Songs of remembrance Concert by First Capital Chorus honours Canadian war veterans

 Members of Langley’s First Capital Chorus will present a pair of concerts, titled True Patriot Love, tonight and tomorrow in honour of Canada’s veterans. -
Members of Langley’s First Capital Chorus will present a pair of concerts, titled True Patriot Love, tonight and tomorrow in honour of Canada’s veterans.
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First Capital Chorus

True Patriot Love

Date: Saturday, Nov. 10

Time: 7 p.m.

Admission: $20/$15

Venue: North Langley Church

21015 96 Ave.

Tickets: 604-878-9332


It’s become a much anticipated annual tradition — a show that remembers the service of Canadian forces veterans in two World Wars with a smile as well as a tear.

Tough times they may have been, but they produced a large number of enduring melodies that live on in the performance of the 40-strong First Capital Chorus, hosts of True Patriot Love, the current version of their annual Remembrance show.

As customary, the show will be played over two nights at venues in Surrey and Langley.

The Langley-based barbershop harmony group, which also draws members from White Rock and Surrey, has produced many variations on the theme over the last two decades, in formats ranging from straightforward concert to costumed dramatic extravaganza.

This year’s effort, produced by Gord Harris, veers more toward the concert approach — and a return to the chorus’ trade mark red blazers — according to chorus member Denny O’Donovan.

“The show touches on all of the feelings that are evoked by war,” he said.

“Each of the songs has a special meaning for people, whether it’s from a family member, or their own experiences of the time and place they first heard it.

“The songs include favourites like Lili Marlene, We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, but also things like Swinging On A Star — not just the ballads, but also the upbeat numbers.

O’Donovan is highlighted in two roles this year — as usual, as a featured tenor soloist in the chorus’ touching version of Danny Boy, but also as proud father of guest star, Kerry O’Donovan, the vocalist keyboardist who won this year’s PNE Red Robinson Talent Contest.

The younger O’Donovan, who is currently carving a name for himself with his own original material, is also an accomplished cover artist as well as a musical theatre performer and musical director (including shows with the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society).

Although his contribution to the show was yet to be determined, the elder O’Donovan said it was a good bet he’d include a favourite war-era song such as A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, which he used to perform with the quartet The Group On Stage.

A favourite segment for each of the chorus’ Remembrance Day shows is an evocation of the wartime troop show atmosphere, and this year’s will be highlighted by the return of the cheeky humour and musicianship of King of the Ukelele, Ralph Shaw, paying tribute to such entertainers as George Formby.

The wartime repertoire will also be highlighted by the Sweet Adelines quartet Just Desserts, featured in the Friday night show at St Mark’s Anglican Church, O’Donovan said.

Also augmenting the show, for the Saturday night Langley performance only, will be appearances by 2006 Regional Gold Medal quartet Over The Moon and the big band sounds of the Langley Christian High School jazz band.

Another favourite feature from previous years returns with chorus member Clint Davies and his son Scott’s performance of the war-themed The Saga of Willie McBride.

“John McDermott sang it on one of his CDs,” O’Donovan said.

“Clint sings it with Scott playing the guitar ­— it’s really touching. It should have a strong emotional impact.”

First Capital Chorus’ True Patriot Love: a Remembrance Day tribute will also be presented tonight (Friday, Nov. 9) at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 12953 20 Ave. in South Surrey

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