Shallaway Youth Choir
"I am a composer, and an alumnis of MUN (BA(H) and BMus(H), 2005). A few years ago I was commissioned by Shallaway: Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus, conducted by Kellie Walsh (who is also an alumna of MUN) to compose the text and music for a new choral piece in commemoration Beaumont Hamel. The choir then traveled to the battle site in France and premiered the piece there, and I was fortunate to travel with them. It was a singular and remarkable experience in my life, and a tremendous opportunity to educate the next generation of young musicians about this tragic and pivotal event in our history.
A recording of the piece, along with photographs taken on the choir's trip to Beaumont Hamel, is available on YouTube."
- Jason Noble
The Florizel sailed in a halo of cheers
Taking with it my boy and the hopes of our fair Newfoundland.
He’s nineteen on paper, not quite that in years,
And he’s bound and determined to march under British command.
Not the glare of the sun as my eyes strain to see,
Not the distance from St. John’s to Gallipoli,
Nor the bite of the wind, nor the churn of the sea
Hold a candle to my love for you, lad
Hold a candle to my love for you.
From Glasgow to Cairo, from Vimy to Somme
Our boys have seen shorelines that few Newfoundlanders have seen.
The tune of their fife and the beat of their drum
And the swell of their voices still echo wherever they’ve been.
Not the roar of your cannon, the blast of your gun,
Not your bayonet’s gleam in the bright noonday sun,
Nor the flags that you’ve flown, nor the anthems you’ve sung
Hold a candle to our pride in you, lads,
Hold a candle to our pride in you.
The offensive began on a clear, sunny morn
After seven days’ shells, and an 18-tonne blast in the crater,
But the miles upon miles of barbed wire hadn’t worn
When the Welsh were sent in, and the Newfoundland boys moments later.
As they charged o’er the ridge, Major Raley has said,
They tucked in their chins and pressed boldly ahead
As though fighting through snow in a storm in the dead
Of the winter, back home in the bay.
For God, King and country, they trudged to their fate
But the slope was against them, the distance too great.
From our nearly eight hundred remained sixty-eight
To answer the call the next day.
Not the bullets that flew on that day in July,
Not the blades of green grass in the fields where you lie,
Nor the fish in the sea, nor the stars in the sky
Count as many as our tears for you, lads,
Count as many as my tears for you.
Nigh a hundred years on now, the duty is ours
To learn from their strife in the darkest of hours
And to keep them alive, not with crosses and flowers
But by loving each other like you, lads,
By protecting each other like you.