Page 17 - FIS World Feb 2019
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Celebrating Peace
An event at FIS commemorates 100 years of the WWI Armistice
At 11:11 on 11 November 1918, the World War I Armistice began.
Precisely 100 years later, at 11:11 on 11 November 2018, in the FIS Auditorium a tribute to the
100th anniversary of the Armistice began. As the sound of a bugle fell silent, IB Diploma Coordinator, Daniel Toyne, took to the
stage to read Laurence Binyon’s (1869-1943) poem, “For the Fallen,” which succinctly communicated the goal of the event: to “... remember them.”
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning - We will remember them.
Planning for the FIS Armistice anniversary event was more than a year in the making and started when Mr. Toyne met with Upper School Performing Arts teachers and they agreed that FIS, with its rich diversity and internationally-minded community, would be the perfect place to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. “We felt that it was important to make sure we remembered those who fought and died for our freedom,” said Mr. Toyne.
In the months that followed, Upper School Drama teacher, Annie McManners, and Mr. Toyne began recruiting performers. There were few requirements and the only
guidelines, Ms. McManners said, were that “The event must be multilingual. It must include teachers and students. The performances must be dramatic!"
The student, faculty and staff performers who participated in the anniversary event definitely
adhered to the guidelines, presenting four poems,
one dance, three short plays, eight readings and three songs in
languages that spanned English, French, German,
Italian and Turkish. In addition, the FIS
Honor Strings and FIS Concert
Choir both
performed under the direction
of Upper School Music teachers Julie Borsodi- Benson and Debra Damron.
Cana, a Grade 9 student who is fluent in English, German and Turkish, read a speech in Turkish by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Cana said of the speech – and of her experience as a performer in the event – “We are all humans, no matter where we are from. Humans should be hand in hand as we were in this performance
– different cultures from different nations sitting and performing and mourning together.”
Bryne Stothard, Grade 11 Year Head and Geography Teacher, played the role of an incarcerated conscientious objector in a short play titled “Soldiers,” written by English teacher, Louise Wade. Similar to Cana, Mr. Stothard said the role prompted him to think about how “We are all more alike than different. We have more in common.” He also emphasized that “We need to learn from history.”
Ms. McManners wrote a song for the event entitled “It’s Not the End.” Performed by Grade 12 student Natalya, it also emphasized that we as a human race should not only learn from the past, but use that knowledge of history to guide
younger generations on a path to a bright and more peaceful future:
Let’s love our children,
Let’s watch them grow,
Let’s try to teach them all the things
They need to know.
In the final performance of the commemoration, the entire cast, along with audience members, sang “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” written by Lena Guilbert Ford with music by Ivor Novello. There was a palpable sense of emotion as the words
“Keep the home fires burning while your hearts are yearning” rang through the air. Following the performance, Dr. Stephan Falk, FIS parent and Board of Trustees member, said: “The performance was a singular experience. I was very impressed by the unvarnished expression of grief and terror in the different languages. Regardless of the words used, the voices conveyed the same message of anguish and mourning.”
As the event concluded,
Mr. Toyne offered a final thought: “It is important as an
international community that we have heard each other’s voices and each other’s perspectives,” he said. “This is
a gift that was not given to the generation that fought the wars we are remembering today.“ He then invited the audience to join for a continued dialogue not just about war, but also about peace.
Emmett Kelly FIS Parent
Scan the QR code to watch the full Armistice commemoration performance
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