Episode 1 The Choir


Episode 1

Choirmaster Gareth Malone visits RMB Chivenor military base in Devon, where he hopes to form a choir with the wives and girlfriends left behind by troops deployed in Afghanistan.


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Transcript


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Choirmaster Gareth Malone believes that singing

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can change the toughest of lives.

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I know that music can bring people together

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under really extraordinary circumstances.

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In three weeks' time,

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these soldiers will be fighting for their country in Afghanistan.

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Three, two, one!

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They'll be leaving behind more than 120 women and their children.

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Been quite a few fatalities, which is horrific.

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This is real. It's not Action Man here. This is real stuff.

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These people are separated from their husbands.

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There's a real danger that they could be injured.

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They might not even come back.

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Gareth will pull these women together

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into a choir of military wives.

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I am here to lift your spirits, hopefully.

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Pick you up and bring your voices together to be heard.

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Words can't explain how much...

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How much I just want him to come home.

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If I let my guard down and let the emotion come out,

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I would be crying the whole day!

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The whole point of this is to give voice to these women

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and make people hear them

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and it's amazing how much some of them hide.

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You wanted to play with the big girls, you drink like the big girls.

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In less than eight months,

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Gareth will take his choir from obscurity...

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This lot are going to absolutely rip us to pieces.

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..up through the ranks of the military establishment.

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It's about boosting morale.

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It's about finding pride in yourselves.

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I want to run away. I just want to run away!

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And right to the heart of the nation's tribute to the troops,

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with a grand performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

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This is like no other gig I have ever done.

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Gig is the wrong word. This is a ceremony.

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It does get you.

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Going into a very sensitive situation with something as ridiculous

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and as crass as singing in a choir.

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It's testing what a choir is for

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and really testing it to the limit.

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It's early spring and Gareth is moving to Devon,

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where he'll be staying for the next eight months.

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He'll start a choir with the wives of soldiers and marines

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based nearby, who are about to deploy to Afghanistan.

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It's a time where the military is just in everyone's minds.

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Every time I open the newspaper,

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there's been a new awful story from Afghanistan,

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but we don't think about who's left at home

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and we only ever hear about military wives

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when they're on the news and when something's gone wrong.

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When the chips are down

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and you haven't got anything else to get you through,

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I think that's what singing was invented for.

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It's for bringing people together - even when things are bad.

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I know nothing about the military.

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Absolutely nothing, other than what I've been told,

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what I've seen on the news.

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I've never spent time on a military base

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and I know very little about military life.

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I really don't know what to expect.

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Gareth will be choirmaster at the Royal Marine Barracks

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at Chivenor, a remote spot in north Devon.

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Your name is?

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Gareth Malone.

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I think this is the most intimidating place

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I've ever been in my life.

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Do you get used to it?

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Yeah, you do, yeah.

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There's been a base at Chivenor since before the Second World War.

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Three, two, one!

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Now it's a training base for nearly 1,200 men

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from the Royal Marines, the Army and the RAF.

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I'd like to introduce you to the OC.

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In just three weeks, these men will deploy to Afghanistan.

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How's the mood?

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The mood is good. We've spent a lot of time training.

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Although you can't train too much, we're at the point now

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where we've done enough and we're ready to go.

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Do you mind me asking how old you are?

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-22.

-25.

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I'm 28. I just had an easy paper round. Look young.

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How does your wife feel?

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We think that it's a bit harder for our families actually

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than us when we're deployed,

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cos they've still got to deal with normal day-to-day life.

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Gareth's joining Family Day on the base.

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A chance for everyone to get together

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for the last time before the troops leave.

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Morning. Hi.

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Good afternoon, everyone!

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My name is Gareth Malone

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and I'm going to be here for the next eight months.

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I want to invite anyone to come and join a choir.

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You don't need to be a brilliant singer but I'm around.

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Come and speak to me if you're at all interested,

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if you've ever thought about singing,

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if you sing in the shower, it's about bringing everyone together.

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Tumbleweed.

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I'm starting a choir.

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Good luck with that one.

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Thanks.

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I'm starting a choir.

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Oh, right!

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For the wives and girlfriends... and anyone who's left behind

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while the troops are away.

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Do you sing?

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No.

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You're deploying in three weeks?

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Yes. Roughly three weeks.

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How are you feeling?

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Not so good about it.

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-Is it the first time?

-Yeah.

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Big deal.

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Yeah, it is.

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So the whole purpose of me being here is to offer you something to do,

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something to take your mind off of what's going on while they're away.

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Would you be interested?

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-Definitely.

-Good.

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Have you heard that I'm here to start a choir?

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-Yes.

-Word travels fast.

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Are you interested?

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Yes.

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Good! Yeses!

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Hello, George. Hello, Nicola.

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Do you sing?

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Do I sing?

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What does she sing?

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Everything!

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-So you'd be interested?

-Oh, most definitely.

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I like "Oh, most definitely". That's the most positive response I've had.

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Are you interested?

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Well, yes, but you haven't heard me sing yet!

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What do you rate her chances?

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I think she's going to be outstanding. Absolutely.

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'I don't envy anybody to pull these individuals into a choir.'

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Soldiers are soldiers and they are trained

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and do obey orders for good reason.

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Wives don't fall into that category

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and rightly so, and they never should.

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They will have their own views on issues,

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the ways that they want to do things,

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which I think will add to the challenge

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of trying to form them into a choir.

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It's so strange that here we are, drinking cups of tea and coffee,

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enjoying the weather and having a nice fete,

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and these guys are going to war in three weeks

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and they'll be in Afghanistan and everyone will be worried about them.

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So, it will just be such a strange atmosphere on the base after that.

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It's the calm before the storm.

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280 houses make up the married quarters, known as "the patch".

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Standing on the perimeter of the base,

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it's where the majority of troops live with their families.

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It's quite a dull place.

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There's nothing apart from all the houses,

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and the houses seem to vary depending on what rank you are.

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It does feel very remote from the rest of the world.

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We're only about half a mile from Barnstable

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and yet we're in a little enclave.

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I wonder if they have any interaction with the outside world.

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It's very claustrophobic,

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so you're right on top of everyone that your husband works with.

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There's no getting away from them.

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Soldier's wife Nicky and her family moved to Chivenor a few months ago.

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It's her fifth base in ten years.

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She thinks Gareth's choir could make all the difference.

