From 1938 until 1944, pilots from across the Commonwealth and the U.S.A. trained at large and small airports throughout Canada in preparation for joining the Allied forces in Europe. One of these airports was in Dunnville, where 2,436 pilots trained at the #6 S.F.T.S. (Service Flying Training School), located beside the Grand River where it flows into Lake Erie.
Emotional, memorable, and moving, the one-of-a-kind musical Song of the Grand is a true story, representative of many of these young pilots, co-producer Susan Hall told the Thorold News.
She and her husband George have made their home in Dunnville for 41 years.
George, who wrote the musical, based the show's premise on two of his relatives—an uncle and a great-uncle—who were among the many Dunnville pilots joining Allied forces in Europe during World War II.
Song of the Grand tells the story of two Ontario friends, Michael and David, who have recently married their school sweethearts—Joan and Mary—who just happen to be sisters. David has enlisted in the navy and Michael has finished flight training in Dunnville and is slated to fly for the R.C.A.F.
Song of the Grand honours all the courageous men and women who, while risking their lives, secured our freedom.
The show is “super high quality,” and “a hidden gem,” said Susan, adding that audiences immediately identify with the story line.
“At one of the performances we gave, a lady came up and said, ‘That’s me’!”
Produced by Soundstage Niagara Productions, Song of the Grand has been playing to audiences for eight years. Initially a one-man show, it has now expanded to include four world-class performers telling this compelling story in song and narration.
The cast includes Toronto pianist Brahm Goldhamer, female soprano Iris Rodrigues, Canon Robert Brownlie as the narrator, and George Hall himself as the male singer.
St. John’s Church musical director Melissa-Marie Shriner said all are welcome to attend, and encourages veterans to come in uniform.
Tickets cost $20 for the show, which starts at 7 p.m., and is a fundraiser to support the music program at St John’s, located at 12 Carleton St. S., Thorold. Call 905-227-5431 for more information.
The performance is general seating and is wheelchair-accessible.