldiers whistled ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

And then there were the songs that offered lightness and escape like ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’, ‘The Man I Love’ and ‘Anything Goes’.

Kaa says the show strives to respect everything this weighty episode in our history represents, both on a large scale and on a personal level.

“I’m endeavouring to find a balance, between a war that essentially did not ‘end all wars’ and yet still pay respect to the sacrifice that our diggers gave.

“I also invite the audience to consider that the journey to peace starts a lot closer to home, and music is part of that inner journey.”

Sat 3 Nov | 7.30pm | Darwin Entertainment Centre | See the event listing

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