Singer Rebecca Nelson has recruited three Ryman residents to join her in singing Vera Lynn’s classic We’ll Meet Again in a virtual first for the Possum Bourne trio.
A favourite performer at Ryman’s villages up and down the country, Rebecca was looking for ways to connect with both her fans and fellow performers during the Level 4 lockdown when she had the idea.
“Her Majesty the Queen touched on the quote when she addressed the nation in the UK and said ‘we’ll meet again’. I thought ‘aha!’
“It just seemed like the perfect song. Everyone was quite emotional during Level 4 and we were holding onto hope that we would get out of it and see each other soon so the wording was really perfect, and it’s one that I sing at the end of all my Ryman shows.”
Rebecca, who is a reservist in the Royal New Zealand Navy, quickly recruited musician friends through her connections with the Royal Navy band and was thrilled when they all jumped on board.
“What we did was record the piano first and that was sent out to all the musicians so that they could base their part around it.”
She got in touch with Ryman Healthcare to see if there were any residents who could sing who might like to join in the fun and Possum Bourne Retirement Village in Pukekohe came up trumps.
Members of the village choir, Dirk Mooy and Vivienne and Kelvin Fitness were chuffed to be asked and wasted no time in figuring out the detailed instructions.
Rebecca sent her vocals to them using WeTransfer so they could sing along in time with what she did. They had to listen to the song using headphones while filming themselves singing at the same time.
Said Vivienne: “We were surprised to be asked but we felt privileged because of the situation enveloping us at the village.
“The hardest part was finding the balance between the three of us and the music coming through as it was a first for us. But we really enjoyed the experience!”
Rebecca was thrilled when she received the files back from the residents and blown away that the new technology hadn’t fazed them.
“Viv was able to learn the tech side after I explained what to do and she said ‘I’ll give it a go, it’s not that hard’ and the way they managed to play the music through the headphones rather than the phone was really awesome.”
The next part was the trickiest part of all. Rebecca roped in a video editor friend Charlotte Crone to help bring everything together.
“It was really hard to sync it all together and it took longer than we thought,” says Rebecca. “But I was very determined and I felt I owed it to my friends at Possum Bourne to get it done – I couldn’t let them down!”
Dirk says he was happy with the results and Viv agreed.
“The finished show was really surprising, how they brought in all the other musicians as well, and it was so good to see Possum Bourne represented,” she said.
With Anzac Day and VE Day being marked during the lockdown period, the resonance with the wartime classic was made even stronger.
“I just hope it gives people a little bit of cheer in their day as this kind of isolation isn’t something we’ve gone through before,” said Rebecca.
“I know the older generation have lived through a war or were on rations but they could still socialise. To not be able to see our family and friends has been hard so I hope it brings some cheer and makes people smile.”
You can watch the video here.
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