As well as being musically inclusive and tri-service, Military Wives Choirs are a welcoming and safe place where everyone is equal.
Julia from the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir found the choir community to be more open than anywhere else in her experience of the military sphere and has enjoyed being a member for six years. When she first joined, she found it refreshing that no-one asked the question “what does your husband do?”.
Instead, she could tell her own story and talk about her military connection in her own way. At first, she thought that you had to be married to be a part of the Military Wives Choirs, which is not the case – partners are welcomed and membership extends across the military community.
Julia, Sue and their two daughters live off-base, having moved down south.
“Choir was a real saviour for me as I’d been really isolated not being on a patch and away from family and friends,” she says.
Working full-time as an HR manager meant she was unable to make traditional coffee mornings and meet-ups and found herself feeling lonely during Sue’s deployments.
A lifeline of support
Choir gave her something else to think about that wasn’t the separation.
“It has been a lifeline through multiple deployments. I can escape for a couple of hours a week and be with people who get it and understand how that separation feels,” she explains.
Julia is now a huge advocate of the support the Military Wives Choirs community provides, having been apprehensive before she joined.
“Choir has given me so many opportunities to build my confidence and my relationships and it was a safe environment to come out of my shell,” she adds. Julia enjoys doing something that’s for her and that makes her family proud, while Sue loves to support from the audience when she can. She urges anyone thinking of joining to “Go for it; it might be the best thing you ever do!”
Bringing people together
The Military Wives Choirs is a charity that brings all women in the armed forces community together and empowers them through singing with 72 choirs across bases in the UK and overseas and nearly 2,000 members. Find your nearest at militarywiveschoirs.org