Military Wives choirs

09 May 2021
Behind the story.

Will you be watching the heart-warming story of the United Kingdom's Military wives? It would interest you more to know that the movie is based on an actual organisation made up of a network of 75 choirs in British military bases across the UK and abroad, bringing women in the military community closer together through singing.

Here’s how it all began.

The first military wives and girlfriends’ choir was officially set up in 2010, in Catterick, by Nicky Clarke and Caroline Jopp. Nicky had written to Gareth Malone, an English choirmaster and the host of the reality TV show, The Choir. She wrote about the benefits that a choir could bring to military wives during a deployment to Afghanistan, and inspired by the camaraderie in Catterick, Gareth Malone worked with women from Chivenor and Plymouth military bases to film the two-part BBC documentary series The Choir: Military Wives

At the climax of the programme was the opening performance for the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance, in front of the Queen and the Royal family, at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 November 2011. The three-minute piece performed by the Military Wives Choir was the song Wherever You Are, a love poem compiled from letters written between the women and their absent husbands and partners.

The show's success saw the launch of a CD single sales campaign that achieved 556,000 copies within a week of launch. A section of the cost was donated to the Royal British Legion and the SSAFA Forces Help charities.

“In January 2012, choir members from Chivenor, Plymouth and Catterick came together to discuss how best to create a sustainable organisation to benefit all military wives, building on the legacy from the success of the song 'Wherever You Are'.

Encouraged by Gareth and actively assisted by other supporters, including SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, the Royal British Legion, Decca and 20:20 Television, the concept of a foundation to act as an umbrella organisation for all choirs was born.” Military Wives choirs

Most recently, the organisation has played a major role in promoting the film Military Wives and feature alongside the cast on Universal Music's soundtrack album.

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