May 28th, 2024

Christmas Eve war truce musical supporting LSCO

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 17, 2021.


Fran Rude and Ken Rogers are teaming up again for another fundraiser to benefit the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization.

Running Nov. 19-21 at the Yates Centre, “All is Calm” is an a cappella musical focused on the famous 1914 World War 1 Christmas Eve truce at Ypres in Belgium.

Rude and Rogers, who have teamed up on many previous musicals over the years, staged the production in 2019 before COVID-19 hit and shut down live entertainment.

The show, which Rude in a recent interviewed called, “really successful,” features 12 singers playing 39 roles and performing in four languages. This will be the fourth fundraiser Rude and Rogers have done for the LSCO.

Every word, she said, is historically accurate with the performers saying the actual words of the characters they portray.

“They asked us to do it again but we got postponed for two years because of COVID,” said Rude.

“It is beautiful,” Rude said of the music which includes several dozen songs.

The production tells the story of how German and British troops began singing Christmas carols to each other across the trenches. At dawn on Christmas Day, some Germans emerged from their trenches and crossed no-man’s land, greeting their foes with cries of “Merry Christmas.”

After some initial trepidation, the British troops emerged from their trenches and exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum pudding while singing carols together.

Remembrance Day and Christmas are both dealt with in the show, said the director.

“It’s a musical the likes of which has never been seen in Lethbridge,” said Rude.

Tickets are available at both Ticket Centre locations.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than an a cappella male chorale,” she added.

All the performers are classically trained singers.

“The truce actually extended about 50 miles, only this just deals with Ypres in Belgium. The show is a plea for peace. There’s no violence in it whatsoever, no profanity,” she added.

“It features some of the standard trench songs, it features some of the carols like people will never have heard before because a lot of it is six-part harmony. It’s extremely difficult to do because these men have to sing in a cappella and in the middle of the song, one of them will step out, tell his story, step back in again and he has to pick up his part.

“Every word in the show is true. It’s taken from journals, poetry, letters and were borrowed from the war archives in London by the company that produced it in New York,” she added.

“When these guys step out and read this story, they are playing the actual guy who wrote that…every word is recorded in history.

“It’s an amazing show. And I think when the audience sees it, they’re sort of going to go ‘wow,’ said Rude.

“I really want to emphasize this has a peaceful message and given what’s going on today, our societies so divisive now. This show is more relevant than ever.

“We’re really happy to be doing it for the LSCO because this organization is a hub for seniors in the community. During the entire lockdown, when the pandemic was really raging, they were still serving the public even though the building was locked. They were doing meals on wheels, they had their drivers out driving seniors to appointments and to buy groceries and all the things they couldn’t do. And they were still providing support services.”

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