The sweet melodies of Waltzing Matilda and In Flanders Fields will ring through the Waitaki Boys’ High School Hall of Memories on Sunday.
The Hall of Memories will be open to the public, as the annual Anzac Day concert makes a welcome return. The concert was cancelled last year as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Singers and musicians from Oamaru, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington will perform, and Waitaki Boys’ pupil Jonty Nelson will open proceedings with the bagpipes.
Among those featuring are sopranos Rebecca Ryan and Calla Knudson-Hollebon, baritone Jason Henderson, and the Bernard Sisters.
Concert organiser Allan Portis said people could expect to hear “old favourites”.
About 200 people attended the 2019 event, and Mr Portis hoped for a full house this year.
The concert was initiated six years ago. Previous events commemorated The Malayan Emergency, World Wars 1 and 2, and the centenaries of the Gallipoli campaign and of Waitaki old boy Sergeant Donald Brown earning the Victoria Cross for bravery in battle. He was killed in France on October 1, 1916
“We try to mix a wee bit of entertainment with a commemorative [element],” Mr Portis said.
“The main thing is that the hall is open on the day it’s supposed to be.”
Waitaki Boys’ rector Darryl Paterson said it was right to have the Hall of Memories open for Anzac Day.
The hall was built to honour Waitaki Boys’ staff and pupils killed in World War 1, and is perhaps the only school building of its kind in New Zealand.
“Everyone appreciates what a special place the hall is,” Mr Paterson said.
It was lovely to be able to welcome the wider public to the school on Anzac Day, he said.
All the singing was “superb” and the acoustics in the hall were top class.
“It’s fantastic. Personally, my parents and some of my aunties come along to it, and it’s actually really nice to spend some time with them on Anzac Day.”
The school was grateful for the financial contribution Mr Portis made towards the concert, he said.
The concert will start at 1.30pm on Sunday. It would be followed by a laying of poppies and refreshments.