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It's hard to meet people I think

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because there is a big, big cross-section of all the services.

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There's cliques of people.

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What happens is you get parties, mess functions,

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and those wives go to them.

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The other wives don't because they are another regiment or something.

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You make acquaintances, not friends.

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And you need things to bring people together. You do need things.

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Having a choir here is going to be brilliant.

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I can't say that I've ever seen the commanding officer's wife

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so I don't know who she is, to be honest with you!

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I know where she lives and I hear people say she's a lovely lady.

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I'm sure she is.

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Gareth wants to spread the word on the patch

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that his first choir rehearsals are about to get under way.

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Hello.

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Hi. I'm not a mum and I haven't got a baby.

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-Hello.

-Stacey.

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Hi, Stacey. Hello.

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Hi, I'm Gareth. Local choirmaster. Hello.

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So what is there to do for you while your husbands are away? Nothing?

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Really?

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Nothing whatsoever.

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Just counting the long days.

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What about singing? I'm starting a choir.

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My dream is to be able to sing.

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Your dream?

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I'm going to make that dream come true. I hope. He said!

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I used to be in a choir.

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Oh, great! When?

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When I was, like, from 12 to 17.

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Brilliant. So you know what you're doing.

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Nice to meet you. Can I hear your voice?

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-No!

-OK.

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Well, it's really nice to meet you all and I will let you know.

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I will put a notice up.

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-See you again.

-Bye!

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'Ah! What's in here?'

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Sam's husband John is in the Royal Engineers.

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At 27, he's about to deploy to Afghanistan for the first time.

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It's a mixture of emotions.

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You feel guilt because you think,

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"Have I forced you into the Army to give us a better life?"

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And then you're angry that they're going.

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Everything just feels so tense.

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Sam will be left to look after their two young children.

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Brodie has autistic spectrum disorder.

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He's not developed at his age.

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He's seven but he's more at a four-year-old level.

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Life can be difficult

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because Brodie's behaviour can be really challenging at times.

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But I wouldn't change it though.

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I am really up for the choir. I love singing.

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I think my husband will have a bit more peace of mind

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that I'll be occupied and kept busy.

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So if you're kept busy, the time will hopefully go quicker as well.

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So, yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.

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It's March and after months of preparation and training,

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deployment day has arrived.

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Some 600 men will say goodbye to their families

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and leave the barracks for six months in Afghanistan.

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For Nicky, it's the fifth time husband George has been deployed.

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We've done it before. But it's always different.

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All the feelings.

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Cos the children are older.

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They know what's going on, yeah.

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I thought he wouldn't have had to go again, because he's done...

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What, George?

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Just over 21 years.

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21 years. I thought he'd done his bit.

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But you have to get on with it.

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We've chosen this lifestyle, and that's how it is.

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Here you go, chicken. Which one's yours? That one?

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-My stomach's churning. How many hours have we got?

-Erm...three.

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-Three hours to go.

-Three hours to go.

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-Sapper Leak.

-Sir.

-Major Williams.

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Corporal Thompson. Sapper Maitland.

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The build-up to going is just...

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is just horrendous, to be honest with you.

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-Captain Pearce.

-It never gets any easier.

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You still have that worry, "What if?"

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You know, you dread that fear of the knock on the door.

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Staff Sergeant Bowe.

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-Sir.

-Major Wilson.

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Being told, "Right, OK, you're going off,"

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it frightens him, really frightens him.

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And he goes through a lot of emotions because of it.

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Captain Grant.

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Sapper Maddocks.

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When he says goodbye to me, is that going to be his last goodbye?

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Oh, I'm sorry.

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It's like a ghost town, there's nothing going on.

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Last week there were soldiers around and people driving about,

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now it's just really quiet.

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Today is Gareth's first rehearsal for his military wives' choir.

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The chapel on the edge of the barracks will be their base

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for the next few months.

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They're in a real low point, their husbands have just gone,

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literally last weekend,

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and I think a few of them probably

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haven't ventured out of the house very much,

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so this is the time to be having fun, getting them going.

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I don't know how they're going to react to that, as well.

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You know, whether they feel it's appropriate

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while their husbands are away

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for them just to be having a nice time doing some singing.

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Ten minutes to go.

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There's nobody coming yet. It's a bit worrying.

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It actually hadn't occurred to me

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that I wouldn't have people turning up.

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I'm just going to guess you're here for the choir

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and not going to the military base.

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You're here for the choir? Brilliant.

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-Thanks for coming, Susie. Who's this?

-This is Jack.

-Hi, Jack.

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-Hello.

-Hi.

-I take it you're here for the choir?

-Yeah.

-Hello, come on in.

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-Hello, hi. What's your name?

-Jodie.

-Hello, Jodie.

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Welcome, welcome to the choir. Go on in.

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-Hello!

-Hello!

-Hello. Really, really good to see so many of you here.

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I'm going to do a head count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven...

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Gareth's first rehearsal has attracted wives

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from across the ranks,

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right up to the commanding officer's wife.

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..38, 39, 40!

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CHEERING

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I think that's really good. I just wanted you to feel welcome today

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and that you could come

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whatever the circumstances of your exceedingly complicated lives are.

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41! Hello! Brilliant.

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I am here to lift your spirits, hopefully,

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pick you up and actually, the most important thing,

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to have an opportunity to bring your voices together to be heard.

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What I need to do is find out roughly where your voices lie.

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And I'd like you all to get to that end of the room. Now, go.

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Gareth starts by splitting the choir into different sections.

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When we get too high for you, I want you to drift

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towards the organ over there.

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OK, so, and...

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THEY SING A SCALE

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Let's do that again with confidence. Go. And...

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THEY SING A SCALE

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Great, good. Another, "I'm out, I'm out!"

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THEY LAUGH It's like, "Oh, stop!"

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Now, hold on. Don't all leave!

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So you lot, Soprano One.

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Right, now, you, we've got the lower-voiced ladies.

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We're going to call you Altos. Middle, we've got Soprano Two.

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The first song that we're going to sing

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is a real favourite of mine from back in...I think it was 1989.

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It's Guns N' Roses' well-known choral classic,

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Sweet Child Of Mine.

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Here's the introduction.

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INTRO IS PLAYED ON KEYBOARD

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We're going to do it quite energised. Shall we stand up?

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I'm assuming you just know it, so give it a go.

