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Cathedral choir's songs of remembrance

Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will help to mark 100 years since the famous ‘Christmas truce’ between soldiers during the First World War ...

Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will help to mark 100 years since the famous ‘Christmas truce’ between soldiers during the First World War.

The 20 boys and 12 men of the choir will travel to Belgium for four days this month (December 12-16) for a series of concerts, culminating in an event to mark the centenary of the moment on Christmas Day 1914 when soldiers put down their guns to play football.

Every evening since Armistice Day in 1918 - apart from during the Second World War - there has been a simple ceremony of remembrance at Menin Gate in Ypres, in which those who died during the First World War are remembered.

On Sunday 14 December, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will sing two compositions – Howard Goodall’s Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, and For The Fallen – as part of the Act of Remembrance at Menin Gate.

Their trip to Belgium, from December 12-16, includes a series of concerts with peace and remembrance as the theme. The choir will also sing in Antwerp Cathedral on the morning of Sunday 14 December.

Master of Choristers Dr David Price said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to sing as part of the Menin Gate ceremony, especially during this year marking the centenary of the outbreak of war.

“The so-called Christmas truce wasn’t universal on the frontline, but it did show that even in the horrors of trench warfare, soldiers still retained that God-given spirit of concern for their fellow man. I hope that what we do will be an appropriate way to remember that event.”

Photos: top: choristers on HMS Victory, and above, the choir in action at Portsmouth Cathedral

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