Melody for our fallen soldiers

By Simon Plumb

Musical salute to be heard at dawn parade.
Proceeds from the sale of Marian Burns' recorded tribute to New Zealanders who died in World War I will go to the Returned Services Association. Photo / Alan Gibson
Proceeds from the sale of Marian Burns' recorded tribute to New Zealanders who died in World War I will go to the Returned Services Association. Photo / Alan Gibson

A moving tribute to Kiwi soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I has struck a chord with Hollywood heavyweight Sir Peter Jackson.

Kiwi entertainer Marian Burns last weekend launched her new single, Beautiful Soldier, at Auckland's Pt Chevalier RSA.

Before its release, the song and its accompanying video had already generated interest from Sir Peter, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and New Zealand Defence Force officials.

"The Governor-General and Sir Peter have seen the video. Sir Peter has asked for a copy and shown it to the Burnham Military Camp. I've since been asked if it can be used at the Anzac Day dawn parade [in North Canterbury]," Burns told the Herald on Sunday. "It's amazing. I'm so proud, I'm absolutely humbled."

Proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the Returned Services Association.

Burns self-funded the project. The writing and recording process allowed her to learn more about her own grandfather, Norman Neil Clark, who was a stretcher bearer during World War I.

"[The song] is for the ones who died at war, the ones who never made it home," she said.

"I wrote it in June 2014 and started singing it to my Mum. She started telling me about my granddad, who I never met, and the whole story of the war."

Composer and singer Marian Burns' tribute to Kiwi WWI soldiers has struck a chord with Sir Peter Jackson.
Composer and singer Marian Burns' tribute to Kiwi WWI soldiers has struck a chord with Sir Peter Jackson.

Burns said she has been flooded with positive feedback over the Beautiful Soldier project.

"It has been overwhelming; everyone has a cry and has their own family story to tell.

"We've put together a video with footage from the New Zealand Defence Force archives. It's a beautiful package and I'm really proud of it."

When Burns is not working on her own music she is a music teacher at Marina View School, near Hobsonville Airbase.

The release of Beautiful Soldier comes as the country prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the April 25, 1915, landings at Anzac Cove, and all of our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice on battlefields around the world.

marianburns.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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