Songs of the Great War: Musical Revue coming to St. James

MORRISBURG – The Great War, 1914-18, ended exactly 100 years ago this November 11.

To mark that momentous date in history, a group of remarkable young singers, dancers and actors will honour the men, the women and the music of that era in a very special concert, 7:30 p.m., Monday evening, August 27, at St. James Anglican Church in Morrisburg.

Songs of the Great War, A Musical Revue, brings together 14 young people, ranging in age from 11 to 24, members of the Youth Opportunities in the Arts, to sing, to dance and to celebrate the music of the War Years.

Margaret Whisselle, a local singer and musician, is the musical director of the production. She is incredibly excited to be able to bring the show, which has already played in Brockville to great reviews, to South Dundas.

“This is a group of very talented, extraordinary young performers,” Margaret explained. “They are all members of the Youth Opportunities in the Arts program (YOA), running out of Brockville, which draws performers from this area as well. In Songs of the Great War, the kids sing that wonderful music, they tap dance, they even march, all to live musical accompaniment. They share vignettes taken directly from actual soldiers’ letters from the Front, and tie the show together with narration. Many of the kids have theatrical and musical training.”

Among the 14 young performers, who rehearsed the production for over six weeks, are two South Dundas young people; Molly Hatherall, daughter of Valumart owner Riley Hatherall and Aria Whisselle, Margaret’s daughter.

The Revue grew out an idea suggested to Margaret by Alex Fleuriau Chateaux, who is the administrator of the YOA.

“Alex wanted to honour the 100th anniversary of the end of the War,” Margaret explained. “So I went into my music trunks and pulled out some of the wonderful music of that time.”

Those pieces, many of them deeply familiar to people even now, 100 years later, will be featured in this production. It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Keep the Home Fires Burning, Pack Up Your Troubles, Till We Meet Again, K-K-Katie (“actually sung by a Katie in our show,” Margaret laughed) are just a few of the numbers in the Revue.

The production was created through the collaboration of several professionals in the Arts community.

Joining Fleuriau Chateaux are Christopher Coyea, also with YOA, Sam Crosby, choreographer, Judy Quick and Cathy TeKamp, assisting, Harold Hess, director of the show, Lance Besharah, set design and dressing, James Mackenzie, drummer, and Margaret.

The YOA was awarded a SPARC grant, which has allowed them to bring the show to Morrisburg and to offer free admission.

Audience members may make a free will donation if they wish at the performance.

This is an evening that should not be missed. “The show is deeply engaging, and beautifully sung and staged,” Margaret Whisselle said. “It will appeal to all ages.”

Songs of the Great War: A Musical Revue is at St. James Anglican Church, Monday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m.