Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chelsea Captain writes new composition for the Festival of Remembrance

Major Phil Shannon is one of our Captains of Invalids who looks after the welfare of the Chelsea Pensioners, however he also has a musical side.  

Having been a former Director of Music for the Welsh and Irish Guards, he assists with the running of the Royal Hospital Band and also arranges and composes in his spare time.

In this World War One centenary year Major Shannon has composed a special piece of music to remember the fallen at this year's Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, inspired by a moving poem:

“Last year, I was sent a poem called ‘When Duty Called’ by John Foster, the Vice President National Memorial Arboretum Branch Royal British Legion.  Having had two great uncles who fought on the Somme, one of whom won an award for gallantry, I was keen in this centenary year to honour all those who served and set the words to music. 

“The composition quickly took shape and is due to be performed by the massed bands of the Household Division at the Royal Albert Hall as part of this year’s Festival of Remembrance.  It will not be broadcast on this occasion but will hopefully be enjoyed by all who are present for the live performance."

To hear "When Duty Called" please click here

To mark the 1914 centenary

When duty called, they played their part,
So filled with hopes, so bold in heart.
These pals in arms were men and boys.
Lest we forget.

When battles raged in filth and mud,
They gave their best and always would
In times of need, they stood the test.
Lest we forget, lest we forget.

On foreign soil, they wrote goodbyes
In silent spells, with muffled cries.
Each start of day could mark the end.
Lest we forget.

With losses high and grieving hearts,
When victory came there were no parts
Where pain was gone or left aside.
Lest we forget, lest we forget.

The poppy shows our aim is clear
For lasting peace, not lives in fear.
When duty called they played their part,
So filled with hopes, so bold in heart.
Our men in arms, they gave their all
When duty called, when duty called.  
                                Words by T. John Foster

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