Brian Wielgasz and 32 other musicians are featured during Surrey City Orchestra’s Remembrance Day concert recording for 2020. (submitted photo: Sam Farrugia)

Brian Wielgasz and 32 other musicians are featured during Surrey City Orchestra’s Remembrance Day concert recording for 2020. (submitted photo: Sam Farrugia)

Remembrance Day concert/service recorded by Surrey City Orchestra

Free online event to feature everything from ‘The Last Post’ to swingin’ jazz of the WWII era

From solemn ceremony to swingin’ party, Surrey City Orchestra had produced a musical Remembrance Day event for online broadcast.

The orchestra got busy creating a virtual service and concert for Nov. 11 during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on live events.

More than 32 professional musicians took part in the SCO’s project, which involves three groups of string orchestra, concert band and jazz band, all recorded while the players remained physically distanced.

The free-to-view concert begins at the start of the Second World War, with the string section playing solemn music, followed by readings from service members, military marches from the concert band and then a post-war celebration of 1940’s jazz dance music, along with archival images and film.

• RELATED STORY: City of Surrey to livestream Veterans’ Square Remembrance Day ceremony this year.

(Story continues below video, “2020 Remembrance Day with the Surrey City Orchestra”)

Recorded in a ballroom at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, the 45-minute video will be posted to surreycityorchestra.org prior to Remembrance Day, as early as Thursday, Nov. 5.

Surrey City Orchestra music director Stuart Martin says the concert event also salutes the 75th anniversary of the war’s end, in 1945.

“We wanted to find a way to honour our veterans and all those who fought bravely to uphold our Canadian values,” Martin told the Now-Leader.

“This year, with concerts and ceremonies on hold, we decided we would produce a concert that would be free to the public so they can take the time on Nov. 11 to remember those incredible sacrifices and all those lives lost.

“We couldn’t have made this concert possible without generous donations from the public and support of the City of Surrey,” Martin added. “The arts are an incredibly powerful tool to connect us when we are apart, and it’s more important than ever to feel that you are not alone.”

Following a request from the non-profit orchestra, Surrey city council approved a “sponsorship contribution” of $2,500 for the concert at its Oct. 19 meeting, from the Council Initiatives Fund.

“We are so proud of this project,” said Ellen Farrugia, the orchestra’s board chair.

• RELATED STORY, from February: Surrey violinist Ellen Farrugia notable for nearly 25 years of Vancouver Opera gigs.

“We’d like to encourage members of the public, teachers, community organizers and anyone who is interested, to use the video as a resource or be part of your Remembrance Day contemplations,” Martin added.

The concert will start with the string orchestra performing “Nimrod” from Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” and “Air” from Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” along with “The Last Post” played by Bryan Wielgasz, Surrey Fire Service Honour Guard, and a reading of “In Flanders Fields” by Nick Watts, Lieutenant-Colonel and Commanding Officer in the Canadian Army Reserves. As well, “Act of Remembrance” and “Commitment to Remember” will be read by Anita Huberman, CEO of Surrey Board of Trade and honorary captain with Royal Canadian Navy, and “Piper’s Lament” will be played by Jeff Sim of the Surrey Firefighters band.

The concert band then fires up for performances of “Maple Leaf Forever” by Alexander Muir and “Second Suite in F, 1st & 4th movement” by Gustav Holst.

Finally, the Miles Black-led jazz band will swing through Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing” (both featuring Maya Rae on vocals), Glenn Miller’s “Little Brown Jug” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy” by Benny Goodman.

Surrey City Orchestra Society is a registered non-profit with a mandate to bring “high-quality performances to all communities in Surrey, including cross-cultural, and inter-generational programs that reflect the city as a whole.” Officially, 2019 was the inaugural season for the SCO, following several concerts over the previous couple of years.

Last July, in celebration of Canada Day and the 140th anniversary of when “O Canada” was first performed (on June 24, 1880), members of Surrey City Orchestra assembled, from a distance, to perform Claude Lapalme’s rendition of the national anthem, for video posted to Youtube.

Remembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read