DUSTING off their lyrics, and performing for the first time in 18 months, the West of Scotland Military Wives Choir stood tall and proud to sing at this year’s annual Remembrance Sunday service in Helensburgh.

Singing their anthem The Poppy Red, with words by Moina Michael and John McCrae, adapted by Owain Park and Hannah King and to music by Owain Park, was a poignant moment to remember those who gave their lives during the two world wars.

Making her first public performance as the choir’s newest recruit was Glasgow-based musical director Shona Mackay, who has performed internationally and worked with a variety of ensembles including the Glasgow School of Art Choir, the Brodick Quartet, Hebrides Ensemble, Red Note and Ensemble Thing.

Alongside composition, Shona also works as a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is no stranger to community choirs.

“I was initially inspired by the Military Wives Choir when I saw them on The Choir, the BBC TV programme with Gareth Malone,” she said. “If you’d told me then that one day I’d have this opportunity to work with them, I don’t think I’d have believed you.

“Although it’s still early days and I’m only beginning to really understand the nature of service life, I’ve quickly come to appreciate the strength and support these ladies give each other through the power of song.

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“Being unable to rehearse or perform together over the past 18 months has been incredibly tough for them, but Sunday was a fantastic way to return to Helensburgh’s vibrant music scene and I’m so proud of them.”

The choir’s weekly Monday rehearsals have now resumed and they’re keen to recruit more wives and female partners of service personnel new to the Helensburgh area and the west of Scotland.

Chair Carolyn added: “We are so happy to be running rehearsals once more, and finally inviting new members along as restrictions ease.

“We would love to hear from any wives and female partners of service personnel new to the area or who feel now might be the right time to join, so please get in touch.”

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the choir’s formation, and a year of celebrations and performances is being planned to mark the milestone.

Their next performance is at the Helensburgh Winter Festival on Saturday, November 27. To find out more, follow the choir on Facebook - @wosmwc – or see westofscotlandmilitarywiveschoir.co.uk, and for more information about joining or booking the choir for a performance, email westofscotland@militarywiveschoirs.org.