Alban Arena concert for Armed Forces Day

10:10 03 July 2014

St Columba's College prep school choir

St Columba's College prep school choir

Archant

A rousing Armed Forces Day concert marked the spirit of D-Day in words and music at the Alban Arena on Saturday.

Leading members of the St Albans’ community, D-Day veterans and civic leaders marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day at the concert given by the Adoramus Choir and Orchestra joined by St Columba’s College Prep School Choir.

They presented a programme including classics such as The Longest Day and Agincourt Song from William Walton’s Henry V Suite as well as the world première of Alex Poelman’s new choral and orchestral presentation of D-Day and Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams from the film Saving Private Ryan.

The concert, which began with the lowering of the Royal British Legion standard, concluded with Edward Elgar’s stirring Pomp and Circumstance March No.4.

D-Day veteran Mervyn Kersh, who along with his wife, Betty, was a guest said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the programme which brought back many memories to me and was very moving. It was so well balanced. We met some lovely people and Padre Kevin Bell, the talented compère, was excellent as was the orchestra, choir and children’s choir.

“Betty and I would very much like to thank you for the very warm reception we received there. I look forward to the 75th anniversary! In the immortal words of Vera Lynne “We’ll meet again…”

Among the other guests were the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, The Countess of Verulam, the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Geoff Harrison, and past Mayor, Cllr Annie Brewster, St Albans MP Anne Main and Don Dell, chairman of the St Albans Royal British Legion.

TV producer and author, Jonathan Mayo, signed copies of his new book, D Day: Minute by Minute, during the interval with a donation from each sale going to the Royal British Legion.

David Hooke, music director of Adoramus, said: “Adoramus is proud to be commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day and Armed Forces Day with the St Albans’ community. There are certain days around which our nation’s whole destiny revolves. D-Day is one such day.

“Adoramus has just returned from Normandy, and having met with veterans who served on D-Day, you start to get a feel for the young lives that were caught up in the tumultuous events that overcame a great evil and won the freedom that we must now preserve for future generations.”

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