Only Remembered - World War One concert returns to Garstang

Rehearsal 'trench talk' scene; Peter Cooney, Thomas Taylor, Frank Worthington and Alan Armstrong

Rehearsal 'trench talk' scene; Peter Cooney, Thomas Taylor, Frank Worthington and Alan Armstrong - Credit: Archant

The world was very different after 1918 and a concert in Garstang this month will explore how music was affected by World War One. Paul Mackenzie reports.

Vicky Lumley as Vesta Tilley

Vicky Lumley as Vesta Tilley - Credit: Archant

There will be many commemorations of the end of the First World War this year, but few of them will set toes tapping like the show to be staged in Garstang this month which charts the changes in popular music in the years around the conflict.

The concert, called Only Remembered, is being staged by Garstang Musical Productions and has been written by Phillip Bourne, who has returned to the group after a five year absence.

Phillip knows a thing or two about the past through his day job as a conservation officer for Lancashire museums, where he repairs and restores artefacts for display around the county.

He said: ‘It’s a concert of music, spoken word and song and it’s about the music of the period, not just the history of the First World War. Music was a very important tool in persuading people to get involved in the war and the concert is about how music changed throughout that time and how it was used in different ways.

Female choir

Female choir - Credit: Archant

‘It will be a musical journey from peace time, through The Great War and beyond to respectful commemoration. We will use different musical styles, including music hall, operetta, trench songs and choral music to explore the themes of patriotism, recruiting, the Home Front, the changing role of women, pacifism and peace.’

The concert, which will be staged at St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School, will also feature traditional music halls songs from the early years of the 20th century and modern commemorative choral works.

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It marks something of a departure for the group who were formed in the mid 1980s as Garstang Light Opera Group. They developed a loyal local following for their concerts and musicals and – following a name change in 2009 – some original members are still involved beyond the group’s 30th anniversary.

Their last show, in the autumn, was Made in Dagenham the Musical and Phillip added: ‘It is a little different for us and as I have been putting the thing together you can imagine how it will sound but it’s not until the group come together that you really know they are getting it. Some of it is in four part harmony and is quite challenging to sing. I could detect improvement through the rehearsals and it’s lovely to hear.’

Only Remembered. Reflections of the First World War in spoken word, music and song’ will be on March 22 and 23 at 7.30pm and March 24 and 25 at 4pm at St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School, Castle Lane, Garstang. Tickets available at Car Care, Garstang (01995 604871) or from members and a collection will be held for the Royal British Legion at each performance.