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# She's got a smile that it seems to me

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# Reminds me of childhood memories

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# Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky... #

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And stop. Now, if we can do that together then we will have a choir.

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What I'd like you to do is... I've got a special present for you all,

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it is the magical hat of confidence, and there's one each.

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So catch, there you all are!

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Put your magical hat of confidence on, and pretend

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that you're really great singers and you're just going to do it!

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OK, here we go.

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# She's got a smile that it seems to me

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# Reminds me of childhood memories

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# Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky... #

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Stop. Can you just sing me that last note together?

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THEY SING THE NOTE

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# You should have, "Ah!" #

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-Thank you very much. How was that?

-Hard.

-Hard?

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Once your confidence is up, this is going to be brilliant.

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Fantastic, thank you.

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I'm not used to hearing people beside me sing,

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and then you can hear yourself as well.

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And to me it sounds horrendous!

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That was quite stressful.

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I didn't enjoy that, so I'm a bit all flustered! I need a drink!

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Not singing I'm used to.

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I wanted to just tap my feet and sing like I would normally,

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but I think I've got to learn a new way of singing.

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We'll see what the future brings, won't we?

0:18:270:18:30

See how many turn up next week!

0:18:300:18:32

'There is a really good basic sound there. Masses of potential.'

0:18:320:18:37

But what has really surprised me is I thought they'd be really gutsy,

0:18:370:18:40

and some of them were quite timid.

0:18:400:18:42

I think they lack the ability to express themselves,

0:18:420:18:45

to just really let their hair down and...

0:18:450:18:48

They don't have a voice. They really, genuinely, don't have a voice.

0:18:480:18:52

They're not heard, they're not listened to.

0:18:520:18:54

This is all about listening to them,

0:18:540:18:57

really, genuinely, listening to their voices,

0:18:570:18:59

and that takes confidence, and they haven't got it at the moment.

0:18:590:19:03

To bolster confidence,

0:19:050:19:07

Gareth wants to single out the choir's strongest singers.

0:19:070:19:11

-Hello, Sam.

-Hello.

-How are you?

0:19:110:19:14

He's come to see Sam, who's sung in a choir before.

0:19:140:19:17

I thought it would be nice to have a little listen to you singing.

0:19:170:19:22

-How does that sound? Like lots of fun?

-No!

-No.

0:19:220:19:24

Come on, let's give it a go!

0:19:240:19:26

# The moment I wake up... #

0:19:260:19:29

Good.

0:19:290:19:30

# Before I put on... #

0:19:300:19:32

-Oh, sorry!

-No, it's fine, that's good.

-Sorry, sorry, sorry.

0:19:320:19:35

Collect yourself, and here we go. Good breath. And...

0:19:350:19:38

# The moment I wake up... #

0:19:380:19:41

Good.

0:19:410:19:42

Oh, sorry.

0:19:420:19:43

# Before I...

0:19:430:19:45

# Before I put on my make-up... #

0:19:450:19:48

-Sorry.

-That's all right. What are you apologising for?

0:19:480:19:50

-I don't know, cos I apologise for everything!

-Yes.

-Sorry. Sorry!

0:19:500:19:54

-Sorry for saying sorry!

-Take a deep breath.

0:19:540:19:56

# And while combing my hair now... #

0:19:570:19:59

And one...

0:19:590:20:00

# And wondering what dress to wear now... #

0:20:000:20:05

-Sorry! I... Sorry!

-It's good.

0:20:050:20:07

# ..dress to wear now... #

0:20:070:20:09

Yep.

0:20:090:20:10

# I say a little prayer for you... #

0:20:100:20:12

And...

0:20:120:20:13

# For ever And ever

0:20:130:20:14

# You'll stay... #

0:20:140:20:16

I'm sorry! Sorry, sorry, sorry.

0:20:160:20:18

That's really good. You've got a nice voice.

0:20:180:20:20

-Hmm, I wouldn't say that.

-No, but I would.

0:20:200:20:23

SHE LAUGHS

0:20:230:20:24

I know you wouldn't!

0:20:240:20:26

It's a really nice voice, so the apologies have got to stop.

0:20:260:20:29

Honestly, we need to find some confidence,

0:20:290:20:31

cos I think this is what this is all about.

0:20:310:20:33

I get the strong impression that all of you, actually,

0:20:330:20:37

are a little bit less confident than I thought you were.

0:20:370:20:40

I know we're army wives, but we do have a bit of a... A timid side.

0:20:400:20:45

A timid side, yeah. Why is that?

0:20:450:20:48

It's been, like, 11 years since I was in a choir,

0:20:480:20:51

so it's a long time ago. I've just been a mummy, and moving about,

0:20:510:20:55

so everything sort of takes a back burner.

0:20:550:20:58

-But singing is my first love, and being in a choir.

-Yeah.

0:20:580:21:01

BABY CRIES IN BACKGROUND

0:21:010:21:03

Kids are kicking off. Stop thinking about choir.

0:21:030:21:05

-Don't think about singing!

-Sorry, my baby comes first!

0:21:050:21:08

-Thank you.

-See you later.

-Bye.

0:21:080:21:10

Sam's got loads of talent but very little confidence,

0:21:100:21:13

I don't know if that's because her husband's deployed

0:21:130:21:16

or if that goes deeper,

0:21:160:21:17

but either way I've got to find a way to get that confidence up.

0:21:170:21:20

She's a very good singer.

0:21:200:21:21

Though deployment is mainly over,

0:21:250:21:27

some 400 soldiers and marines remain on the base,

0:21:270:21:31

some acting as back-up for those killed or injured in Afghanistan.

0:21:310:21:34

Gareth's been invited to join them.

0:21:360:21:40

I've cut myself on the uniform.

0:21:400:21:43

I'm a bit out of shape.

0:21:430:21:45

MUSIC: Theme from The Great Escape

0:21:450:21:49

Yeah, I've got that. Ah!

0:21:500:21:54

We'll be covering nine miles in 90 minutes.

0:21:540:21:57

You're nodding, Gareth, you all right?

0:21:570:21:59

-Yep, absolutely, yes, sir.

-OK. Let's go.

0:21:590:22:01

You're a soldier, you train to go out to war,

0:22:040:22:06

and then some of them don't deploy.

0:22:060:22:09

Battle replacement people.

0:22:090:22:12

Jump, right turn. Good.

