Type of post: Club news
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sun, 17 Jun 2018

Anzac Day 2018
Novatones Men’s Chorus was called on to be an active part of two Anzac Day services in the Newcastle Area this year and both were wonderful to be part of. 


Nobby’s Beach Dawn Service 5:00 am
Anzac Day at Nobbies Beach Foreshore Park this year was once again a solemn, proud occasion. This special day is certainly not dwindling in popularity, even though there are no WW 1, and very few WW2 veterans left.  The Anzac Day services still refer back to the horrific events of those two world wars, but also acknowledge the bravery, sacrifice and efforts of our service men and woman who have served since those two major wars.  This is in places such as: Malaya, Korea, Borneo, The Persian Gulf, Vietnam, and the more recent conflicts that have arisen since 2000, in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor, Iraq and Syria.  The huge crowd of people who attended this dawn service, were reminded of how lucky we are, and how thankful we should be that we can live in freedom today, due to the efforts of our service personnel.   As the attendance was predicted to be large, we were asked to be in the Nobbies carpark at 3:30 a.m. however there were not many cars on the road, so we were able to drive up to and into the carpark, through various car checks- amazing where you can get to with the right security clearance as VIPs!  We had rehearsal, alongside the famous Waratah girls’ choir, with the Australian Infantry band, before heading in the semi-darkness onto the stage.   The programme started at 5:00 a.m., with TV screens.  As in previous occasions, it was a very moving ceremony and it was good to be a part of. Our contribution of Anzac Day standards were well received by the crowd and they were not deterred, even when rain started to fall!  We were accompanied by the local Army band and our singing, alongside the Waratah Girls’ Choir, was ably directed by their leader, Lindy Connett.

Charlestown 11:00 a.m.
The Charlestown Anzac Day Service was set down to be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Lions Park, Carl Close Charlestown. However due to rain, the venue was moved to the nearby Charlestown Bowling Club.  The choir that had been expected to lead the audience in singing the Anzac Day songs, was unable to attend. With little notice, Novatones was asked to fill in for them.  This request was accepted and eight of us managed to attend.  I was surprised that hundreds of locals attended that service, in the main club hall. We led the singing in four songs, under somewhat difficult circumstances, as one of the songs was not known to us, and we were singing to an old tape, which for some of the songs had an introduction while one did not!  I felt that this was a very moving service and that the two main orators did an excellent job. The current school captain of Whitebridge High School spoke very well as did a female, senior Army leader.  Once again our group’s contribution was well-received and we even asked to attend again next year!
Mark Henley
Novatones Reporter


Memorial Service for Helen Davelaar 22nd May 2018
Derek Davelaar, one of the stalwarts of Novatones, recently lost his wife Helen, due to complications following heart surgery.   After a small private family funeral service, and at short notice, a Memorial Service for all those who wished to pay their respects, was arranged.  Derek is a long-time local solicitor and well-known Newcastle identity.  Helen, was also very well-known in the town, so this service was expected to be a big event, and it was! A wonderful celebration of Helen’s life enfolded.  The Newcastle Town Hall was filled with people from all walks of life.  As well as family, friends and work colleagues present, there were quite a number of people who had been helped by Helen, at some low point in their lives.  Their feelings for her, were shown in the tears on lots of faces. Stories, pictures and video clips of Helen, standing up for what anything that she believed to be an injustice, were awe-inspiring. Helen had been a champion in the fight for justice for child sexual-abuse survivors in her role as a Maitland-Newcastle diocese child-protection officer. Helen was also a vocal advocate for aboriginal rights and acceptance. This was evident by the number of indigenous people who attended.  The 1 hour 40min Memorial Service was a fitting celebration of Helen’s life and her work in the community.  The large audience was alternatively transfixed in reverent silence, then occasionally howling with laughter as various speakers from the family, her lifelong friends and work-colleagues, spoke of their experiences with this wonderful lady, whose life was cut far too short.   
The celebration of Helen’s life continued in convention room, at Customs House on the Newcastle Harbour waterfront.  Davelaar family photos were on display and they brought back memories for her friends, family and acquaintances, who met up and reminisced about wonderful times with Helen, over some delicious eats and drinks. As a fitting gesture to Helen, there was a solemn aboriginal dance, put on by a young local family unit. 
Then it was our turn!  In support of Derek, a group of us from Novatones had attended both functions.  Derek joined with us to sing to the encouraging audience, which became vocal and enthusiastic, as we sang a couple of rousing well-known songs:  ‘Mary-Lou’ and ‘Barbara-Ann’.  It felt to those who were there, that at that moment, there was a pressure-release of the tension of the whole sad event. We finished off with the more thoughtful and good wishes of ‘Irish Blessing’, which was appreciated. It was a real privilege to be involved in a tribute to a lovely lady, devoted mother and grandmother, as well as a much-loved person in the local community! 
Our thoughts are with Derek and his family, at this difficult time.   
Mark Henley
Novatones Bari