Military Wives

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Military Wives
Military Wives singing God Save the Queen at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Stadium on 5 May 2012.
Military Wives singing God Save the Queen at the London Olympic Stadium.
Background information
Years active2011 (2011)–present
Associated actsGareth Malone, Gary Barlow
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Military Wives
Military Wives singing God Save the Queen at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Stadium on 5 May 2012.
Military Wives singing God Save the Queen at the London Olympic Stadium.
Background information
Years active2011 (2011)–present
Associated actsGareth Malone, Gary Barlow

Military Wives are a British choir group formed of wives and girlfriends, service woman and affiliates of British Military personnel and are located around the country. The first choir held their first rehearsal back in April 2010 in Catterick Garrison an idea of two Scots Guards wives who decided whilst their husbands deployed in Afghanistan in 2009 to put out posters into the Garrison to actively encourage and look for ladies interested in singing together, to help support and give the wives a focus whilst their husbands deployed. They engaged a well-known local music teacher and vocal animateur, Carol Gedye of Richmond and set about putting together a choir made up of Wives, Affiliates, Girlfriends and Service women and so The Military WAGS Choir Catterick Garrison was formed. A letter was written to choirmaster Gareth Malone looking for help and support with the choir, at that time he was receiving acclaim for his BBC television programme The Choir and felt that this was an idea that could be replicated. The timing was a little late to support those with deployed husbands in Catterick Garrison but the idea was indeed a good one and Gareth set off to see if he could set up a choir atRMB Chivenor. Following the success of Chivenor Malone, as part of the series, formed another choir at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth. Following the broadcast of the series and the release of the single Wherever You Are, more choirs were added at CTCRM, Lympstone and HMNB Portsmouth The five choirs of Catterick, Chivenor, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Lympstone were invited to contribute to the album In My Dreams under the name Military Wives.



The Choir: Military Wives

The Military Wives Choir formed by Gareth Malone at the Royal Marines Base Chivenor, as part of the fourth series of the BBC/Twenty Twenty television series The Choir, entitled The Choir: Military Wives. The aim of the choir was to replicate what Catterick had started in April 2010 and help the wives and girlfriends of servicemen currently deployed to Afghanistan express themselves through song.[1]

As the series progressed, Malone led the Chivenor group to perform locally at the nearby town of Barnstaple, and then, alongside the choir formed at the Royal Citadel, Plymouth, at a Passing Out dinner at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and at Armed Forces Day celebrations in Plymouth. The climax of the television series was their performance of Wherever You Are at The Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 November 2011, in the presence of HM The Queen.[2][3] The song was created by Paul Mealor from extracts of correspondence between the choir and their spouses in Afghanistan.[4]

Subsequent activities

Following the series, the song Wherever You Are was released as a single on 19 December 2011, with the aim of becoming the 2011 UK Singles Chart Christmas number one, a feat it achieved when it sold 556,000 copies within a week of launch (more than the rest of the top 12 combined). A section of the cost of the single was donated to the Royal British Legion and the SSAFA Forces Help charities.[5][6][7]

The success of the television series and the Christmas single led the five established choirs being approached to contribute to an album. This Album, entitled In My Dreams after the lead single, was released in early March 2012 it went to top the Album chart in the UK, within a week[8]with £1 from the album sale going towards the Military Wives Choirs Foundation. The foundation has the aim to support the founding of Military Wives' choirs across the UK. Nicky Clarke's original idea and dream to have a choir on every base was gaining momentum(Co-Founder of The Military Wives Choir Foundation) wrote in her note on the album cover 'It is music which gives us strength, hope, courage, support, laughter and friendship, often when it is most needed' certainly hit a chord with the nation in its support for the Military Wives.

The choir performed at the opening of the Olympic Stadium in London[9] ten choirs contributed to the Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber single written to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. This single, entitled Sing features voices and instruments from across the Commonwealth and features the Military Wives as the backing track and representing the UK.[10][11]

The second ambitious album Stronger Together was produced by Jon Cohen who went on a road trip in July to record not just five or ten choirs but 24 Military Wives Choirs the original five of Catterick, Chivenor, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Lympstone were joined by another twenty three Abingdon, Ayios Nikolas (Cyprus), Chicksands, Condor, Culdrose, Defence Academy, Dishforth, Herford (Germany), JHQ, Marchwood, Marham, Middle Wallop, Salisbury Plain, Shawbury, Shorncliffe, Warminster, Wattisham, West of Scotland and Wimbush, over 700 ladies recorded on the album. On September 13th the 24 choirs who recorded the album, sent their members down to London over 650 ladies from near and far recorded the Stronger Together video for release 5 Nov 2012. Nicky Clarke wrote on the album cover... 'Stronger Together' really does sum up this year (2012) we've bought together women from all over the Military Community, in their own choirs, on-line, at the Jubilee and now on this album and still the choirs continue to grow. This is a testament to every woman in the Military Community - they are strong, resourceful women who support their loved ones when they're away'.

October 2012 saw more success for The Military Wives Choir wining Classical Brits single of the year, they performed Sing live at The Royal Albert Hall with Gareth Malone, Gary Barlow and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Then in November Jonjo Kerr returned from his tour of duty in Afghanistan to sing with representatives from the four choirs of Catterick, Chivenor, Lympstone and Plymouth who originally recorded 'In My Dreams' and performed at The Festival of Remembrance altogether, live for the first time.

December 2012 saw The Military Wives round off a whirlwind year featuring, not only on Songs Of Praise but also as part of the Queens Speech on Christmas Day, singing 'In The Bleak Midwinter' off the album 'Stronger Together'

Military Wives Choirs continues to grow!



TitleYearPeak chart positions
In My Dreams1
Stronger Together5


TitleYearPeak chart positionsSalesAlbum
"Wherever You Are"
(with Gareth Malone)
20111In My Dreams
"In My Dreams"
(featuring Jon-Joseph Kerr)
(with Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth band)

See also


  1. ^ TwentyTwenty TV (November 2011). "Military Wives". BBC. BBC Two.
  2. ^ "The Choir: Military Wives". TwentyTwenty TV. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Military Wives". Gareth Malone official website. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Military Wives: In My Dreams". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  5. ^ Potter, Alistair. "Military Wives Choir's Wherever You Are outsold Little Mix's Cannonball five-to-one in Christmas No.1 singles race". Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Military Wives claim Official Christmas Number 1 2011". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Military Wives Choir captures Christmas number one". BBC News. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Military Wives top albums chart". BBC News. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  9. ^ Lobel, Mark (6 May 2012). "London 2012: Olympic Stadium is officially opened". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Official Diamond Jubilee song unveiled". BBC News. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Performers - Sing, Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band". Decca/Universal Music. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  12. ^ In My Dreams: The Military Wives: Music
  13. ^ "Military Wives: Stronger Together". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Military Wives claim Christas number-one". The Official Charts Company. 2011-12-25. Retrieved 2012-03-06.

External links