The email subject line read: "Military Wives Choir." In the body of the message, it continued: "Should we start one? You could be the musical director, and I could be in the choir and chief administrator. We should be able to find some women who want to join in Canberra."
Not being sure if my friend was serious (we often send silliness to each other) I responded: "I am sensing that you are sincere in your desire to form a choir but was tempted to seek a hint of facetiousness about your suggestion."
As this friend intended, a list of potential songs had already begun to form in my head:
'Not So Distant Day,' 'Good Man,' 'The Journey Home,' 'Pardon Me Boys,' 'The Call,' 'Theme from Titanic....'" I was still looking for the joke in her suggestion.
She was not joking. We set a date to begin rehearsing, she advertised while I found music to start on - Christmas Music - and looked for other songs that would uplift and strengthen women who might come to sing.
While organising a rehearsal space and advertising our first 'come & try' we received a request to sing. My friend's frantic phone call went something like, "So what do we tell them? We don't even have a choir, we haven't had a first rehearsal yet!"
"When do they want us to sing?"
"Well, say 'yes,' and it might just be you and me and some jingle bells."
We said, "Yes," and by November we had the two of us, some jingle bells, and six other singers. We ended 2012 with 12 voices and two more invitations to sing in 2013.
We thought that 20 singers would be an excellent aim, and we purchased 20 folders and filled them with music. The last Thursday in January 2013 rolled around very quickly. We had music for 20, the genesis of a signature song (Military Wife), great support from defence community organisations, and excellent experiences singing for our hearts in rehearsal, and for others from the Christmas before.
Our first rehearsal for 2013 'warmed up' to the tune of 35 voices! We could hardly believe our ears, and... we needed more music!! More music followed while we imagined what it might be like for women to have groups like this to join wherever they were posted - women who are strengthened by singing together.
The work continues, partly fulfilled and still on the boil, with the help of strong and beautiful women. Just over four years later there are singers in Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide & Perth. I shake my head in wonder, and smile - a lot!
To celebrate the success of the AMWChoir leading up to another Christmas season, please enjoy a FREE DOWNLOAD of the Miltary Wife Instrumental track performed by Sylvia Wang, National Accompanist for the AMWChoir.
Learn more about the AMWChoir here.