UK album release June 29 2018
1105 female voices unite to remember
1918 -2018 – Then and Now
“I shall remember, always.”
Vera Brittain, reflecting on WWI
2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War I. Fierce heroism from the troops at the Front was matched by the country’s women who raised children alone, nursed, and worked tirelessly despite the loss of husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and friends.
69 choirs from across Britain and abroad – the Military Wives Choirs – have joined together to acknowledge this poignant occasion through a special commemorative project, coming together with musicians from across the three services to create an album like no other, telling the story of ‘then’ (1918) and ‘now’ (2018).
The first track to be shared from this unique record is ‘The Poppy Red’. An original composition by the award-winning composer Owain Park, and inspired by the 1918 poem ‘We Shall Keep The Faith’, the song sees 1105 voices join with The Band of the Household Cavalry. Conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton, and produced by Sean Hargreaves and John Haywood, the song is a perfect introduction to ‘Remember’ and its themes of commemoration, remembrance, patriotism and military life.
The Military Wives Choirs is a registered charity working in conjunction with SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity. They are celebrating the diversity in their network as choirs contain military wives, female serving personnel, veterans, mothers, sisters and daughters, as well as others with a military connection. A total of 1105 singers from 69 choirs, including 93 singers from overseas choirs, took part in seven recording sessions across the UK. The Choirs’ first album ‘In My Dreams’ featured five choirs, the second album ‘Stronger Together’ had 24 choirs and 760 singers, and the third album ‘Home for Christmas’ featured 65 choirs and 1006 singers, a growth that underlines the importance of the solidarity and strength of the network.
A Military Wives Choirs member summed up the project: “The women of 100 years ago are exactly the same as us. Proud, adaptable, capable and supportive. We owe it to our ancestors to commemorate what they did for us to have the freedom we have today.”
Music for the album centres on five original songs by prestigious composers from the worlds of classical, pop and film music. In addition to Owain Park, Joanna Forbes L’Estrange & Alexander L’Estrange, Adam Langston, James Kennedy & Catrin Southall, Adam Langston, Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood and Laura Wright have written original songs inspired by the thoughts, feelings and direct words of choir members.
The album also includes music from ages past and present, referencing upbeat World War I marching songs, iconic regimental and service marches, beautifully contemplative remembrance pieces and contemporary songs reflecting the choirs’ world, all with a fresh take through creative arrangements and collaboration with world-class military musicians, specifically The Band of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Marines Corps of Drums.
‘Remember’ is due for release on 29th June 2018, to coincide with Armed Forces Day the following day (30th June) which offers a chance for the public to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.
- The Poppy Red – Owain Park
- Brave – Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Laura Wright
- A Thousand Years – Christina Perri, David Hodges arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Chris Roe
- Pack Up Your Troubles – Felix Powell arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Chris Roe
- Ar Hyd Y Nos – Edward Jones/trad. arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Chris Roe
- Tri-service Medley – Henry Walford Davies, Sir George Dyson, trad. arr. Thomas Lamerton-Reece, Chris Roe
- Abide with Me – William Henry Monk arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Julia Hudson
- We Will Remember Them – Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, Alexander L’Estrange
- Keep the Home Fires Burning / Dear Old Blighty – Ivor Novello, Arthur J. Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennett Scott arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood, Chris Roe
- Carry Me – Adam Langston
- Where we Belong – James Kennedy, Catrin Southall arr. Sean Hargreaves, John Haywood
- I Vow to Thee, My Country – Gustav Holst arr. Thomas Lamerton-Reece, Chris Roe