Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Wives choir in remembrance tribute

The Queen arrives for the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall
Prince Charles arrives at the Royal Albert Hall

A choir of military spouses whose partners are serving in Afghanistan joined a star-studded line-up to commemorate Britain's fallen soldiers at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Festival of Remembrance was watched by thousands - including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Prime Minister.

The choir was billed alongside Sir Cliff Richard, Katherine Jenkins and X Factor star Joe McElderry at the Festival of Remembrance.

With their husbands away in Afghanistan, the members of the Military Wives Choir from the Royal Marines Base Chivenor in north Devon serenaded the audience with moving ballad Wherever You Are.

Introducing the BBC-televised event, broadcaster Huw Edwards said: "Ninety years of supporting veterans and their families. 90 years from the Somme to Helmand Province. It's now time to lay the ground work for the next 90 years."

Assembled by Gareth Malone for his BBC Two series The Choir, the Military Wives Choir was first to perform.

Introducing the choir, Mr Malone said: "I hope that with this song and these beautiful words you're able to capture what it's like to be away from the one you love."

The choir was followed by Sir Cliff Richard, who shuffled and crooned his way through a version of I've Got You Under My Skin with big band the Royal Air Force Squadronaires. English tenor Alfie Boe sang with the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines from Plymouth.

2009 X Factor winner McElderry showed a change in style as he performed classical crossover song To Where You Are from his second studio album Classic.

Welsh mezzo-soprano Jenkins, who wore a flowing purple dress emblazoned with a glittering poppy, received a warm reception as she sang moving ballad A Flower from her album Daydream. The Festival veteran and Forces' sweetheart has previously sung for troops in Afghanistan, while her fiance, presenter Gethin Jones, launched this year's Poppy Appeal.

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