A local composer has shared the story of how a 'secret' poem smuggled under Germans' noses during the Occupation inspired a celebratory piece capturing 75 years since Jersey was freed in a new book.
Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.
With Liberation Day taking place on Sunday, this week's offering is Liberation-themed…
Pictured: Charles was commissioned by the Bailiff’s Chambers to write a four to six minutes piece commemorating the 75th anniversary of the island’s Liberation.
Last year, local composer Charles Mauleverer was commissioned by the Bailiff’s Chambers to write a four to six minutes piece commemorating the 75th anniversary of the island’s Liberation, which he says was a “huge honour”.
“I spent a lot of time reading as many accounts as I could, I chatted to Occupation survivors,” Charles said. “I spent four hours with Bob Le Sueur, I spoke Trevor Green as well, and Stan Keiller, who sadly passed away, without whose help I would not have found the inspiration for the music.”
Stan Keiller pointed Charles towards a book published just after the war called ‘Jersey in Jail, 1940-45’. Written by Horace Wyatt and featuring illustrations by Edmund Blampied, there was one poem in particular called Faithful and Free, which had originally been written by Wyatt for an operetta and performed at the Jersey Opera House during the Occupation.
Video: 'Faithful and Free' was recorded during lockdown.
“They managed to sneak it under the German’s noses by essentially pretending it was about Charlemagne, but it’s very clearly about love of homeland - Jersey and of Britain, and the kinship between the two,” Charles said.
“There’s one last verse which was kept secret and only released after the war. It was about being held in chains and waiting for relief which Horace Wyatt only revealed afterwards.”
The piece was originally set to be performed live on Liberation Square with the Musical Originals choir and a string group but the plans had to be altered, with each of the singers having to record themselves at home.
But, as Charles explained, the project also intended to involve a “very special book”.
“When I was asked by the Bailiff’s Chambers to write this piece to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Jersey the idea was that some members of the Royal Family might be visiting the island.
“The idea was to create a really nice, specially bound version of this book which I was asked to present to those guests. It was a huge honour and something I had not done before, trying to make a music score visually beautiful, thinking carefully about the binding, the cover, the printing, the paper.”
Video: Charles also created a documentary about the piece and how it was created.
Early last year, Charles went to London and visited a number of book binding shops to learn about the different ways of binding, as well as printing, inks and how to print a music score over pictures of Jersey to create “a really lavish production”.
“The more I looked into, the more ambitious I became,” Charles said.
While the pandemic “scuppered” the plans, Charles was determined to create a book anyway. “I had made a wonderful recording and a video of how everything was put together over many months using lots of people’s help, I just thought it would work so naturally to put this in next to the music score, all in one place.”
Pictured: The book features the score over pictures of Jersey.
Charles has now printed a limited number of copies for ‘Faitfhul and Free’ with the help of local company, Bigwoods Premiers Printers.
“It was a really special opportunity and I wanted to show some people on the island what we have been able to do,” Charles said.
“Some people who are interested in the project can pick up a copy. People who are interested in children’s choirs or musical hand written scores might be interested in this as well. It’s been quite an interesting experience.”
The book is available from Island Music, WHSmith, Waterstones, as well as Jersey Heritage outlets.
Liberation Day celebrations will once again be virtual. Due to “continuing covid uncertainty”, the Bailiff’s Chambers announced in April that this year’s celebrations would be scaled back and delivered via social media, with ‘Liberation 77’ next set to make up for the big celebrations the island missed due to the pandemic.
The official schedule of celebrations, which will be live-streamed, is as follows:
10:30 Special States Sitting with a limited number of States members attending due to physical distancing.
10:50 Musical Originals to sing
10:55 Bailiff’s public address
11:00 Service of Thanksgiving by the Dean of Jersey from the Town Church
11:05 Beautiful Jersey sung by Musical Originals soloist
11:02 Re-enactment of the Liberation including the Jersey Field Squadron retracing the footsteps of F135
11:06 Flag raising/National Anthem
In addition, the Bailiff Chambers will be assisting the Liberation Music Festival as well as delivering Lib Stream (a Liberation 75 initiative) to give islanders the opportunity to enjoy some form of entertainment from the comfort of their home regardless of the restrictions.
