As the world recognizes the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the Victoria Symphony will premiere The Piper, a uniquely Canadian work by Victoria composer Tobin Stokes.
The concert takes place Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury and kicks off a community collaboration entitled Lest We Forget.
With The Piper, Stokes tells the story of J.C. Richardson, a Victoria Cross recipient and a famous Canadian piper who inspired his troops into battle.
He was lost on the battlefield on the Somme although his pipes were eventually recovered and returned to British Columbia where they reside on public display in the B.C. legislative buildings.
“With this special concert of remembrance, we’re able to present music that honours the incredible sacrifice of our veterans,” said Tania Miller, music director of the Victoria Symphony.
“We are grateful for the participation of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, and for the opportunity to perform in the Bay Street Armoury which provides unique surroundings for this moving tribute.”
The concert also includes a performance of Vaughan Williams’ London Symphony, Mvt. 2, and the Lark Ascending, Adams’ The Wound Dresser, Ives’ The Unanswered Question, and the traditional MacPherson’s Lament featuring the pipes and drums of the Canadian Scottish Regiment (St. Mary’s).
The culmination of the Lest We Forget initiative is the Victoria Symphony’s presentation of Britten’s War Requiem, Nov. 8 and 9 at the Royal Theatre.
A deeply passionate statement about the immense impact of war, Britten’s War Requiem is told through music, poetry, and prayer. Soprano Joni Henson, tenor Benjamin Butterfield, baritone Phillip Addis, and 165 members of the Victoria Choral Society, St. Michaels University School and Vox Humana join Maestra Tania Miller and the Victoria Symphony to honour Canada’s relationship to peace and sacrifices of the past.
Lest We Forget involves a number of community partnerships, with special exhibits and events scheduled throughout the months of October and November.
On Oct. 26, and Nov. 4, the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performs chamber concerts at Oak Bay United Church and at the St. Peter & St. Paul’s Parish in Esquimalt.
On Nov. 8, the B.C. Maritime Museum presents A Great War Music Revue at St. Luke’s Parish Hall on Cedar Hill X Road.
The Greater Victoria Public Library presents First World War centenary programs, displays and reading lists and the Royal B.C. Museum presents an evolving installation of archival records and commemorative events.
A complete list of Lest We Forget events, including ticket information, can be found online atvictoriasymphony.ca/lestweforget.