Lismore school choir's hymn to play at veterans' funerals

LISMORE RSL Sub Branch vice president Bob Mowle was so captivated by the performance of Lismore Public School's senior choir he thought their rendition of O Valiant Heart should be recorded and played at the funerals of ex-servicemen and women.

It was during the Anzac Day centenary service at the RSL LifeCare Fromelles Manor in Lismore that he first heard them.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Member Daisi Thompson, 11, leading the Lismore Public School senior choir in O Valiant Heart at Southern Cross University’s recording studio, listened to by Lismore RSL Sub Branch members.
ALL TOGETHER NOW: Member Daisi Thompson, 11, leading the Lismore Public School senior choir in O Valiant Heart at Southern Cross University’s recording studio, listened to by Lismore RSL Sub Branch members. Marc Stapelberg

"They were invited to participate in that service and that's when their voices impressed me so much the thought occurred," he said.

"That song, sung rather than said, would add dignity to the farewell of veterans.

"And we're perpetuating the songs of Anzac which is important 100 years later when there's no-one around that was participating in the original Anzac Day."

Mr Mowle said currently only one passage from the First World War hymn was read at the funerals of ex-servicemen and women.

"We're going to think seriously about using the whole song in that part of our eulogy," he said.

The RSL sub branch approached the school, which was were more than enthusiastic about the idea.

After a good deal of practice, the choir record the hymn at Southern Cross University's Studio One29.

Choir member Daisi Thompson, 11, performed a solo for the CD.

She said the hymn was about the men who came back from war and those who didn't, and how courageous they were.

"I think it's really nice that we can have the opportunity at doing it," she said.

The university's contemporary music program course co-ordinator Matt Hill said recording the hymn at Studio One29 was a great learning experience for the students.

"I think the benefit is these students are getting to perform in a different context which is really important for their development as performers," he said. "There's also a community benefit to having this kind of performance, particularly because this has a function for the RSL."


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