About 1500 students from Catholic, independent and public primary and high schools attended the RSL and Schools Remember Anzac Commemoration Service on Thursday, April 23, at Sydney’s Hyde Park Anzac Memorial.
Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) Sydney Chamber Choir and Orchestra provided the music for the occasion. The 53 piece choir and 22 piece orchestra performed songs including Taylor Swift’s Safe and Sound and a rendition of the John McCrae poem In Flanders Fields, put to music by CaSPA music director James Long.
“He wrote the music to the poem and this is its world premiere today. It’s a stunning piece of music that will hopefully live on in Australian composing history,” said CaSPA Choral Director Nancy Cincotta.
“It is the first year that the CaSPA choir has been invited to be part of this event. That we were able to be part of this ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the landing at ANZAC Cove is magnificent.”
There were soldiers as young as I am now that were giving their lives for their country.
Sergio Barca, a Year 10 student at St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney, sounded the last post and a reveille – the trumpet or bugle call sound that called soldiers in barracks awake and is sounded at military funerals to symbolise the first awakening of the soul into new life.
Patrician Brothers Fairfield Year 12 student Nathan Hedges, 17, was Master of Ceremonies for the event.
His grandfather fought with the United States Navy in the 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea. When the ship sank, he was stranded in cold water for nine hours.
“There were soldiers as young as I am now that were giving their lives for their country,” Nathan said.
“It was a willing sort of sacrifice that was for the future of the country so that’s what sticks out for me. It was a big honour to have the opportunity to emcee the event. I’m proud and extremely humbled.”
President of the Returned Services League of Australia NSW branch, Rod White, said all of the students involved in the ceremony had done themselves proud.
“This service is so important in our total commemoration of Anzac,” he told students during the ceremony.
“It is so important and memorable to us in the ex-service community and I’m sure to those men and women serving in Australia and abroad in our defence force. You are great ambassadors of your schools and your families.”
The Sydney Catholic schools that laid a wreath during the commemorative service were:
– Bethlehem College Ashfield
– Good Shepard Primary Hoxton Park
– Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary Gladesville
– McAuley Catholic Primary Rose Bay
– Patrician Brothers College Fairfield
– St Fiacre’s Catholic Primary Leichhardt
– St Finbar’s School Sans Souci
– St Francis Xavier Catholic School Ashbury
– St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Como-Oyster Bay
– St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Belmore
– St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney
– St Thomas More’s Catholic School Brighton Le Sands