Crimson Sound 2017 Print E-mail



St Matthew’s Church, King Street, Hastings presented a commemorative concert,  "Crimson Sound: Faraway Voices”, on 17 June 2017.

The concert featured music, readings, poems, and photographs to tell the stories of those who fought in the battle of Messines 100 years ago.

Following on from the 2015 concert “Crimson Sound”, which explored the Gallipoli landing, mother and son Ann and Russ Kale turned to the battle of Messines in 1917. “Messines and the surrounding battles sometimes fade a little in our remembrance of the First World War,” Russ says. “Gallipoli and Passchendale are rightly remembered for the scale of both New Zealand's courage and its loss. Messines was considered to be a victory for our forces, but even then it hit the local community hard, with dozens of Hastings men killed or wounded in the space of a single week.” The centenary of the battle has encouraged the pair to view Messines through fresh eyes. “We think of these battles as being chaotic, and they were, but what came through in our research was the moments of human connection: between parents and children, between soldiers, between a small New Zealand town and a trench on the other side of the world. It's those human moments in a time when much was inhumane and at times inhuman, that we want to commemorate.”

The concert featured letters from soldiers and poems, along with images of World War 1 troops both at home and overseas. Local musicians Grace Notes, the flute and piano duo of Kathy Kain and Linda Gilchrist, the choir Cantare conducted by Joe Christensen, and Greg McEwen on flugelhorn accompanied by Tania Van Niekerk will all perform. As with the first concert, the forty-four names of the members of St Matthew’s who travelled to the ends of the earth and did not return were read in a Roll of Honour. This proved to be a very moving part of both occasions. The evening was a combination of history, theatre, poetry and music, to providing a space for listeners to reflect on the stories and sacrifices of the First World War.



St Matthew's Memoral Cairn

Click here for the full list of names on the St Matthew's Memorial Cairn.

The names on our memorial cairn include parishioners who fell at Messines.

"The New Zealanders paid a heavy price for success: by the time the New Zealand Division was withdrawn on 9 June, it had suffered 3700 casualties, 700 of them fatal."

Read more about the Battle of Messines at


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