2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War I. Fierce heroism from the troops at the Front was matched by the country’s women who raised children alone, nursed, and worked tirelessly despite the loss of husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and friends.
69 choirs from across Britain and abroad – the Military Wives Choirs – have joined together to acknowledge this poignant occasion through a special commemorative project, coming together with musicians from across the three services to create an album like no other, telling the story of ‘then’ (1918) and ‘now’ (2018).
The first track to be shared from this unique record is ‘The Poppy Red’. An original composition by the award-winning composer Owain Park, and inspired by the 1918 poem ‘We Shall Keep The Faith’, the song sees 1105 voices join with The Band of the Household Cavalry. Conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton, and produced by Sean Hargreaves and John Haywood, the song is a perfect introduction to ‘Remember’ and its themes of commemoration, remembrance, patriotism and military life.
The Military Wives Choirs is a registered charity working in conjunction with SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity. They are celebrating the diversity in their network as choirs contain military wives, female serving personnel, veterans, mothers, sisters and daughters, as well as others with a military connection. A total of 1105 singers from 69 choirs, including 93 singers from overseas choirs, took part in seven recording sessions across the UK. The Choirs’ first album ‘In My Dreams’ featured five choirs, the second album ‘Stronger Together’ had 24 choirs and 760 singers, and the third album ‘Home for Christmas’ featured 65 choirs and 1006 singers, a growth that underlines the importance of the solidarity and strength of the network.