Edie Daponte will transport the audience back to the Second World War era when she performs “We’ll Meet Again” at Knox United Church in Parksville on Nov. 11.
The 2 p.m. show includes renditions of songs by Vera Lynn, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, who lifted the spirits of Allied soldiers fighting far from home.
The show’s title was inspired Lynn’s version of ‘We’ll Meet Again’, written by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. The song was one of the most famous of the era and popular with soldiers separated from loved ones.
“I think that song resonates with all of us,” Daponte said. “Especially with the correlation with Remembrance Day, honouring our heroes, our fallen heroes.”
Lynn’s version includes a chorus of soldiers singing in the background, something that resonated with Daponte. The show begins and ends with ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and the audience is invited to sing along to the finale.
Daponte’s father-in-law, who died a few years ago, served in the Second World War as a young man.
“I always remember him when I’m singing these songs,” she said. “It’s hard for us to imagine, but it’s not that long ago.”
Daponte added the concert is about honouring all fallen heroes, and not just those who served in the world wars. She will be joined by Joey Smith on guitar and Damian Graham, originally from Parksville, on the drums.
Smith, who has toured with the famous Glen Miller Orchestra, has collaborated with Daponte for about 10 years, both as a duo and in a big band.
“He’s just the most beloved guitarist and bassist on the Island,” she added.
Special guest vocalist Gina Allan, from Qualicum Beach, will perform some opening songs.
During a performance, Daponte will ask if there are any veterans in the audience, which is how Daponte met Allan and her mother — Allan’s father was a veteran of the Second World War.
“She will be opening one of our sets with a couple of songs to honour her father,” Daponte said.
In addition to the music, she also shares stories about Lynn, Piaf and Dietrich, who lived interesting lives.
When the war broke out in Europe, Piaf was 25-years-old and within a year her country was occupied by the Nazis. She was instrumental in helping a number of Allied prisoners of war (POW) escape, during performances at POW camps in Germany, according to an account by her secretary Andrée Bigard, a member of the French Resistance.
“She was a force of nature,” Daponte said. “While she kept singing, she was also making a difference.”
Dietrich’s version of ‘Lili Marleen’, a song about a soldier thinking of his girlfriend back home, was popularized in German, but soon British soldiers were whistling and humming along to its catchy melody.
English lyrics were written for the song and then French soldiers also began to hum along to it.
“It’s just ironic that they were all listening and relating to the same song, while they were fighting,” Daponte said. “It’s incredible how music is so universal and brought everyone together.”
She added she is grateful for her following in Parksville.
“I’ve been singing up and down the Island for about 10 years now and I know I’ll see a lot of the same people,” Daponte said. “I just want them to know that I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.”
This will be the first time in a few years that the audience will be able to safely sing along to the final rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again.’
She added her favourite piece in the concert is ‘The White Ciffs of Dover’, which looks forward to the end of the war and people returning home to a familiar sights and sounds.
This will be the third time Daponte and guests perform the show in Parksville.
Tickets for “We’ll Meet Again” are $30 and available online and at Close to You Ladies Fashions and Fireside Books in Parksville. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.