International spotlight falls on Colchester Military Wives Choirs

4 March 2013


A choir of Army wives from Colchester will travel to Canada in June, taking to the international stage just one year after forming.

The Colchester Military Wives Choir will perform at the Canadian International Military Tattoo held in Hamilton, Ontario on Saturday 8 June to Sunday 9 June 2013.

They will proudly represent 16 Air Assault Brigade, Colchester Garrison, Colchester, Essex and East Anglia on their trip.

They will also be the first ‘Military Wives Choir’ to be invited abroad to perform, taking its brand and reputation to an international audience.

The Canadian International Military Tattoo will commemorate the War of 1812, the last military conflict between the British Empire and the United States. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was invaded a number of times by the Americans.

It is particularly poignant for a choir from East Anglia to have been invited to perform at this prestigious event as many local soldiers serving in regiments such as the 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, which went on to become part of the Royal Anglian Regiment, fought alongside Canadians during the conflict.

The state of Ontario also has links to East Anglia, with an ‘Essex County’ and townships of Colchester, Maldon, Mersea and Tilbury.

Choir member Lisa Taylor, whose husband Alex serves with 16 Air Assault Brigade, commented: “To have been invited to perform at this amazing event is a real honour and an exceptional opportunity for all of us. Many of the choir members’ husbands have served in conflicts abroad and we’re often waiting at home, hoping they’ll return safe and sound. This gives us a chance to do something for ourselves… we love being in the choir and taking it oversees will be the culmination of months of hard work and dedication. We’re so excited!”

Sally Leung, who’s the musical director of the choir, said: “All the girls are working extremely hard to ensure they’ll be performing to the best of their abilities at the Military Tattoo. I am confident the Canadians will be blown away by Colchester Military Wives Choir. They’ll be amazing.”

The BBC series ‘The Choir: Military Wives’, which saw musical maestro Gareth Malone teach partners of the Armed Forces, has recently aired for the first time in Canada, so it’s likely their appearance at the event will be of great media interest.

Colchester Military Wives Choir is now fundraising to pay for the flights to Canada. A number of events have been organised including cake sales, table top sales, and a Fijian cook-off. Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has donated a bottle of House of Commons whiskey, which has been signed by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, to be auctioned off.

The choir is also hoping to raise money through performances, including an event for family and friends on 22 March.

Donations from any local companies or individuals will also be gratefully received.

If you can help get the choir to Canada get in touch by e-mailing

Any shortfall in funds will be met by the choir members.

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