Anzac Day started with the dawn service. The clarity, the silence, the atmosphere, was sombre, reverential as it always is representing such a strong bond between the past and the present. The attendance was 15,000 - such a perfect tribute to the memory of the fallen.
As soon as the dawn service was over and the veterans, troops, bands and people had moved away, the next event for this extraordinary day went into preparation. For the last three years Woolston Brass, under the Director of Music, Lt Graham Hickman, and the New Zealand Army Band, under Band Master Staff Sgt Tristan Mitchell have put together a brilliant concert in the Christchurch Town Hall. It’s a highlight for the 1500+ people who patriotically attend to witness some of the finest brass band players in the world.
Last year we had the world premier of W.O. Class 1 Dwane Bloomfield’s composition of Passchendaele, an extremely evocative and moving piece of music that left the auditorium in spellbound silence, near tears at its conclusion. And who would have imagined that the magic and the emotion could be invoked again this year. Well it was.
The composition and world premiere of 15 year old Todd Smith’s, Gallipoli, was outstanding and equally moving. The talent in New Zealand is so vast, the future with such young people producing work of this nature, is very exciting.
Image Right: Lt Mark Hadlow RNZNVR and daughter Olivia, ANZAC Day 2010
There were many things which were memorable and created a very strong image. The 18 member Tri Service NZDF guard from HMNZS Pegasus, 2Cants Battalion and RNZAF under the command of W.O. Arthur Lasika, who slow marched into the auditorium and presented arms as the national flags of Australia and New Zealand were raised. So appropriate especially in memory of the three air force personnel whom lost their lives in the tragic accident in Wellington. Nimrod by Elgar held very special feelings for all of us in the hall as we paid respect to these brave airman as well as the valiant Anzacs. The show had to go on and it did, as if a flame kindled by their spirit. The delight of the music, complex and memorable, beautifully played, filled the Town Hall. The soloist’s from each band demonstrating their prowess, such a gift and signifying world class with every note.
In Naval uniform and as the MC for the concert, I was so proud to be involved with other NZDF colleagues to honour and acknowledge the gravitas of this special day. I am sure all the performers and players felt the same way. The fact that Anzac Remembered was the singing debut of my daughter, Olivia, was a special highlight and to sing with her, backed by the combined bands, was one of the proudest moments of my life.
This is a very special concert. The work, the effort, the commitment by many in NZDF shows the high regard, importance and relevance of one of the most important days in our nation’s history.
LT Mark Hadlow, RNZNVR