With Penny Brittain
With Gareth Malone after the Bond St Xmas Lights switch on
The Joos Holland Performance
Mistrels, ready for the photo shoot
Bond St Christmas Lights
Heading to Buckingham Palace to record the Queens Speech 2012
Our beautiful Lexi
Axminster with YMWC

My journey with MWC

Published: May, 2015

My journey with MWC started with a discussion 3 1/2 years ago in Wimbish on a stroll with the padres wife and a group of friends. Our camp was missing something. We just joked about our idea but our padres wife went with the seed and got the idea to grow by talking the idea over with her husband. Just before Christmas we found out the padre had managed to find a choir master who was willing to give a new choir a try. During that Christmas the Military Wives Choir released their first single which became a number 1.

After Christmas the camp was ecstatic with the buzz of the MWC and once the word spread about camp starting its own choir, many wanted to participate. I knew I couldn't sing, I wasn't confident at all. I put myself at the end of the row of ladies. When they asked me why I said I wasn't sure where I should be. It turns out I was in the right place since I became the Barry White of our choir! The first songs we learned where 'I know him so well' and Katie Welowar's 'Sailboat'. It didn't take us as a group long to feel our feet and start enjoying ourselves.

Within 6 weeks the padre had booked us for a performance on camp. We managed to perform in front of friends at a cricket tournament. I couldn't sleep the night before due to nerves. I lacked the confidence. During this time we had to make the decision if we wanted to be our own choir or join the MWC. We decided to join and the call soon followed about the MWC doing an album. We filled the paperwork in and it wasn't long before our sections for the songs on the album came through. We were given the song sheets and practiced our parts.

At the studio, time flew so fast for the recording of our songs. I remember going into the room where we were going to record putting headphones on and singing my heart out. We stopped and were told that was good but all sing next time. Because my headphones were covering my good hearing ear, I thought I must have not been singing loud enough so I got abit more confident  I sang again and again. When we finished and joined the rest of the choir, friends congratulated me and said they could hear me most. Woops! But everyone was happy with the recording.

After that day we did our 1st off camp performance raising money for the injured soldiers fund on our camp. We had the honour of meeting Penny Brittain from the Antiques Roadshow. Just before the recording Jules Holland set us a challenge to learn 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' but we had less than a week to learn the song. In August we finally got to hear our completed recording of 'Stronger together'. Until then we hadn't heard the whole song with only being able to practice our lines for the song .  With 24 other choirs on 13th September we went to London and we beat the world record for largest choir singing in one place. The recording of the video for the single took hours of takes and photo shoots holding cards. Trying to coordinate that many ladies turned out to be very trying, especially flipping cards over our heads together! But it's a fantastic memory of our journey.

We went on to achieve other performances including the one with Jules Holland but the biggest challenge was being selected to sing on the Queens speech. We all had to sign the Offical Secrets Act and not say a word to anyone outside our choir. We auditioned and 3 were chosen from our choir but 48 hours before-hand a telephone call came through apologising that only one of us could go. What an overwhelming feeling to be told the choir chose me to represent us. It was the first time in my life that I had travelled by myself to London and I met wonderful people. Sadly we have recently losted one of us but the memories will always help keep Tracey alive. Since we had signed the Offical Secrets Act it was hard saying nothing to loved ones MWC decided we could use the excuse that we were going to switch on the Bond Street Christmas Lights so we stuck to that. I can't explain how emotionally challenging it was and such an honour to sing in such a wonderful place as the ballroom of the palace. The smell of the flowers surrounding us. We spent around 5 hours singing and shooting the filming. We were given a tour around the palace. I can honestly say, besides my wedding day this was one of the most important days of my life. Such an honour AND switching the lights on. Wow! Then to come home and we were all high. On Christmas Day sitting down to the Queens speech my family burst into tears when they saw me on the TV. That was the first time they had witnessed me sing. Even now they get overwhelmed talking about it. Our goal for the MWC was to raise money for injured soldiers. We did a photo shoot for Mistral for the launch of the CD. They gave us a makeover at a salon which was lovely. We didn't know our names were going to be inside the cd , to see our names inside was o m g...  we couldn't believe our eyes.

My last performance with Wimbish MWC was performing James Bond Medleys. I didn't want my journey with choir to end so I contacted Yeovilton MWC and had something to look forward to. I was nervous coming to such a big choir since Wimbish was only small but everyone was so lovely. It didn't take me long to feel at home.  My 1st performance was at Axminster British Legion. A wonderful day but very stormy weather with lots of flooding but worth the battle to get home. I loved being with all of you ladies. Sadly the events of Losing Lexi took us as a family, a very long time to try and come to terms with. No child should go before older members of a family. If she had been poorly it would have been something more understanding. She has left a huge hole in our lives. But your support and encouragement has helped me get through the dark times. A year on I have managed to do my first performance of Christmas Concert Under Concorde and the run up to (the postponed)  Russell Watson concert, plus the more Chard concert. 
The journey with MWC has been a wonderful gift. The gifts of friendships and memories which are so special. It gives us a chance to meet up with old friends when our paths cross at MWC performances as well as develop new friendships. It's so true, we are Stronger together.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey x

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