Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Wherever You Are - The Military Wives Choir

In February 2011, Choirmaster Gareth Malone moved to Devon for 8 months to work with the wives and girlfriends of Royal Marine Barracks Chivenor. His aim was to form a choir from amongst these women, bring them together and give them a voice whilst their husbands and boyfriends are away in Afghanistan.

Their story was televised for a BBC television series shown earlier this year and touched the hearts of all those who saw it. Viewers got to follow the story of these remarkable women through from the time when their husbands were deployed, the formation of the choir, their first performance and their husband’s homecoming – culminating in a special performance at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in front of Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Their performance at the Royal Albert Hall really captured the attention of the country. Performing a song written especially for them by composer, Paul Mealor “Wherever You Are” gave the women their voice as it encapsulated the thoughts and feelings of the women and expressed them in a beautiful and heartfelt way. The lyrics to the song were inspired by words taken from letters between the wives and their husbands and even the title of the song came from words inscribed in a bracelet one of the women wore.

Following their performance, many members of the public started a campaign to have the song released as a single. Once the single was confirmed, they were joined by many celebrities including presenter Chris Evans, who rallied the nation for support and played their song every day on his radio show. The single, released December 19th 2011 donates at least 40p of each sale to two charities; The Royal British Legion and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) and it is hoped will be the number one record in the UK for Christmas.

What I love about the song is how it manages to convey so many feelings through the music and lyrics. Listening to it, it is impossible not to be caught up in the emotion of it and whether or not you have family serving in the military, I think everyone can relate to the sentiments expressed in the piece. The further appeal of this song is that it is sung by ordinary women, none of whom were professional singers before they started in the choir but who came together united by their circumstances. What makes them extraordinary women is the courage they show every day as they try to carry on with their home life whilst their husbands are away fighting for their country and protecting those who can’t fight for themselves. Whilst their husband’s sacrifice and bravery is an obvious one, the support and bravery of these women often goes unnoticed – or at least it did, until now. Their courage and determination is an example to everyone, in any walk of life and in any situation where you are separated from your loved ones. Their words express so much what many people feel when they are separated from those they hold dear to them and I defy any who hears it, not to be moved by the poignant and beautiful lyrics expressed so movingly.

Wherever You Are is available now in music stores across the UK and online through Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wherever-Military-Wives-Gareth-Malone/dp/B006DWW4SA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324376566&sr=8-1 and their story can be pre-ordered on DVD with an anticipated release date of 6th February 2012. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Choir-Four-Military-Wives-DVD/dp/B005ZD5Q88/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1324376636&sr=1-3

UPDATE: I'm pleased to announce that Gareth Malone's Choir of Military Wives reached the number 1 spot this Christmas!! Congratulations to them and to Paul Mealor on this wonderful achievement.

Wherever You Are will be released in the USA December 27th 2011

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