0:22:120:22:14

They're a resource that I should be using, because I want this

0:22:140:22:18

to be a military choir, this is a military wives' choir.

0:22:180:22:21

I want them to be inspired by the military and to have that discipline.

0:22:210:22:24

Left, right, left, right, left.

0:22:240:22:27

And I think there must be a role for these guys.

0:22:270:22:30

Stand by. Go!

0:22:360:22:38

I'm glad I'm a choirmaster! These guys... I mean, they're incredible.

0:22:400:22:45

That's it, get out, lads.

0:22:450:22:47

Go on in, go on in. Hello, morning, Emma.

0:22:510:22:55

It's more than two weeks since the soldiers left,

0:22:550:22:58

and Gareth's keen to boost the morale of his new choir.

0:22:580:23:02

Right, big announcement.

0:23:040:23:06

I think first off, I want you to approve something.

0:23:060:23:10

It's rather a long and complicated name,

0:23:100:23:12

but I think it is the right name.

0:23:120:23:14

The RMB Chivenor Military Wives' Choir.

0:23:140:23:17

Now, I know that some of you aren't wives,

0:23:170:23:20

but if we have the RMB Military WAGS' choir,

0:23:200:23:27

it says something very different, I think.

0:23:270:23:29

Do we all feel like that's the right title for the choir?

0:23:290:23:32

-All those in favour say aye. ALL:

-Aye.

0:23:320:23:34

You are now the RMB Chivenor Military Wives' Choir, congratulations.

0:23:340:23:38

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE We have a lot of work to do.

0:23:380:23:40

Shall we start singing? OK.

0:23:400:23:43

Sweet Child O' Mine, then.

0:23:430:23:44

Here we go. Standing up, let's go right through.

0:23:440:23:46

Sorry?

0:23:460:23:48

# She's got a smile... #

0:23:480:23:50

OK, that's not really selling it to me.

0:23:500:23:52

# She's got... # I want the eyes up. You know what the first word. # She's got a smile... #

0:23:520:23:57

That's fine, but this isn't fine. # She's got a smile... #

0:23:570:23:59

I always say to people, sing before you're singing.

0:23:590:24:02

# She's got a smile...# THEY LAUGH

0:24:020:24:05

Let's have the introduction.

0:24:050:24:08

You've got to look alive. If you're not singing

0:24:080:24:10

at the beginning, you've got to look like you might, yeah?

0:24:100:24:12

People are like this... "What's going to happen?"

0:24:120:24:15

"Who's going to sing?"

0:24:150:24:16

You are.

0:24:160:24:17

# She's got a smile and it seems to me

0:24:170:24:20

# It reminds me of childhood memories

0:24:200:24:24

# When everything was as fresh as the bright, blue... #

0:24:240:24:28

# Bright, blue sky. #

0:24:280:24:29

# Sky... #

0:24:290:24:32

CHOIR SING OUT OF TIME

0:24:320:24:35

Shall we go back over it? Have a seat. Thank you, well done.

0:24:390:24:41

Really go for it. It doesn't matter if it's wrong. It's easier, actually, for me

0:24:410:24:45

to correct mistakes, if I can hear them.

0:24:450:24:47

Whereas, if you're so like this, it's very, sort of, bewildering.

0:24:470:24:51

"What's going on? Are they getting it right or not?"

0:24:510:24:53

Be wrong and strong. That's what rehearsals are for.

0:24:530:24:55

So this should be,

0:24:550:24:57

# Hair reminds of a warm, safe place Where as a child I'd hide

0:24:570:25:03

# And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly... #

0:25:030:25:07

Whatever it is, yeah? Really strong. One, two, three, and...

0:25:070:25:11

-# It reminds of a warm... #

-OK.

0:25:110:25:13

Can I get a bit more chest from you, ladies...

0:25:130:25:15

LAUGHTER

0:25:150:25:17

..as it were?

0:25:170:25:18

What's your D, sorry?

0:25:180:25:20

# Hair reminds me of... #

0:25:200:25:22

You cannot sing passively.

0:25:220:25:23

It's got to be engaged, all the time.

0:25:230:25:26

# Her hair reminds... # Energised.

0:25:260:25:27

One, two, three...

0:25:270:25:29

# Her hair reminds of a warm, safe place where as a child I'd hide

0:25:290:25:36

# And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by. #

0:25:360:25:43

Sit down. Well done.

0:25:430:25:44

Thank you. That was really, really good.

0:25:440:25:47

That was brilliant! I'm really taken aback.

0:25:470:25:49

That was really good, wasn't it?

0:25:490:25:51

Everyone out! Come on, out! Thank you! Well done!

0:25:510:25:56

It went a lot better this week, I think. I felt a lot...

0:25:560:26:01

A bit more confident and stuff,

0:26:010:26:03

although I did quite a big batch of it wrong,

0:26:030:26:05

got it all mixed up.

0:26:050:26:06

The first-week nerves have gone a little bit.

0:26:060:26:09

We are all beginning to relax a bit more.

0:26:090:26:11

Everyone's starting to feel a bit more comfortable.

0:26:110:26:14

Good morale boost, actually, getting everyone together.

0:26:140:26:17

Oh, brilliant.

0:26:170:26:19

I've just got to try and get on top of my voice not going.

0:26:190:26:21

These women can sing and they can sing well.

0:26:210:26:24

In fact, they can sing a lot better than many of the choirs I've started.

0:26:240:26:28

But they don't do, is put emotion into their singing, because they're too frightened to.

0:26:280:26:32

For good reasons, they've clammed up.

0:26:320:26:34

I think that's what I want to change. That's my job here.

0:26:340:26:37

It's to get them to be emotional, to have pride in themselves,

0:26:370:26:41

and just to be singers, to be a proper choir.

0:26:410:26:46

It's about expressing your emotion.

0:26:460:26:47

And I think they are going to find that quite hard.

0:26:470:26:50

To mark the launch of the military wives' choir,

0:26:580:27:00

the women have organised a surprise for Gareth.

0:27:000:27:04

This is the first choir social

0:27:040:27:06

and the girls have organised to have a big drink

0:27:060:27:09

at the sergeants' mess.

0:27:090:27:13

It's a chance for Gareth to get to know the women on their own territory.

0:27:130:27:16

By reputation, they go large, so it could be an interesting evening.

