Wirral choirs to lead D-Day 70th anniversary gala concert

Bob Barker

Eric Goldrein

First published in News Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

WIRRAL choirs will feature in a special concert marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Compered by BBC Radio Merseyside's Roger Phillips, it will be held at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool on Sunday, April 27.

Wirral Community Choir and the West Kirby Light Opera Society have come together to form the "Celebration Singers"  for this special concert.

During the show, army veterans Bob Barker, 91, from Upton and Eric Goldrein, 93, from Hale in Liverpool will share stories of their experiences of D-Day, on June 6, 1944.

The show’s producer, Birkenhead-based Grahman Connolly told the Globe: "I was looking for veterans to take part in a show marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day and asked Roger Phillips to put out an appeal for people to come forward.

"We had about a dozen people ring up. I would love to have had them all on stage, but it was just not possible.

"What we have in Eric and Bob are two real heroes, who have some incredible tales to tell."

Young Bob, just 20 years old at the time of D-Day describes the horror of seeing his mates being killed all around him, as he made his way to shore at dawn, and then the supreme relief many hours later of a simple, hot cuppa.

Eric had the hair-raising experience of being captured by a German Battalion, but managed to talk the German Commander into surrendering himself and his men – he has not lost his way with words 70 years later.

Graham continued: "Bob's bravery was incredible. I went to meet him recently and he is the livest of wires.

"He may be 91, but he's 15 in his heart."

The combined choirs' 150 singers will be conducted by Steve Mannings and Rob Bowness, performing with the internationally renowned Northop Silver Band, directed by Thomas Wyss and the White Cliffs of Dover Dancers directed by Deborah Clark.

The programme is packed with variety. There will be solemn and glorious musical moments to reflect and remember, as well as many chances to enjoy the nostalgia of popular songs and tunes of the time.

The audience is invited to turn up in 1940’s outfits or wear battle dress and medals, and the join in a hearty singalong in the grand finale.

Graham Connolly continued: "It should be a great night. There are about 200 tickets to sell which, for 1600-seat theatre is incredible.

"I think it's going to be a sell-out."

Tickets are still available from the Philharmonic Box Office on 0151 709 3789 or www.liverpoolphil.com

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