High five! Military Wives Choir celebrates

January 25 2019

THE Bristol Military Wives Choir has thrown a party to mark a milestone.

The Mangotsfield-based choir, which draws many of its members from Emersons Green and Downend, has reached its fifth birthday.

First formed on the BBC Gareth Malone TV programme The Choir: Military Wives, the choirs bring women in the military community together to sing and support one another. There are 74 across the UK and in British military bases abroad, including Cyprus, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

The Bristol Military Wives Choir was set up in January 2014, and is rare in being a tri-service choir with partners of Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel. Many of its members live within military housing in Emersons Green, including those currently serving, veterans, mothers, sisters and daughters, as well as Ministry of Defence support workers from Abbey Wood and the surrounding military communities.

The group rehearses at the United Reformed Church in Mangotsfield.

For the birthday celebration members invited representatives from organisations which have supported them to a rehearsal and party on January 15.

During the evening they performed a number of songs from their repertoire, including tracks from the 2018 Military Wives Choir Album Remember, which was recorded to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One, as well as Wherever You Are which was released by the original Military Wives Choir in December 2011 and became that year’s Christmas number one.

As part of their birthday celebrations the group also featured as BBC Radio Bristol’s Band of the Week, where they recorded 10 tracks at the BBC Radio Bristol Studios, and appeared on BBC Points West.

Treasurer Sarah Fowkes said: “We have 35-45 members, depending on postings in and out of the area, and we are used as a support network by many of the ladies. Singing is extremely uplifting and good for morale, and we are a very tight knit group.

“Every new posting for a military wife is as daunting as it is exciting, but knowing that you have a choir to go to in your new location, thanks to the MWC network, where you know the songs and even some of the people, can be a real lifeline.”

Later this year, the choir will be performing at the Mid Somerset Choral Festival in Bath in March, at Clevedon Pier later in the summer, and will also be taking part in Armed Forces Day in June.

To find out more about the choir and to keep up to date with their upcoming performances, visit the Bristol Military Wives Choir Facebook page.