0:27:160:27:20

-Hi!

-Hi, Gareth.

0:27:220:27:23

-Hello, Penny, how are you? All right?

-Bloody marvellous.

-Good.

0:27:230:27:26

-When you are a visitor, in any mess, you have to ring the bell.

-Really?

0:27:260:27:31

-Yes, just to tell everybody you are here.

-OK.

0:27:310:27:34

Ring the bell.

0:27:340:27:35

BELL RINGS

0:27:350:27:36

ALL: Hooray!

0:27:360:27:39

Sergeants' mess tradition dictates that whoever rings the bell

0:27:410:27:44

has to buy drinks for everyone in the bar.

0:27:440:27:47

-Look at you!

-Cheers, everyone!

0:27:470:27:49

The rule also states that if anyone refuses a drink, Gareth has to drink for them.

0:27:490:27:55

-You've got to drink it, please!

-No.

-Penny will make me drink one.

0:27:550:28:00

-You should have done your homework.

-I should have done. I should have known a bit more.

-There's one.

0:28:000:28:05

Oh, no!

0:28:050:28:06

OK, all right. That is horrible.

0:28:060:28:11

It's like drinking aftershave.

0:28:110:28:13

-Hello. I've come to say hello.

-Hi, Gareth.

0:28:130:28:15

How are you getting on with the choir?

0:28:150:28:17

OK, but when we came yesterday,

0:28:170:28:19

you were singing stuff we'd never even done before

0:28:190:28:22

and I kind of stood there

0:28:220:28:23

and went, "Oh... I'll just join in."

0:28:230:28:25

Would you...

0:28:250:28:27

-Do you want... Would you be prepared to sing on your own?

-No!

0:28:270:28:30

No. What about... What about...

0:28:300:28:34

No, I'd be happy to give you a lesson,

0:28:340:28:37

to improve, to get better, to feel more confident within the choir.

0:28:370:28:42

-I can't sing.

-Would you do some karaoke later?

-No.

0:28:420:28:46

-Do you know what?

-Have you heard her sing?

0:28:460:28:48

I know how much I can't sing

0:28:480:28:50

that even when I've drank my weight in alcohol,

0:28:500:28:52

I still would not sing. I won't. I don't.

0:28:520:28:56

I'm determined to crack this. You must, you must.

0:28:560:28:59

The whole point of the choir is about bringing you together to sing.

0:28:590:29:03

One, two, three!

0:29:030:29:05

Yes! Ha-ha-ha!

0:29:080:29:10

You wanted to play with the big girls.

0:29:110:29:14

You've got to drink like the big girls.

0:29:140:29:16

# I'm having a ball Don't stop me now. #

0:29:160:29:20

'They are a force waiting to be unleashed.'

0:29:200:29:24

They really are! They are just... They are trapped, really.

0:29:240:29:27

They are trapped by their situation and actually need this choir

0:29:270:29:30

to give them a focus, because otherwise they are just in there,

0:29:300:29:33

drinking flaming sambucas and preying on unsuspecting choirmasters,

0:29:330:29:40

who have just come past.

0:29:400:29:41

No, seriously, they need this, they really do.

0:29:410:29:44

# We're just dancing in the dark. #

0:29:440:29:47

-Hey, baby!

-Go away, baby!

0:29:470:29:50

Though it is still early days for Gareth's choir, slowly but surely,

0:29:580:30:02

singing is starting to take hold on the patch.

0:30:020:30:05

Someone's practising.

0:30:070:30:09

# If I lived every night... #

0:30:090:30:15

Oh, my God!

0:30:150:30:17

Ooh! Jesus Christ!

0:30:170:30:18

HE LAUGHS

0:30:180:30:19

Hello, that sounded nice. Are you all right?

0:30:190:30:22

I'm so embarrassed.

0:30:240:30:26

I heard the whole thing. It sounded very good.

0:30:260:30:29

-It really didn't, but thanks.

-It was good.

0:30:290:30:31

-Hello.

-Hi, Gareth.

-Hi, can I come in?

-Yes.

0:30:340:30:37

Gareth's finally persuaded Sarah to have a singing lesson.

0:30:370:30:40

-Have you done much singing before?

-Never.

-Never?

-Ever.

0:30:400:30:45

But if you can get over the hurdle of singing on your own,

0:30:450:30:48

I think it's a real help when you come to sing in the choir and sing in rehearsals, honestly.

0:30:480:30:53

Let's try it. (PLAYS SCALE) # Ah-ah-ah-ah. #

0:30:530:30:55

-Don't think about it.

-I can't, you're freaking me out.

0:30:550:30:58

-Why are you so scared of singing?

-Because I can't.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:30:580:31:03

What songs do you sing? I mean, do you ever sing?

0:31:030:31:06

The only time I ever sing is when the music is on so loud

0:31:060:31:10

that it might burst your ears and I'm hoovering.

0:31:100:31:13

I bet you I can make you feel more confident about your singing, I really do.

0:31:130:31:17

Give it a go. Take the plunge. Shall we just try...

0:31:170:31:20

# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. # Just try that.

0:31:200:31:24

Oh, I can't. Jesus.

0:31:240:31:26

-I can't. It's making me have funny cheeks now.

-Funny cheeks?!

0:31:260:31:29

Come on, with me, and... # Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. #

0:31:290:31:33

It's like taking me driving test. I feel sick now.

0:31:330:31:36

You're going to be fine. We'll be over in no time. Ready?

0:31:360:31:39

And... The first note's the worst. Here we go. And...

0:31:390:31:43

I'm getting a hot sweat.

0:31:430:31:45

Another one?

0:31:450:31:46

# Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. #

0:31:460:31:49

It was less painful giving birth.

0:31:490:31:52

-Surely, surely childbirth must be worse than this?

-It's not.

0:31:520:31:55

# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. # Go on.

0:31:550:31:59

-# Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. #

-Great. Keep going.

0:32:010:32:04

-# Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. #

-Bit louder.

0:32:040:32:07

# Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. #

0:32:070:32:10

Try now to sing Ah. # Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. #

0:32:100:32:15

-# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. #

-That's really good. And...

0:32:150:32:19

-# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. #

-Good, deep breath.

0:32:190:32:23

# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. #

0:32:230:32:26

Good.

0:32:260:32:27

It's a nice voice, honestly. There's nothing wrong with your voice.

