For Army spouse Michelle Alston, one of the saddest things about moving from Yorkshire was leaving her local Military Wives Choir. Faced with a half hour drive to the nearest choir, she decided to start one on her own patch at Upavon. Here, she tells us how she did it…
The choir was a fantastic source of support during my husband’s tour; I missed the singing but I missed the friendship of the other wives more. Upavon is a small, isolated camp and the more I thought about setting up a choir, the more I felt it would be a really positive thing for families living here.
Drumming up support
By posting on our camp’s Facebook page, I was delighted to find there was some interest. From our first meeting, the enthusiasm for singing and friendship was infectious.
After receiving support from the Military Wives Choir Foundation, we got permission from the station commander, secured a rehearsal venue and advertised our first session – cakes were a big incentive! We recruited a musical director who was a fellow wife living on camp; we just had to hope that people turned up.
Ready to sing
25 ladies came along, which was fantastic, and by the end we were already singing a gospel medley in a round! It was wonderful to hear the sound we could make but more important to bring women in the military community together. We have members from Upavon and Netheravon, a daughter of a retired soldier and a current serving soldier.
This mix is exactly what the network of around seventy Military Wives Choirs is all about and the spirit was summed up by one choir member, who said: “I have lived here for a year and barely met anyone, now I am making friends through the choir.”
We’ve received fantastic support from other choirs and look forward to carrying on singing and making friends. As the title of the Military Wives Choir album says, we are “stronger together”.
- Form a group of at least three to act as the temporary committee before one is formally voted in
- Contact the MWCF for our guiding principles
- Find a venue – preferably free of charge with an adjoining room for a crèche and/or coffee making facilities
- Look for a musical director through school teachers, your camp, church or local ads. They’ll need to teach with musical accompaniment to work with a MWC
- Fix a date for a taster session and promote it with flyers, through regiment/garrison publications, via HIVE, local radio, posters and social media pages
- Set up a choir bank account and ask one of your committee to act as treasurer. Community accounts via high street banks are best – with two signatories
- Read through our terms of membership – your committee can sign on behalf of your members
- As part of the MWCF network, you’ll receive:
- a choir email address and password
- a choir specific logo
- access to our intranet site
- access to our shared, copyright-free repertoire
- membership of our closed Facebook pages
- a free fundraising kit to help you get started
- access to all our documents.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org