For the audience, Songs of the War Years is a sentimental musical journey through the era of the Second World War, but for Sally Evans it’s a dream come true.
The Vernon singer has brought her tribute to the men and women who served during the war to the stage around Remembrance Day for the past seven years.
Accompanied by Molly Boyd on piano, Evans is back to present Songs of the War Years at the Schubert Centre, Thursday.
Evans grew up in East Kelowna surrounded by the music of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and the memories of her childhood spent around the piano with her family, she says, were and still are precious.
“I already knew the words to almost every song and with my experience working with seniors in recreation for many years, it was a dream that with a little encouragement, (the tribute) could very possibly come true,” she said.
While sitting in a coffee shop with a good friend, Evans shared her dream, and her friend believed strongly in her vision, so Evans began looking for a piano player.
And that is when Boyd came into the picture.
“Well known in her hometown of Vernon, Molly was and is the perfect musician for the show,” said Evans. “She not only plays by ear, she also knows an amazing number of songs, plus she has the energy and a genuine commitment to seniors to match mine. We make a great pair on stage and off.”
Since 2005, Evans and Boyd have performed Songs of the War Years plus two other shows to more than 10,000 people at more than 80 gigs throughout the Okanagan and the Kootenays.
Their enthusiasm hasn’t waned a bit.
“We both love the music and being on stage and we really enjoy the reactions of and interacting with the audience,” said Evans. “We also love to bring the audience together as one through laughter, song, and sometimes tears.”
Although the format of Songs of the War Years has changed three times over the past seven years, many of the songs and stories have remained the same.
“These songs should be heard every year around Remembrance Day as we must not forget the sacrifices that were made by so many during the Second World War. With so many of our veterans passing on, we encourage the families of veterans to see the show. The memories are priceless and singing along is definitely encouraged,” said Evans. “Younger people will be amazed at how many of the lyrics they know and the show gives an education and insight into wartime. Audience members of all ages comment on how they love the music, the energy and camaraderie.”
Doors to Songs of the War Years at Schubert Centre open at 1 p.m. Thursday. Showtime is from 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $8 and are on sale now at Schubert Centre and at the door if available.