0:32:270:32:30

-I feel like I'm torturing you.

-You are torturing me!

0:32:300:32:34

That's what it feels like. Send YOU out to Afghan!

0:32:340:32:37

-You get the information. Make them sing!

-Good idea.

0:32:370:32:40

Sarah and her two children are living through husband John's third tour of duty to Afghanistan.

0:32:430:32:49

When your husband's away, it's like life almost is put on pause.

0:32:490:32:55

You don't want to do things because you feel guilty

0:32:550:32:58

that you are having fun with your children or with your family.

0:32:580:33:01

You feel instant guilt, that they are out there working hard,

0:33:010:33:07

missing us, and we are having fun.

0:33:070:33:09

'We actually found Callum one night in his bedroom crying.'

0:33:110:33:16

We had to ask him, "What's wrong, why are you upset?" And he just says he keeps getting

0:33:160:33:20

these horrible thoughts in his head. He said that he thought two men would be coming to the house,

0:33:200:33:25

to knock on the door and tell him that his dad had died. It's just hard. Generally hard.

0:33:250:33:31

You get through it and just count your days down and wait for until it gets to the end.

0:33:310:33:35

Come in and have a drink and a biscuit.

0:33:350:33:37

Dad said when he was away

0:33:410:33:42

I had to look after mum and Owen, and these two, as well.

0:33:420:33:47

-And...

-Be good.

-..and be good,

0:33:470:33:50

because I'm the man of the house now.

0:33:500:33:52

This is a message on my phone that my dad sent me.

0:33:520:33:57

'Hello, Callum, it's Dad here. Just wanted to say hello. OK, I love you, bye-bye.'

0:33:570:34:03

In my letter to my dad, I said

0:34:030:34:06

that I would send him lots more letters.

0:34:060:34:10

And I said, "I hope that you don't get hurt."

0:34:100:34:13

And then I said," I love you, Bye."

0:34:130:34:15

Despite her reservations about singing, Sarah thinks the choir

0:34:150:34:21

could make a world of difference.

0:34:210:34:23

A choir is a great focus for people.

0:34:230:34:27

A few hours of just release and a bit of fun.

0:34:270:34:31

And also, it's getting together. We're meeting new people

0:34:310:34:34

Who are in the same situation. If you have had a bad day,

0:34:340:34:37

you can sound off at them and they will know exactly what you are talking about.

0:34:370:34:41

It's late March and back on the base,

0:34:510:34:53

Gareth has been hatching a plan for his choir.

0:34:530:34:55

The women don't know it yet,

0:34:550:34:57

but there is going to be 200 hundred men from the rear party, the troops that stay behind.

0:34:570:35:02

We're going to perform to them. I want them to feel like a military choir

0:35:020:35:06

and I think that means performing for the military. This is a big test for them.

0:35:060:35:10

I'm interested to see how they react to being thrown in at the deep end.

0:35:100:35:13

I'm hoping that this is going to accelerate our progress and not just terrify them.

0:35:130:35:17

Right, big announcement.

0:35:170:35:19

I've organised for your first informal performance...

0:35:190:35:26

in about half an hour.

0:35:260:35:27

And we're going to do that

0:35:290:35:30

on the base.

0:35:300:35:32

It's going to feel scary, exciting. It's about putting ourselves on the line and going for it.

0:35:340:35:39

MUSIC PLAYS

0:35:390:35:42

Gareth has arranged for nearly 300 members of the rear guard

0:35:450:35:49

to assemble in a hangar on the base for the choir's first performance.

0:35:490:35:54

This is going to be scary. There is quite a large audience in there.

0:35:570:36:02

How can we be a military choir if we haven't performed to the military?

0:36:020:36:05

This is where we're getting our stripes.

0:36:050:36:08

I'm really nervous. My stomach is going round 80 mph.

0:36:080:36:11

I'm not looking forward to this at all.

0:36:110:36:13

It will be good. We'll be all right.

0:36:130:36:16

This lot are going to absolutely rip us to pieces. Totally.

0:36:180:36:22

Right, make me proud. Come on.

0:36:220:36:26

APPLAUSE Oh my god.

0:36:300:36:33

I've seen some intimidating audiences in my time.

0:36:420:36:45

But this really takes the biscuit.

0:36:450:36:47

Good morning. We are the RMB Chivenor Military Wives Choir.

0:36:470:36:54

This is our first performance. Please be kind. I sprung it on them 25 minutes ago.

0:36:540:36:59

They didn't know they were going to do it.

0:36:590:37:02

Here we go. Their first ever performance. We...

0:37:020:37:06

I'm really nervous.

0:37:060:37:08

Here we go. It's Sweet Child Of Mine by Guns N' Roses.

0:37:080:37:13

MUSIC STARTS

0:37:200:37:22

HE MOUTHS

0:37:220:37:24

# She's got a smile that it seems to me

0:37:320:37:35

# Reminds me of childhood memories

0:37:350:37:38

# Where everything was as fresh

0:37:380:37:42

# As the bright blue sky

0:37:420:37:45

# Now and then when I see her face

0:37:450:37:48

# She takes me away to that special place

0:37:480:37:52

# And if I stare too long

0:37:520:37:54

# I'd probably break down and cry

0:37:540:37:59

# Whoa, sweet child of mine

0:37:590:38:04

# Whoa, sweet love of mine

0:38:040:38:09

# Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place

0:38:110:38:15

# Where as a child I'd hide

0:38:150:38:18

# And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by

0:38:180:38:25

# And pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by

0:38:250:38:34

# Whoa, sweet child o' mine

0:38:340:38:41

-# Whoa, sweet love of mine.

-#

0:38:410:38:48

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:38:510:38:54

Proper brilliant. They were right good. They should be very proud of themselves.

0:39:080:39:12

It was really good.

0:39:120:39:14

Yeah. I want to see less clothes next time and more bikinis and that.

0:39:140:39:18

That would be amazing.

0:39:180:39:19

I was absolutely amazed at how good they were.

0:39:190:39:22

I wasn't expecting it to be that good.

0:39:220:39:26

It was extraordinary. Something really happened. It was very exciting

0:39:260:39:30

and I think from the opening notes, you

0:39:300:39:33

could sense that everyone thought, "They're good."

0:39:330:39:37

I think you know how well that went.

0:39:370:39:39

That was an awesome achievement on very few rehearsals.

