Portsmouth military choir remembers WW1 with new CD and battlefield pilgrimage

The voices of three dozen military wives from the Portsmouth area will echo around the hallowed fields of the Somme this summer.

Portsmouth military choir remembers WW1 with new CDThe city’s Military Wives Choir heads to Amiens and the former killing fields of the Western Front to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, the men lost in it – and the women left behind on the home front.

In doing so they will perform some of the tracks they have just recorded with fellow forces wives from across the land – and beyond – for a commemorative WW1-themed album.

More than 1,100 singers from 69 choirs – including 93 choristers from overseas – recorded 12 tracks for the album Remembrance, a mixture of new compositions such as the opening track Poppy Red, which merges the voices of every single singer, and classics such as Abide With Me and Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Around 35 women from the Portsmouth choir – which practises at HMS Collingwood in Fareham on Tuesdays – took part in the recordings in London, as did military musicians including the Royal Marines Corps of Drums.

This album is not just about remembering those who gave their lives in the Great War, but also those that stayed behind, not knowing when or if they would see their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons again

Lieutenant Commander Marie Whitehouse, HMS Excellent

“This album is not just about remembering those who gave their lives in the Great War, but also those that stayed behind, not knowing when or if they would see their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons again,” said warfare officer Lt Cdr Marie Whitehouse, who serves at HMS Excellent.

“This is still significant today among military families, a story that we as the Military Wives Choir can uniquely tell, and a chance for those of us who serve to show how truly grateful we are to those that we leave behind for keeping things together in our absence.

“It was an honour to record the album, the tracks are beautifully written and composed and very thought provoking,”

Fellow singer Juliet Swann said the whole experience gave the local choir, “a chance to be part of something much bigger than ourselves, something  that will live on, and a chance to honour both those who have fallen and those who continue to fight.”

The album, priced £12.14, is released on June 29th – the eve of Armed Forces Day – but you can listen to the opening track on YouTube:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8hJyrmY3-A