Choirs from Birmingham and Frankfurt will join together on Saturday (December 20) to help mark the centenary of the First World War Christmas Truce.
The free event, which takes places in Cathedral Green, at Birmingham Cathedral, will commemorate the truce of 1914, when British and German soldiers temporarily stopped fighting to celebrate Christmas together.
Late on Christmas Eve 1914, soldiers from the British Expeditionary Force heard the German soldiers singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches on the Western Front. The two sides began to shout messages to each other between the trenches and, the following day, British and German soldiers met in No Manâ€™s Land to exchange gifts, take photographs and even play football. The truce also enabled each side to retrieve wounded comrades, bury their dead and repair trenches and dugouts.
While some officers viewed the truce as a chance to improve living conditions in the trenches, others worried that it would undermine fighting spirit. The high commands on both sides subsequently issued orders prohibiting any further fraternisation, but the 1914 truce remains one of the most enduring images of the First World War.
The commemoration, which will be attended by Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham Cllr Mike Leddy and Deputy Mayor of Frankfurt Michael Paris, will see Birmingham Cathedral Choir and Frankfurt Cathedral Choir come together to sing Christmas songs in English and German, just as soldiers from opposing nations did 100 years ago.
Imagineer Productions will perform War Bride, a visual/physical choreographed performance with an emotive underscore representing ideas of peace and reconciliation.
Author Andrew Hamilton will also be reading an excerpt from his book about his grandfatherâ€™s experience of the Christmas Truce in the trenches, while prayers will be said by the Very Rev Catherine Ogle, the Dean of Birmingham Cathedral.
There will be two performances â€“ one at 6.30pm and another at 8pm.