Debuted last year from the top balcony Fort Regent, the Lib Stream will this year be coming live from Mont Orgueil Castle from 19:00 on Saturday 8 May.
It will feature Moya, who appeared on ITV's The Voice in 2019, along with a lineup of local DJs including Warren Le Sueur, Si Gasston, DJ Lora, Craig Alder and Colin Moore.
Meanwhile, the Liberation International Music Festival will kick off its 13th edition on Liberation Day at 20:00 with the Virtual Liberation Day Celebration featuring more than 100 Jersey musicians – including Jersey Chamber Orchestra, Georgi Mottram, Benjamin Lewis, Optimistic Voices.
The festival, which aims to champion local music, will also welcome internationally renowned artists to the island virtually and feature a mixture of socially distanced outdoor concerts and virtual concerts.
Running until June, there will be a number of ‘Musical Walks’ around St. Aubin’s Bay, St. Ouen’s Manor and Rozel as well as concerts at sea in Portelet and Beauport Bay, culminating in the Liberation@Home Finale, a digital concert featuring Jersey stars alongside international soloists, on 20 June at 20:00.
Local band The Parazone, which is fronted by Luciano Brambilla and mixes psych rock, garage rock, progressive rock and alternative rock, has written a new song to celebrate Liberation Day.
Produced by Paul Bentley, the accompanying video is a poignant mix of footage showing moments of smiling, flag-waving, joy and celebration on the day the island was first liberated from Occupation from Jersey Archive.
Luciano told Express he hopes that the song will one day "future anthem for the island."
His tune will be played live at one of the Liberation concerts in June. It is also available to stream and download on all the sites such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.
Video: Carolyn Rose Ramsay enlisted five local dancers for a commission by ArtHouse Jersey.
A Jersey-based dancer, who has worked for the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and the Norwegian National Ballet, has enlisted five local dancers to create a one-off piece telling the stories of people who lived through the Occupation.
Carolyn Rose Ramsay's 'Seventy Six Steps' includes voices from various Occupation survivors, captured as part of the ‘Face of Liberation’ project, such as Barbara Frost, Joyce Norman, and the late Bernie Turpin.
Pictured: Commissioned by ArtHouse Jersey, the video was shot by Submarine Creative across various locations around the island.
Shot by Submarine Creative across various locations around the island, the video features Bird College graduate Veronica Fulton, former professional dancer Alicia Beck, Central School of Dance Teacher Sophie Marett, Tring Park School for Performing Arts graduate Jade O’Leary and Hautlieu teacher Jenna-Marie Oldham.
“Having arrived on the island not long before covid, Jersey has been a haven in a storm for me,” Carolyn said.
Pictured: The video includes voices from various Occupation survivors.
She continued: “I have been embraced by such a wonderful community of genuinely caring and supportive people here.
“This film is a love letter to our island, to its history and its future, and to the inspiring people who have made it what it is. I have been so grateful to be part of this project and to work with these dedicated and talented artists."
As part of the 75th anniversary of Jersey's Liberation from occupying forces in 2020, Jersey Arts Centre commissioned 17 local poets to write about the ideas of occupation, liberation and reconciliation. Originally presented digitally from 1 May 2020 via the Arts Centre's website and social media platforms, the poems are now available to view on the walls of the Berni Gallery.
The ‘word exhibition’ features work from Alice Allen, Robert James Anderson, Alastair Best, Sharon Champion, Simon Crowcroft, Wendy Falla, Christian Foley, Juliette Hart, Geraint Jennings, Judy Mantle, Nicky Mesch, Jacqueline Mézec, Traci O’Dea, Linda Rose Parkes, Richard Pedley, Martin Porter and Colin Scott.
“It is exciting to see the words of these inspiring island poets come to life on the walls of the Berni Gallery in their various shapes and styles,” Daniel Austin, the Director of Jersey Arts Centre, said.
“Themes include personal and family memories, stories of the Occupation and Liberation Day, as well as meditations on what freedom means today. From lyrical poems to hard-hitting social commentary, with magical realism and Jèrriais, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this landmark exhibition.”
'seventy-five years' follows in the footsteps of '100 Poems', organised in Autumn 2014 to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.
The poems are on display until Saturday 22 May and can be seen between 08:00 and 22:00 from Monday to Saturday.
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