Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Christmas Truce of 1914: A History

by Nina Reynolds
Theater and Dance Coordinator

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has served as an inspiration to many artists, including Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, and John McCutcheon in the United States and Mike Harding and The Farm in Britain. This December, Cantus brings its own artistic interpretation of this dramatic historical moment to the Wisconsin Union Theater.

It's no wonder this truce has been such an inspiration -- the story of that Christmas is incredibly hopeful and touching.

During World War I, on the 24th of December, 1914, German troops on the Western Front in Ypres, Belgium began decorating their trenches with candles and Christmas trees and singing Christmas carols. The British troops whom they had been fighting responded with their own Christmas carols and soon Christmas greetings were being shouted back and forth between the troops. Eventually both sides met in "No Man's Land" between the trenches and exchanged gifts of food, tobacco, alcohol, buttons and hats. Troops were allowed to gather their deceased and give them a proper burial. In some sectors of the frontline, no shots were fired until after New Year's Day.

Cantus, the amazing male a cappella choral group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, brings this story to life in their rendition of what happened on the Western Front that night so long ago. Written and directed by Peter Rothstein, this musical is pieced together from postcards, pictures and memorabilia that he has gathered from Europe and from relatives over the years. Although many soldiers didn't live through the war to tell the story themselves, their writings and photographs live on today and their tale of peace in the midst of a terrible war brings hope to all who experience it.

Join us on December 11th for this moving and poignant performance that captures the spirit of the dialogue, merriment, kindness, and song of that December 96 years ago. This is an event for the whole family to share. In fact, up to two youth tickets are only $14 with the purchase of an adult ticket. Pin It

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