Published: 16/01/2018 12:00 - Updated: 16/01/2018 11:31

Military Wives raise their voices to mark the end of First World War

Written byIain Ramage

 

Inverness Military Wives
Inverness Military Wives choir with musical director Alyn Ross.

SOME of the north’s most passionate singers have been on the march to Edinburgh to record an album – and you can buy it already.

The Inverness Military Wives Choir will contribute three tracks to a project marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

The 14 women teamed up with soul mates from Kinloss, Lossiemouth Ireland and northern England.

The voices of 1500 others, from military bases across the UK and as far away as Belize and Cyprus, will be added in the final mix.

The northern choirs recorded three songs – The Poppy Red, We Will Remember Them and an Army, navy and RAF medley of Scotland the Brave, Heart of Oak and Through Adversity We’ll Conquer.

The choirs comprise wives and partners of serving or ex members of the military, and women who served in the armed forces themselves.

The Highland choir was formed three years ago comprising women ranging from their 20s to their 70s.

It has wowed crowds of thousands at the Belladrum Festival and also entertained in a more intimate setting for the Leonard Cheshire disability charity in Inverness.

Some of its members have sung at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The recording session was at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

The Inverness choir is led by retired RAF corporal Tracey Walsh whose husband Steve is a retired wing commander.

Thrilled by the choir’s role, she said: “Particularly now, it’s very relevant. The 3 Scots have just deployed, so we have a lot of ladies here a long way from any support network and away from friends and family.

“We provide a good support network for ladies, somewhere they can come and lose themselves for a couple of hours and sing. It’s good for the soul and mental health as well.

“It’s amazing to be part of this, to be able to put an album out to hopefully raise money for charities, and spread awareness of the importance of the year.”

Among other Inverness singers is Shelagh (nee Whyte), who wed 3 Scots lance corporal Denis Omondi last month and works at the Highlanders’ Museum at Fort George.

She said: “It’s different from previous projects, with the focus on 1918 which was such a major year. For me, it was also the point when women first got the vote.

“The choir represents the women of 1918 who saw their men through the war and weren’t fully acknowledged.”

Leading composers from the classical, pop and film worlds have written songs for the album with a focus on remembrance and patriotism.

It will honour front line heroism and the might of the women who raised children alone, nursed and worked tirelessly during the war despite the loss of loved ones.

The album is due for release on Armed Forces Day – June 30 – but can be pre-ordered online at www.pledgemusic.com/mwc

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