CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: North Lakeshore Chorus offers tribute concert to the Hasty P’s

Canadian War Cemetery in Agora, Sicily. (Submitted Photo)




Readers of this newspaper will be aware of the important contributions of our local Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment to the success of the allied forces in World War II.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the regiment’s key role in the invasion of Sicily in the summer of 1943.

To mark the occasion, Michael Korn’s North Lakeshore Chorus offers a concert on Sunday 3 November at the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Picton. St. Mary Magdalene was the garrison church for the regiment, which was housed in the Armoury before departing for Europe in 1939. “In a small town, the departure of 1,000 soldiers would have had a huge social impact,” said Mr. Korn.

The concert features about 30 singers from different choral organizations in Toronto, Belleville and Kingston. The North Lakeshore Chorus has performed many commemorative concerts since it first formed in 1993 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, they have honoured many anniversaries of both World Wars with concerts in Ontario, the Maritimes, and Europe.

Mr. Korn remembers their 2015 tour of England and France, which included a performance at the Canadian National Monument at Vimy. In 2019, to mark the departure of the local regiment in 1939, the chorus performed in Italy. They visited the gravesites of Hastings and Prince Edward soldiers and recited their names. “The worst one was the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, where we read 108 names. It must have been devastating back home, for a small rural community.”

Born in England to German parents who escaped Nazi Germany just in time, and who, in the case of his father, fought in the British army, Mr. Korn feels a strong connection to those who made the supreme sacrifice in order to preserve the way of life we now enjoy.  “As time goes on, these events go more and more into the past, and it’s very important that we do remember that sacrifice because we do enjoy what we have because of what they were willing to give.”

The choral concert is an act of remembrance. Through its selection of songs it will tell the story of the brave Canadians who left to fight in Italy, remembering their heroism.

The concert takes place at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Picton at 3 p.m., with a special presentation about the Sicilian Campaign at 2 p.m. by retired Captain Neil Burrell. All tickets $20 at the door; children 12 and under $10.