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article imageLyon's concert in support of injured military personnel Special

By Michael Cosgrove     Nov 24, 2010 in Entertainment
Lyon’s military band and the civilian harmonic orchestra got together yesterday to play a benefit concert in support of the families of French soldiers injured in conflict zones around the world.
Military bands have existed for centuries and they used to consist of buglers, fife and bagpipe players, trumpets and drums. They would play battlefield music to control troop movements and motivate them as well as perform as marching bands.
Nowadays however they are more like orchestras, using violins, tubas, double basses and timpani to play a much more varied repertoire in many different contexts. Lyon’s ensemble is no exception and they took to the stage yesterday at the Bourse du Travail Theater to offer a wide-ranging selection of songs in a joint concert with the city’s harmonic orchestra. No entry fee was charged, with the organizers preferring to rely on donations from the audience to help the families of military personnel overcome the consequences of their loved ones being injured in conflict zones.
When I arrived towards the end of the musicians’ last-minute rehearsal there were not only brass instruments to be seen, there was also a lot of military brass waiting to welcome the audience, and the musicians were running over Hans Zimmer’s 'Pirates of the Caribbean.'
Military officers at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater
Military officers at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater
France, like any other country, provides facilities and finance to help its war wounded and their families overcome their ordeal, but just as important as this kind of direct aid is the need to reach out to the public and make them aware of the issues, as Adjutant and stage manager Francis Lacombe pointed out during an informal conversation with performers and Lyon’s military press corps.
Adjutant Eric Canard  Press Corps member Eloïse Schneider  Press Corps Chief Colonel Fayet and Adju...
Adjutant Eric Canard, Press Corps member Eloïse Schneider, Press Corps Chief Colonel Fayet and Adjutant Francis Lacombe
“The French army used to be known as ‘La Grande Muette’ (‘The Great Mute’) in reference to the military’s traditional prohibition from expressing itself on social and political issues” he said, “but this is different. The aim of this and similar concerts is not only to raise money but to remind the public and the media of the challenges being faced by the relatives and friends of their loved ones who have suffered. This event is our link to the public.”
Adjutant and band member Eric Canard pointed out that although financial help is necessary, “Families – and that means children too – need psychological and affective aid too. It’s not just a question of money, it’s knowing that people care. Tonight’s collaboration is an exchange between musicians from both the military and civilian areas and it represents the fact that this is not just about playing military marching songs. War is real, and soldiers fight it, but they appreciate public support, including via cultural means.”
Musicians at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater1
Musicians at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater1
Musicians at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater2
Musicians at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater2
The repertoire included music of various styles, including J.S. Bach’s wistfully melancholic ‘Bist du Bei Mir’, John Williams’ ‘Hymn to the Fallen’ and Lloyd Weber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ all conducted by conductor Pascal Charton.
Musicians at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater3
Musicians at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater3
Musicians at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater
Musicians at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater
One lucky lady got to watch the preparations from the seat of her choice and the public began to arrive well before the concert began. The French army may well be called ‘The Great Mute’, but it had an evening off yesterday in order to express itself loud and clear and with the help of music.
Audience member at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater
Audience member at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater
Public waiting for the doors to open at Lyon s Bourse du Travail Theater
Public waiting for the doors to open at Lyon's Bourse du Travail Theater
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