NZ Musician Honours Dame Vera’s Legacy In Music And Words
In April 2015, Vicki Lee performed a community concert at the Palmerston North Globe Theatre to commemorate 100 years since Gallipoli.
Choosing the music of Dame Vera Lynn was appropriate and timely – the songs are synonymous with WW2 and they resonate so well with ‘those who remember’. Then began an exciting and nostalgic journey to not only share her music but also to share the context of that time - and in turn gather many stories from subsequent audiences right around New Zealand. A series of concerts took place with the support of Rotary followed by a nationwide Ryman Village tour and many subsequent independent concerts throughout NZ
This led to Vicki meeting with Dame Vera on numerous occasions right up until her passing in 2020. Her endorsement of Vicki’s approach has been integral to the concerts continuing, as in her words “when we sing these songs we remember those men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom”.
Just before the onset of the global Covid 19 pandemic, Vicki travelled to London in January 2020 to attend the unveiling of Dame Vera Lynn’s portrait at the Royal Albert Hall where it will be permanently displayed. She performed and accompanied Chelsea Pensioner, Colin Thackeray (winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2019) on Sir Elton John’s red Yamaha Grand Piano in the Elgar Room as he led the audience singing Dame Vera’s two most enduring songs, “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “We’ll Meet Again”.
It was here she met historian Dr June Goodfield who was inspired to record in print the stories that Vicki gathered over the past six years, culminating in a recently published book entitled, “The Career That Chose Me”.
June 18th 2021 marked one year since Dame Vera’s passing and a new charity was launched to build an impressive memorial statue. To be created by renowned international sculptor Paul Day, this will permanently reside on top of the famous “White Cliffs of Dover” - a place synonymous with both the song and Dame Vera’s lasting legacy.
A song that Vicki had written and recorded in 2009 in honour of Sir Howard Morrison, ‘Irreplaceable’, was chosen by Dame Vera’s family to be performed and recorded for the launch of the memorial by Katie Ashby of the “D-Day Darlings” and accompanied by Steinway artist Dominic Ferris.