0:39:390:39:43

It was much better than I thought it was going to be. I'm really happy.

0:39:430:39:46

LAUGHTER

0:39:460:39:48

Genuinely, what was great was that we found out

0:39:480:39:51

what spirit there is here and you really stepped up.

0:39:510:39:53

Let's have a huge round of applause. Well done.

0:39:530:39:55

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Well done.

0:39:550:39:58

MUSIC PLAYS

0:40:020:40:05

I've been here several weeks now and there is a sense of camaraderie developing.

0:40:080:40:15

The women are really coming together as a choir and it's bringing them out of their houses.

0:40:150:40:19

There's a sense of community about this.

0:40:190:40:22

But it's a very isolated community.

0:40:220:40:25

It doesn't seem to go beyond the walls of the patch, beyond Chivenor. That's what I want to tackle.

0:40:250:40:31

That's what I want to change.

0:40:310:40:33

I think these women need to start reaching out

0:40:330:40:35

beyond their military lives and making people aware of what they go through.

0:40:350:40:39

HE SINGS

0:40:390:40:42

Gareth's determined to tackle his choir's sense of isolation.

0:40:460:40:50

He heads to Barnstaple, a busy market town just five minutes from the base.

0:40:500:40:54

Excuse me, could I ask you a question?

0:40:540:40:57

-Yes.

-Do you know anything about RMB Chivenor?

0:40:570:41:00

It's down there.

0:41:000:41:02

-Yes. Do you know nothing else?

-No.

0:41:020:41:04

-Have you ever been there?

-No.

0:41:040:41:06

-Do you know anyone who lives over there on that little patch of houses?

-No.

0:41:060:41:10

-Do you know anything about RMB Chivenor?

-Not really.

0:41:100:41:13

Do you know anything about the troops at all and what they're doing?

0:41:130:41:16

-No.

-No, nothing.

0:41:160:41:18

What about the women who are left behind while the troops are away? Do you know any of those?

0:41:180:41:23

-No.

-You haven't had much contact with them?

-No.

0:41:230:41:25

-I don't see much of them at all.

-OK.

0:41:250:41:27

-It would be nice to see more of them.

-Yes.

0:41:270:41:29

-Because they do a great job.

-They're a friendly bunch.

0:41:290:41:31

-Yes.

-Thanks very much.

-OK.

-Bye.

0:41:310:41:33

Just universally people don't know that they're there or

0:41:330:41:37

if they do know it's there they don't know anyone on the base

0:41:370:41:40

and I don't think there is much integration.

0:41:400:41:42

If we're to give these women a voice, they need an audience.

0:41:420:41:46

They need people to hear them.

0:41:460:41:47

I think Barnstaple's the right place to start because it is the local town.

0:41:470:41:51

I'd like people to say, "We know them. They're the ones that sing.

0:41:510:41:55

"They're the ones that have a choir, that speak for all military wives".

0:41:550:41:58

That would be fantastic.

0:41:580:42:00

In the heart of Barnstaple is an old Victorian market place.

0:42:050:42:09

Gareth's come to the meet the manager.

0:42:090:42:12

-Hello, you're John?

-Hello, Gareth?

-Yes. Hi.

-How are you?

-This is amazing. What a great place.

0:42:120:42:19

I'm after somewhere to perform for my choir of military wives.

0:42:190:42:23

Somewhere really central in Barnstaple. I think this would be a perfect venue.

0:42:230:42:27

-Yes. The acoustics are good in here.

-Perfect for sound.

0:42:270:42:31

Where would we do it?

0:42:310:42:32

-How about a space sort of like we have here?

-Yeah.

0:42:320:42:37

That's great. If I was...

0:42:370:42:38

If I had an audience there and I stood about here with them there...

0:42:380:42:42

Yeah. We could work out a different layout for you.

0:42:420:42:45

-You could gather over there.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-We could do that.

-That's really good.

0:42:450:42:49

-Thank you.

-Good.

-All right.

0:42:490:42:52

Back at Chivenor, communications with Afghanistan have been shut down,

0:42:560:43:01

which only happens when a soldier has been killed or seriously injured.

0:43:010:43:06

"I love you. We really miss you. We want you to come home. Lots of love."

0:43:090:43:16

Choir member Nicky has been expecting a call from husband George for more than two days.

0:43:160:43:22

PHONE RINGS

0:43:220:43:25

Hello. Had something happened? Is that what it...?

0:43:250:43:30

Something else obviously had happened. Yes, or no. Just say Yes or no.

0:43:300:43:34

Yeah. Oh, god.

0:43:360:43:39

You be careful. OK. Bye-bye.

0:43:390:43:44

He was OK.

0:43:450:43:46

That's all I want to know. It sounds really selfish and really horrible.

0:43:460:43:52

Every time I see it, it's like "He's OK, let's carry on now."

0:43:520:43:55

We've got to plod on.

0:43:550:43:58

It's always at the back of my mind. "Oh dear

0:43:580:44:01

"Who's the rest of the people that we need to think about now."

0:44:010:44:06

'Then you feel exhausted at the end of the day because you've got'

0:44:070:44:12

to do everything - and that worry at the back of your mind.

0:44:120:44:15

He'll be home soon, I hope.

0:44:170:44:19

It does get you.

0:44:190:44:22

Silly, isn't it?

0:44:220:44:25

I'm talking about it. It's mad.

0:44:250:44:28

Oh dear.

0:44:280:44:30

At his next rehearsal, Gareth wants to report back on his trip to Barnstaple.

0:44:350:44:40

I spoke to the good people of Barnstaple.

0:44:400:44:43

I went and asked them what they knew about you, about Chivenor, about how much

0:44:430:44:48

integration there is between the patch and the rest of the town.

0:44:480:44:53

And most of them just went, "There's a base, there's a helicopter".

0:44:530:44:59

LAUGHTER

0:44:590:45:01

"Do you know any of the women?" "No."

0:45:010:45:02

"Where are the men?" "Afghanistan?"

0:45:020:45:07

There was a real sense that they just didn't know you were here,

0:45:070:45:09

didn't know what was going on and I think one of the main

0:45:090:45:13

purposes of this choir is giving you a voice.

0:45:130:45:16

And I think that means speaking to the rest of the world so today

0:45:160:45:21

I want to announce you are going to perform at the Pannier Market.

