2019 Annual Remembrance Dinner Theatre and Song – “D-Day Remembered”
By: Johannes Bosma
“D-Day Remembered” is the theme of this years Remembrance Dinner Theatre and Song organized by Susan Butler and the Miramichi Folksong Festival, and co-hosted by her and John Bosma on Sunday, November 10 at the Miramichi Beaverbrook Kin Centre, 100 Newcastle Boulevard. At 5pm, Susan will serve another one of her culinary masterpieces – Cranberry Chicken Dinner, followed by dessert – Apple Blueberry Banana Cake with a fudge glaze and whipped cream.
Again this year, Chris Matheson and John Bosma have adapted scripts from historic resources and will feature five presentations which will include Matheson and his MVHS drama students and a possible guest.
The first short play is entitled The Lieutenant and D-Day, adapted by Bosma. This is an a actual account of that day on June 6, 1944 from an officer who was a part of the A & B Companies, North Shore (NB) Regiment, the first men on the beach by St. Aubin-sur-Mer.
The Lieutenant writes: “Yard by yard you move in. Smoke up ahead, and the noise… it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before, even in the blitz in England. What a difference between this and battle camp. Brother, this is for real.”
Ending the first act is the second presentation, a dramatization of “In Flanders Fields”, detailing how the poem came to be written by Lt./Col. John McCrae. Previous to that we will hear the beautiful, harmonic voices of The Villagers and the smooth, calming voice of Jimmy Lawlor.
Act Two will begin with the recitation of a letter which had been featured on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe followed by the musical genius of singer/songwriter, Ian Craig. His final song, The Last Letter, will be aptly followed by Chris Matheson’s dramatization of Archie MacNaughton’s last letter home. Major MacNaughton was Commander of the NSR “A” Company, the first unit on the beach near St. Aubin-sur-Mer.
“They were just kids from New Brunswick; never even left the North Shore before. Dad trained them the best he could but how could they possibly be prepared. This was the biggest operation the world had ever seen. He had already served in the First World War and earned the right to stay home and help raise his children. But how could he send these boys into battle and not be by their side, Many were killed that day (June 6, 1944). One was my father.” – Margaret Catherine MacNaughton.
The final short play, adapted by Chris Matheson, features three Miramichi lads who are listed on the Harkins High School plaque, now hanging in MVHS’s Harkins Hall, which reads: “TO COMMEMORATE THE VALOR OF THE MEN AND THE WOMEN WHO WENT OUT FROM THIS SCHOOL TO FIGHT IN WORLD WAR II AND TO PERPETUATE THE MEMORY OIF THOSE WHO FELL. The three soldiers featured are Aloysius John Daley, Donald Grant Houlston and Fay Howard Kitchen. It also includes the North Shore (NB) Regiment Chaplain, Rev. R.M. Hickey. All four will be played by MVHS students, in uniform.
Keeping to tradition, the evening will wrap up with the ever-popular, beautiful Butler Sisters, Mary and Susan, who will again share some popular music from the war eras. They will be joined at the end by an ensemble of the evening’s performers.
The Annual Remembrance Dinner Theatre & Song will be held at the Kin Centre on November 10, and will begin at 5pm. Reservations are by phone only. The cost is $35 and may be reserved by calling Susan Butler (622-1780) or email .
A shout out of deep appreciation to those brave lads who risked and gave up their lives on this tragic but victorious day, forever known as D-Day – the beginning of the end of World War II. Our lives would have been greatly altered if not for their supreme sacrifice and I wouldn’t be here today living in this beautiful country of Canada.
THANK YOU, lads and ladies, and my heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones for our freedom and betterment of life.
This article was first featured in the Fall 2019 Issue of Giv’er Miramichi magazine.
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