Choir seeks local Remembrance stories

Island Voices has performed the Remembrance Day concert roughly every three years since it debuted in 2003

Island Voices Choir is planning its next community Remembrance Day performance, and wants to put the emphasis on “community”.

To that end, organizers are asking local residents to share their stories, letters, journals, diaries and even emails that boast passages with a remembrance day theme.

“We want to tell the stories of soldiers, spouses, children and others touched by war,” said Jo-Anne Preston, former conductor for the community choir launched originally in 1997. “”We’re looking for local, and we’re looking for personal. I know there’s stuff around, but I have no idea how to find those local stories.”

Island Voices has performed the Remembrance Day concert roughly every three years since it debuted in 2003. Typically, Preston said, it has featured songs by the choir interwoven with readings by veterans, current service members and other dignitaries, in a manner to pay tribute to past sacrifices and offer a message of hope for a peaceful future.

Those readings previously came primarily from established, published works — think: In Flanders Fields. This year’s event, Voices in Remembrance: In their words, aims to bring spoken words provided by local residents or their predecessors or current-serving family members.

“We want to try to maintain tradition, but also try new things,” said Preston. “I feel this concert is a real important contribution to the community, and we’d like the text to be more relevant, more personal, to the community.”

Another change Preston anticipates is more involvement by children in the community, including several numbers by the Campbell River Youth Choir.

“This will be not just an Island Voices concert,” she said. “It will be more of a community event.”

The venue for this year’s Voices in Remembrance has not yet been chosen, though the last couple of Remembrance Day performances have been held at the Catholic church. Neither have the speakers been selected for reading of the contributed works.

“That will partly be determined by the nature of the stories we get,” Preston said. “This is still very much a work in progress.”

Preston hopes to have contributed material by mid-September, so that the program can be assembled at the end of the month.

You can submit written material to Preston via email at jo-anne.preston@shaw.ca, or, if the material is not in a digital form, call her at 250-202-4300 to arrange pickup or delivery.

“Whether we scan it or take a photo, we promise to treat everything very carefully,” she said.