Voices from the Front

Posted: November 1, 2016

Briercrest Onstage invites you to join us for Voices from the Front, a Remembrance Day memorial presentation. The performance features songs, letters, and poems written during the war. This 2nd annual Remembrance Day performance honours Canadian soldiers and the role they played in helping those affected by the war.

Remembrance Day has personal significance for the artistic director, Ron de Jager. Both of his parents were in the Netherlands during the Second World War.

“There are pictures of my mom standing beside a dike; the Dutch built bunkers in the dike and would hide in there,” said de Jager. “The Germans came by once, asking if there were any men in the village. My mom and her sisters were sitting on top of my grandfather who was buried under a bunch of hay and responded, ‘No, just women and children.’ My mom knew not to tell where her father was. They took other men that they did find to the middle of the village and shot them while others were placed in concentration camps.”

de Jager continued, saying that his mom was only around eight or nine years old when she was bombed out of her village and separated from her family.

Having grown up with stories like this compelled de Jager to share them with those who haven’t experienced war first or secondhand. While the performance acknowledges the atrocities of war, it focuses more on the hope that Canadians brought to those directly affected by the war.

“I think my heart was always touched around November 11, because it reminded me how thankful I was; not just thankful for my own life—which of course I’m grateful for—but I (and my parents) are incredibly thankful for Canadians. When I first thought of mounting this production, my mother  (79) and father (80) said, “We aren’t able to be there, but say thank you to the Canadians because they’re the ones who freed us.”

A highlight of last year’s performance, which will happen again this year, was hearing actual letters read that were exchanged between soldiers and their loved ones.

“Some of the letters we are reading this year, show consistent records of letters that suddenly stop a day or two days before the soldier was killed in action,” de Jager said. “It’s really quite moving when you take these letters written during the war and read them.”

Voices from the Front is held in the Landing, which was intentionally chosen because it is one of the only buildings left from Caronport’s history as a British Air Force base. Shows and other entertainment, referred to in letters from Vernon Peters, took place in the Landing, making it a meaningful space to hold the memorial.

The songs performed will highlight a variety of music that was well-known during the war, as well as some pieces by Canadian composers. College Singers, Resonant, and various soloists will be featured.

Come join us November 10 at 7pm or November 11 at 2:30pm and 7pm. Admission is free and donations will be accepted! We hope to see you there.