In April 2019, Canadore College students Kiersten Rowlands and Sionna Docherty compiled a short documentary, United Through Music, based on the Canadian Military Wives Choir.
United Through Music explains the history of how the original choir in the United Kingdom was founded and features questions that are answered by military wives choir members from across the country.
The documentary was filmed as part of the Canadore College Digital Cinematography program. Rowlands and Docherty decided to focus their documentary project on highlighting the significance of the choir to its members.
The original MWC was founded in the UK back in 2011, with its first year being filmed and documented by the BBC. The documentary ended with the wives singing at the Festival of Remembrance in London, and was very well received by viewers.
Through all of that glitz and glamour, I can genuinely say that the most important aspect of being a member of the choir was the friendship and the incredibly strong support network that built up amongst the members. Not just within our own choir but in the Military Wives Choir movement as a whole.” Sue Palmer, founder of the Canadian Military Wives Choir, explains the success of the UK MWC.
As such, Rowlands and Docherty compiled their short documentary in a way that focused more on community stories and the bond of unity between the wives.
In a segment interviewing Captain Dorothy Shipley, both a military member and a military spouse, she explained that “The choir means a lot to me because we move around a lot. The beauty of the choir is, I have this community of people with whom I can relate so closely. And if we did move provinces, I could just step into that choir. And yes, they would be strangers to me, but we all would have that same foundation that is music. And that same foundation, that is our background. We can relate to each other from the very beginning.”
She added, “We have a full range of singing skills in the choir, from the people who are the soloists out front to the people who move their lips and maybe don’t sing along – and that’s perfectly fine. The important thing about the choir is the support that we bring to one another, and that’s what I would say to anyone. Come out. You do not need to go through this alone.”
The documentary also interviews Col. Telah Morrison. Also, a military member and military spouse. Col. Morrison has received support from the choir throughout her son’s chronic illness. She explains, “The ladies that I’ve met in this choir have just been fantastic. My youngest son has been in the hospital a few times. My husband has been living away for five years now, so to be able to have those sisters that I can turn to… it’s been absolutely wonderful to have them to lean on. They get it; they understand what it’s like to have a spouse away. To just have that camaraderie and sisterhood has been wonderful.”
The long term vision of the CMWC that more choirs will continue to be established around the country until each military base has one set up. This is to ensure that when military wives move to new locations, there will be a choir waiting there to welcome them as part of their community.
For more information regarding where the choirs are located or about the organization visit their website here