8 November 2018
Acclaimed Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) vocalist Rebecca Nelson will mark another milestone in her career when she sings the New Zealand National Anthem in front of a full house of more than 80,000 spectators before the rugby test between the All Blacks and England at Twickenham early on Sunday (NZ time).
Able Musician Nelson has sung the anthem at 14 previous tests involving the All Blacks, although this will be her first appearance at Twickenham.
However, this will be the first time, coming just a few hours before the world will commemorate the Armistice agreement that ended the First World War, that she has felt it appropriate to wear her RNZN uniform.
She was invited to Le Quesnoy, France, to sing in the lead-up to the centenary commemoration of the liberation of the town by New Zealand soldiers and then again at a special service to mark the centenary on 4 November.
“I knew the test was on in England on the 10th, so I contacted the England Rugby Football Union to express my interest in singing at the match while I was on this side of the world,” she said.
“The match has extra significance being on the eve of the Armistice centenary, so I mentioned I could wear uniform, with permission from the Royal New Zealand Navy.”
Able Musician Nelson has numerous career highlights, including singing at centenary commemorations in Gallipoli, The Somme and Passchendaele with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), singing for Prince Charles at his private residence, Highgrove House, for a Royal Navy shipmates’ reunion, and signing with Sony music and releasing her album, Poppies and Pohutukawa.
She admitted to being extremely excited but a little nervous about performing in front of the massive crowd at Twickenham.
“I can't wait to get out there and represent the RNZN and NZDF – it's always a great honour and privilege,” she said. “The extra significance of the occasion just adds to this.
“It will definitely be up there in terms of experiences. It has always been a goal to sing at Twickenham and this will be the biggest crowd I have sung in front of.”
Able Musician Nelson enlisted in the RNZN as a Reservist at the end of 2013 as the singer for the RNZN Band. She sings at commemorations and other events throughout the country and around the world.