Commemorating the Battle of Ypenburg

On 10th May, 2020, the Netherlands marks eighty years since the country was drawn into the Second World War.

Early in the morning on 10th May, 1940, Hitler’s troops invaded the Netherlands. One of their goals was to capture The Hague, the seat of government. After an airborne attack, they managed to capture the three airports around the Hague: Ypenburg, Ockenburg, and Valkenburg. However, the Dutch launched a counter attack in Ypenburg and managed to recapture the airport, in spite of being heavily outnumbered and lacking in equipment.

In the Battle of Ypenburg, near the Hague, around one hundred Dutch soldiers were killed as they recaptured airport at Ypenburg from invading troops. Around one hundred Dutch soldiers died in the attempt, and the airport buildings were destroyed. This victory gave enough time for Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Bernhard, and senior members of the Dutch government, to escape to England.

The Battle of Ypenburg is commemorated every year on 10th May. Emma has been invited to sing at the ceremony, which will be broadcast on the Dutch television channel SBS6 on “Hart van Nederland.”

The ceremony is held at the Ypenburg Monument, which has the inscription “Attacked but not defeated.”

Sunday, 10th May, 14:00, live on SBS6 from the Ypenburg Monument in The Hague, the Netherlands.

2020-05-10T10:04:34+02:00May 9th, 2020|

Virtual Parade 2020

To mark VE Day during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Steven Carr organised a virtual parade. Over 350 Royal British Legion Standard Bearers sent footage of themselves performing the Act of Remembrance. These were compiled into a video.

Emma sang “We’ll Meet Again” at end of the video.

2020-05-10T10:09:45+02:00May 8th, 2020|

A Video for VE Day!

Emma was invited to collaborate with her former primary school, Nottingham Girls’ High School, in a music video of “We’ll Meet Again” for VE Day.

The girls have been at home in lockdown, with their lessons taking place over the internet. Each girl recorded in her own home, and the video was mixed by music teacher Mark Rolfe.

Here is the result:

With thanks to Mark Rolfe, Peter Breedijk, Isla Keys, Mark Cox, and to the girls and their parents.

2020-05-07T23:07:55+02:00May 7th, 2020|

Anne Frank and Liberation Day

Anne Frank
Source: Wikimedia Commons

On 5th May, 2020, the Dutch celebrate seventy-five years of liberation since the Second World War. Together with guitarist Luc Groen, pianist Huub de Vriend, and the Rev. Margreet Klokke, Emma will participate in a live broadcast for Dutch liberation day.

One of the most famous Dutch citizens of the Second World War was a young girl called Anne Frank. Whilst in hiding in the secret annex, she wrote in her diary that she wanted to become a writer. She is now one of the most internationally-read Dutch writers. Alas, she did not live to know this: she died in Bergen Belsen in 1944.

Anne Frank lived in a much more severe lockdown. In spite of this, she found some sense of inner freedom.

The Rev. Margreet Klokke has organized a beautiful programme about Anne Frank and her diary, including readings by Dutch girls of the same age.

The programme will be streamed on www.sleutelstad.tv at 13:10 on Tuesday, 5th May.

Please note, the main spoken language will be Dutch.

2020-05-02T14:02:51+02:00May 2nd, 2020|

Remembrance Day in the Netherlands

The Dutch have their day of commemoration on 4th May: the last day of the year that the Dutch mainland was occupied in the Second World War before the surrender of the Third Reich forces on May, 1945.

This year marks seventy five years since the end of the Nazi occupation, which was a time of great suffering for the Dutch, especially the hunger winter of 1944-1945 in which around 20,000 people perished.

The 2020 commemorations have been affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the measures taken to protect the population.

In Leiden, there will be several live broadcasts at the city’s monuments, as well as prerecorded material, so that people at home can still participate in Dutch remembrance traditions.

Emma is really touched to be one of the few people will be present as part of the live broadcasts, singing the Dutch National Anthem, “Het Wilhelmus” at the Haagsche Schouw at 15:00 and “Abide with Me” and “Het Wilhelmus” at the monument De Valk at 19:00.

Both ceremonies will be broadcast on Sleutelstad TV, and can be watched online here.

