Bonfire – The Chestnut Gentleman launch, launched successfully!

MMWG member, Marika d’Ailly and launch MC, Karen Gimbel

I’m not quite recovered but I still did a book event at beautiful Bluerock Gallery today. The launch at Lougheed House on Friday night was wonderful. A full house, a classy MC – Karen Gimbel, special guests, and robust book sales before and after. After a brief talk by me about the McCrae journey, our teenaged readers from Oilfields High School in Black Diamond began the program by reading a short chapter from the book, followed by Captain Reg McMichael of the PPCLI who gave a powerful and moving talk about his service in Afghanistan and what remembrance means from a “young” veteran’s point of view. I’m trying to create awareness that not all veterans are in their 80s and 90s! No disrespect meant, but veterans are all around us and are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.

CSM Brodeur, Captain McMichael and me

Then he was followed by the men’s vocal ensemble, Il Sono, who performed for the first time a setting of McCrae’s last poem, The Anxious Dead 1917 – music by me, and arranged by Steven Baric.

Il Sono sings McCrae poem, The Anxious Dead

To hear it for the first time was very emotional for me. Gave me goosebumps. A cappella and in four part harmony. After that their bass soloist sang two pieces from the book that John McCrae liked; The Minstrel Boy and Drink to me Only With Thine Eyes.

Attentive guests

Historian, Victor Taboika generously provided two WWI uniforms from outfits that feature in the book; one from the 10th Battalion and one from the 1st Brigade CFA – Canadian Field artillery, as well as a CAMC, Canadian Army Medical Corps cap, and field medical kit.

“Fighting 10th” Btn uniform on left and 1st Bde CFA on right

It was an exciting beginning to the marketing of this book. I really believe that this book will be on bookshelves for a few decades. It is basically the beating heart behind the poem, In Flanders Fields. Monday Morning Writers Group member, Angela Simmons took these pictures and there will be more great photos to follow from photographer, Monique de St.Croix. Monique took the head shot of me on the cover of the book. Stay tuned for more book news!

Bruce Nickel, PPCLI veteran and President of the 3rd CAV, Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit/Ypres that I belong to as a Supporter, and Suk Wong


the author looking chuffed

me with the choir, Il Sono

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