Remembering our veterans through music

Donnie Fraser, left, and Katrina Gallant will be part of the In Remembrance choral music program Nov. 11 at Trinity United Church. Fraser directs the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus that Gallant has been a part of for the past five years. Maureen Coulter photo.
Donnie Fraser, left, and Katrina Gallant will be part of the In Remembrance choral music program Nov. 11 at Trinity United Church. Fraser directs the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus that Gallant has been a part of for the past five years. Maureen Coulter photo.
By Maureen Coulter
Nov. 4, 2014

Donald Fraser looked out at the young faces of the youth chorus one day and it struck him. Many of these teenagers are the same age as the men and women who have gone to war.
A concert of choral music is set for Trinity United Church on Nov. 11. The Confederation Singers will be part of the program, featuring over 100 voices from the two choirs.
Fraser is the director of the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus. He mentioned what he was thinking one night to the young people in the chorus.
“Sometimes we think of it as old men who died, but no they were very young. They were kids.”
Fourteen-year-old Katrina Gallant has been with the chorus for the past five years. It’s important to remember veterans, she said.
“They have fought for us and they fought for our freedom and so it’s important to remember all the things they have done for us.”
Fraser said music is a way of reflecting those contributions veterans have made.
“They made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Many Islanders wanted to commemorate Remembrance Day and did so by sharing their musical talents.
Captain Rev. Tom Hamilton said having the Canada Remembers Chorus sing at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church on Nov. 9 was a way for people to appreciate veterans and enjoy some of the music of years gone past.
Hamilton has a doctorate in Canadian military history and he interviewed hundreds of veterans during his studies. He reflected on that while he listened to the chorus sing.
“Going through my mind are a lot of those interviews and in my minds eye seeing those men and women, particularity from the second world war, who served overseas and thinking about their service and sacrifice.”
It’s important to appreciate what veterans have been through, he said.
“It has taken generations of people who have worked very hard to make our land is what it is and part of that contribution, I feel very strongly, was those men and women who put their lives on the line and donned military uniforms and served their country in time of war and in time of peace.”
Phase 2 also honoured veterans by hosting four Remembrance Day shows across the province last week with free admission for service people and veterans.
Gerry Hickey, the lead singer of Phase 2, said this is the third year in a row the band has done a commemoration for veterans and they do it to show their gratitude.
Sheets of music were handed out after the intermissions for a sing-along of songs popular in that area.
“It’s fascinating to watch the crowd. So many of them don’t even look at the sheets, they know all the words,” Hickey said.
He considers himself extremely fortunate to live in P.E.I.
“All you need to do is turn on the TV to appreciate what you have here.”

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