30th October 2018 — Young musicians from a Derbyshire school are to play at The Last Post Ceremony this week at the Menin Gate in Belgium, as part of an historic visit to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
The Last Post Ceremony takes place every night at 8pm under the Menin Gate in Ypres and with the Great War centenary being reached in 2018 there have been more visitors than usual in attendance this year.
Susan Bloor, the Director of Music at Foremarke Hall, Repton’s Preparatory School, wanted her young musicians to have a special opportunity to mark the Great War anniversary and sent an audition tape with a request for pupils to play at the Menin Gate memorial.
Everyone was delighted when the school was informed it had been successful and its musicians could perform, both at the memorial and in the market square at Ypres.
Fourteen brass players and four members of staff are travelling to Belgium by Eurostar early on Thursday (November 1) morning. In the evening the party will go to the Menin Gate to watch the Last Post performance, enabling them to see what will happen when it is their turn.
Friday will be a busy day, with visits to Tyne Cot Cemetery and the Passchendaele Memorial in the morning before returning to Ypres to perform under the colonnades in the market square at 2.30pm.
The highlight of the trip will come at 8pm when the musicians will perform at the Menin Gate.
The music to be played is an arrangement of O Valiant Hearts by Susan Bloor and an arrangement of The Day Thou Gavest by Brass teacher Rob Spalton.
Commenting on the trip, Susan Bloor said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been accepted to perform in Belgium. We have very strong brass players at Foremarke Hall and we are confident they will perform to the highest of standards.
“I wanted to do something special to mark the 100th anniversary of WW1 and thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for the children.”
Foremarke’s musicians are also taking part in another high-profile Remembrance event; the Chamber Choir will be performing at the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday, November 11 with the support of the school’s boarders, who also annually attend this ceremony.