The Canadian Military Wives Choirs movement, that started only three years ago, in Ottawa, thanks to Mrs. Sue Palmer, is rapidly expanding with now seven choirs in operation and five more units possibly in the making.
The Choirs, whom regroup military wives spouses and serving members, were initially created based on a United Kingdom model as a means to encourage women to take care of themselves, increase their networking and, though music and singing, regroup and support each other.
Brenda Dunne started the Comox Choir in January 2015. She was part of the group that created the Board of Directors a year ago, in Ottawa. “It is very empowering for us to get together as a group and use music as a catalyst to bring us closer together as military wives. It is also a great opportunity for us to experience differently some military or national pride events as performers.”
The Board of Directors was officially put together to give the various groups across the country some ground rules to follow, though each retains its individuality in terms of meeting space, frequency of meetings and performances as well as choice of songs, all of which need to be respectful of copyright laws and ethically appropriate as far as performing for families and not making political statements.
Each group has to include in its repertoire the National Anthem and God Save the Queen songs, as well as some UK, acquired military-related themed songs. This specificity allows them to be invited to perform in very special events across the country – for example, hockey or football games, but mainly in sight of military related events such as Remembrance Day or other Holiday ceremonies.
The Choirs are funded exclusively through the monetary participation of their current 210 members and generous donators, as well as fundraising concerts. The Board of Directors is hoping to help other choirs get started across the country, and eventually be able to offer concerts in both official languages.
“Anyone interested in starting their own group would be very well received by contacting us. The movement is rapidly expanding, and we are excited to see it grow even further,” added Dunne.
Remembrance Week events the choirs are participating in, from West to East:
Nov 10 Candlelight Vigil at Comox Cenotaph
Nov 11 Comox Remembrance Day Ceremonies
Nov 4 Veterans Night WSM
Nov 7 No Stone Left Alone & Kipnes Centre for Veterans
Nov 9 High School Remembrance Day Ceremonies
Nov 11 Sherwood Park Remembrance Day Ceremonies
Nov 9 Petawawa Legion Remembrance Dinner
Nov 10 Candlelight Vigil at Petawawa Cenotaph
Nov 11 Petawawa Remembrance Ceremonies
Nov 10 Candlelight Vigil, Trenton Royal Canadian Legion
Nov 4 Via Rail Station Poppy Launch
Nov 11 Kanata Legion reception (after Remembrance Day Ceremonies)
Contact your local CMWC for more details.