2020-05-02T14:05:56+02:00April 25th, 2020|

A Little St Matthew Passion, live-streamed

Please join us on Good Friday at 10:30 for a live streaming of a Mini-Mattheüs with meditation from the Hooglandse Kerk. Four Leiden singers, an organist, a minister, and a technician have teamed up to present an abridged version of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The streaming link can be found on www.hooglandsekerk.com and it will also be broadcast on Dutch television, on Unity TV.

The initiative came from verger Ronald Hartsuiker. He asked his partner, mezzo-soprano Emma Brown, if she thought it would be possible to perform the St Matthew Passion within the new social distancing guidelines. The work is originally for two choirs, a children’s chorus, six soloists, and a small orchestra. This far exceeds the current guidelines that only seven people should attend Leiden’s protestant chuches. So Ronald challenged Emma to work out a way of performing the Mattheüs within the maatregelen: a very limited number people in the church. 

When Emma moved to Leiden in 2007, she was suprised by the enthusiasm of the Dutch for the St. Matthew Passion. “It’s performed in England, but it’s not given the same reverence as it is here. I understood why Ronald wanted to continue the tradition this year, even if we have to make changes and adapt because of the new guidelines.”

The St Matthew Passion is Bach’s setting of the gospel of St Matthew, chapters 26 and 27, together with chorals and arias by various authors. The libretto was compiled by Picander, the pen-name of Christian Friedrich Henrici. The words of the gospel are mostly sung by a tenor (the evangelist) and a bass (Jesus) in recitative: a style of music with minimum accompaniment to suggest speech. The gospel is occasionally interupted by an aria, chorus, or chorale which reflects on the gospel.

In our mini-version, we present a selection of the chorales, choruses and arias. These include “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,” “Erbarme dich,” “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,” and the closing chorus. In between the fourteen extracts, the gospel texts will be read by the minister of the Leidse Binnenstadsgemeente, Margreet Klokke. Our other verger and in-house technical genius, Peter Breedijk, is arranging the live-streaming. The singers, all from Leiden, are soprano Saskia Brons, mezzo-soprano Emma Brown, tenor Jacob Trudy, and bass Eric Brons. Saskia and Eric Brons both sing in the Leidse Cantorij, the choir of the Hooglandse Kerk, and co-ordinated the purchasing and restoring of the magnificent Father Willis organ. This organ will be played by Willke Smits, organist of the Hooglandse Kerk.

Ronald Hartsuiker says: “As the guidelines have become stricter, we have naturally allowed fewer people into the church. It is heartening to see that people are watching the live stream each Sunday. Before I worked for the church, I worked in healthcare and I am aware of the loneliness caused by isolation and boredom. I am glad we are able to present something from us who work in the church for both the church community and the wider community in Leiden.”

2020-04-08T09:38:32+02:00April 9th, 2020|

A Virtual Commemoration of the Battle of Arras

A photo of 2019’s Dawn Ceremony, before the COVID-19 social distancing rules.

103 years ago, on 9th April 1917, the Battle of Arras began, a battle which caused over a quarter of a million casualties and losses. Each year, the city of Arras commemorates the dead during a dawn ceremony at the Wellington Tunnels.

In 1916, 500 miners from the New Zealand Tunneling Company including Māori and Pacific Islanders, together with the Royal Engineer tunneling companies, dug twelve miles of tunnels to connect the existing tunnels under and around Arras. They were fitted with electricity, running water, latrines, a light rail system and a hospital. They could accommodate over 20,000 people.

At 05:30 on the morning of 9th April, 1917, the exits of the tunnels were dynamited and the allied soldiers began their attack on enemy trenches. Despite initial success at pushing back the enemy line, the casualty rates reached over 4000 per day and the offensive was called off.

On 9th April, the Battle of Arras will be commemorated on Facebook. there will be broadcasts of music, speeches, and remembrance ceremonies throughout the day, including speeches by the Mayor of Arras, the British and New Zealand ambassadors, and film-maker Sir Peter Jackson. Emma will sing at 06:30 and 09:30, and she was honoured to be invited to speak the Act of Remembrance in English.

To follow the event, please “like” the Carrière Wellington facebook page, and  you will be able to see the events in your news feed: www.facebook.com/CarriereWellington

2020-04-08T09:30:46+02:00April 8th, 2020|