During World War II, Canadians made an important contribution to Dutch society. Now, 70 years later, we are thrilled that the Victoria Children’s Choir has an opportunity to celebrate our country’s legacy – back where the story began.
Recently we announced that a two week “Concert Tour” to the Netherlands has been proposed for the spring of 2015. The trip includes numerous formal and informal performances, coinciding with the nation’s official ‘Liberation Day’ (May 5) holiday.
Netherlands Liberation Day
What makes this celebration so special? For the Dutch, freedom from German occupation during World War II was largely achieved due to the First Canadian Army forces who built bridges over hundreds of rivers, canals, and ditches (from March to May of 1945). [more of Canada’s story…]
While the original bridges no longer dot the countryside, the connection they inspired remains. In 2015 we will rediscover important historic moment for both countries. On Tour, our choristers will meet children their own age to experience their festivities, culture, and daily lives.
“The Choir has been invited by the town of Holten, where one of the largest Canadian war cemeteries is located, to participate in youth-oriented celebrations,” says Artistic (and Concert Choir) Director Madeleine Humer. “The [town’s] activities mirror our own focus on raising awareness among young generations. We have been asked to be part of the service with an appropriate song, while the Children of Holten will recite a poem and lay flowers, in remembrance of the historic events.”
In Canada, our connection to the Netherlands can be found dotted across the country, but there is more to know about this part of our heritage. By visiting the land where our parents and grandparents made an important difference, our choristers will have a greater appreciation for our own traditions – such as the floral exposition in Ottawa and sounding of the carillon outside the Royal BC Museum.
As with our 2011 European Tour to Austria, the Choir will be undertaking a special effort over the next year to secure national and local partners for support, and to conduct parent fundraising. These activities will help reduce travel costs. It is our goal to ensure no chorister need be denied participation on account of financial limitations.
Though there are many miles to go, we’re already making our way! Initial response from Victoria Children’s Choir members and our friends in the Netherlands has been positive, and planning continues. As excitement builds, we will share more details and ways to join in the fun.
– Contributed by: Boudewyn van Oort, Board President, West Coast Children’s Choral Society
Want to know more about the Netherlands Liberation? Read a Port Alberni man’s life-changing experience.
MORE NETHERLANDS TOUR 2015 NEWS:
From the road: Journal Entries
From the road: Photos and video from our Netherlands Tour
Chorister Dedications – “Why I’m Touring the Netherlands.”
On the repertoire: Songs of Celebration and Remembrance [Netherlands Tour 2015]