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Gallipoli 002 - 2014

A Breath of Fresh Ayre

Classical crossover singer Rebecca Nelson will perform the New Zealand National Anthem at the 2015 ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Gallipoli on April 25.

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

The opportunity came about after Rebecca, a talented street performer in Auckland, was discovered by Royal New Zealand Navy musical director Lieutenant Commander Owen Clarke. Rebecca was invited to tour with The Royal New Zealand Navy Band as a guest singer and within three months had officially enlisted with The Royal New Zealand Navy as a reservist to serve her country as the band’s official singer.

“I never thought my career would lead me to the New Zealand Defence Force,” said the 26-year-old. “It was a bit of a surprise but the moment the opportunity presented itself I didn’t have any hesitation in saying yes.

Rebecca’s voice gripped the nation when she sang with The Defence Force Band at the ANZAC Day commemorations in Gallipoli last year and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to return. “It was a huge honour for me but to be asked to go back again and sing at the centenary of ANZAC Day commemorations is incredible,” she said. “It’s definitely something I’m going to tell my grandchildren.”

Rebecca’s great uncle, Thomas Nelson, was a New Zealand teamster* in the Armed Allied Forces, but died at the age of 26 in Belgium on January 10, 1918. Rebecca will proudly wear his service medals at this year’s ANZAC Day service in Gallipoli.

The experience of performing at the 2014 ANZAC Day commemorations became the inspiration for Rebecca’s second album, Reflection.

Rebecca fundraised more than $11,000 via New Zealand’s crowd funding platform Pledge Me to self-produce the album, which is scheduled for release on 27 March 2015. It will have a strong military feel with old war songs from the likes of Vera Lynn and other inspirational numbers performed during last year’s commemorations.

Rebecca teamed up with Michael Bell of Christchurch-based Orange Studios to produce the album, which also features guest performances by some of the country’s most talented musicians, The Royal New Zealand Navy Band and the Christchurch Boys Choir. Rebecca has pledged to donate a portion of all album sales to the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association (RSA). The album will be available for purchase at selected The Warehouse stores, Marbecks, iTunes and the Rebecca Nelson website.