0:45:210:45:25

LAUGHTER

0:45:250:45:28

Yes! It'll be awesome, won't it?

0:45:280:45:31

ALL: Yes!

0:45:310:45:33

It doesn't get more exciting and edgy than the Pannier Market.

0:45:330:45:37

I went there yesterday. They've got some massive pants on sale.

0:45:370:45:40

My goodness! When is it? Here's the rub. It's in two weeks.

0:45:400:45:47

CHATTER

0:45:470:45:52

This is the shortest rehearsal period I've ever done for anything,

0:45:520:45:56

but I've done it very deliberately because I want to get them on stream.

0:45:560:46:01

We haven't got months and months, so it means getting them in gear.

0:46:010:46:04

It's a jolt, a big shock.

0:46:040:46:07

The Pannier Market on a Thursday! Whoo!

0:46:070:46:10

Yeah, scary, very, very scary.

0:46:100:46:14

It will be something for the local people just to know

0:46:140:46:17

what's going on

0:46:170:46:19

'and to show that we do exist.'

0:46:190:46:22

For the Barnstaple performance,

0:46:260:46:29

Gareth has a chosen a song he hopes will draw out the women's emotions.

0:46:290:46:33

The next song is Adele, Make You Feel My Love.

0:46:330:46:37

Adele. There is a solo.

0:46:390:46:41

There's a solo in this piece and I would like to start to hear people.

0:46:410:46:45

If you are going to do the solo, you have to be prepared to stand

0:46:450:46:48

up in front of the group and sing it.

0:46:480:46:50

Because if you can't do it in front of the group then how are you

0:46:500:46:53

going to do it in front of an audience?

0:46:530:46:54

Who'd like to have a go at the solo? No?

0:46:540:46:58

CHATTER

0:46:580:47:02

-No.

-She's gone a very different colour, everyone. Sam? No?

0:47:020:47:06

Definitely not? Why not?

0:47:060:47:09

-I don't want to do it.

-Don't want to do it.

0:47:090:47:11

-Sure? End of?

-Yep.

0:47:110:47:13

OK. Right. Anyone else? Just give it a go.

0:47:130:47:18

Kelly.

0:47:180:47:20

# When the rain is blowing in your face

0:47:300:47:35

# And the whole world is on your case... #

0:47:350:47:40

Emma.

0:47:400:47:42

# I could offer you a warm embrace...

0:47:420:47:49

# To make you feel my love. #

0:47:490:47:53

Beth!

0:47:530:47:55

# I could offer you a warm embrace

0:47:550:47:59

-# To make you feel my love.

-#

0:47:590:48:04

Emma.

0:48:040:48:06

# I could offer you a warm embrace

0:48:060:48:11

# To make you feel my love. #

0:48:110:48:15

Nicky.

0:48:160:48:18

# And the whole world is on your case

0:48:180:48:24

# I could offer you a warm embrace

0:48:250:48:32

# To make you feel my love... #

0:48:320:48:36

Brilliant. # When the... #

0:48:360:48:38

That's it. Fantastic morning.

0:48:380:48:40

Round of applause to everyone, I think. APPLAUSE

0:48:400:48:42

With the solo auditions drawing to a close, Sam has a last minute change of heart.

0:48:420:48:47

It takes quite a lot to stand up,

0:48:470:48:50

do you want to just sing it for me now - once everyone's gone? Yeah?

0:48:500:48:54

That's different with one person.

0:48:540:48:57

OK, yeah, go on. Come on, let's do it.

0:48:570:49:00

Can we just hear Sam?

0:49:000:49:01

PIANO PLAYS

0:49:010:49:04

# When the rain is blowing in your face

0:49:040:49:10

# And the whole world is on your case...

0:49:100:49:16

# I could offer you a warm embrace

0:49:160:49:23

# To make you fee... # Oh, sorry. I'm crap, sorry.

0:49:230:49:27

-No, you're not. Do it again.

-No, I don't want to do it.

0:49:270:49:31

-It was crap.

-It wasn't crap.

-No, I can't do it.

-OK.

0:49:310:49:35

I hate how everyone looks. I feel so self-conscious.

0:49:350:49:37

-Everyone wants to support you.

-I know but I don't want people to.

0:49:370:49:41

Well done, well done.

0:49:410:49:43

It's people, like, they're still there and they're looking at you.

0:49:440:49:48

You think, "What are they thinking?"

0:49:480:49:50

Do they think you're rubbish or,

0:49:500:49:52

can they hear what I hear, which is absolute rubbish!

0:49:520:49:54

'I just didn't enjoy it.'

0:49:540:49:56

OK...tomorrow.

0:49:560:49:59

'It takes someone with real courage to be able to sing a moving song

0:49:590:50:02

'like that and show a bit of themselves.'

0:50:020:50:06

Sam failed to sing in front of everyone else.

0:50:060:50:09

She's super-nervous. Really under-confident, and under-confident in front of the rest

0:50:090:50:14

of the group which is a shame cos she's actually got a good voice.

0:50:140:50:18

I want it to be someone who can sing with heart, and guts. Because that's what the choir needs.

0:50:180:50:23

Over the last few days leading up to the Barnstaple performance,

0:50:250:50:30

Choir members themselves organise last minute get-togethers at each other's houses.

0:50:300:50:34

And even Sarah is starting to enjoy singing.

0:50:360:50:38

'I never for one moment thought I would ever sing in a choir.'

0:50:400:50:43

Choirs are stuffy old ladies singing strange songs and wearing odd

0:50:430:50:47

clothes, pulling these crazy faces while they're singing.

0:50:470:50:52

The thing I like most is the camaraderie between all the women.

0:50:520:50:56

We feel like sisters now, just helping each other out.

0:50:560:51:01

I think we're so keen to do it, we will really try our best.

0:51:010:51:05

We are standing together as a group of girls going,

0:51:050:51:08

"I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me."

0:51:080:51:11

We'll all get through this - together.

0:51:110:51:13

No, no, you've got to breathe and be ready.

0:51:160:51:19

# I know you haven't... #

0:51:190:51:21

'We've got to do it no matter what, so we can either go and make complete idiots of ourselves,'

0:51:210:51:26

or we can just go and belt it out and hope it sounds good.

0:51:260:51:29

Come on, you've got more than that! Good, that's getting there!

0:51:290:51:33

It's just days before the Barnstaple performance and

0:51:410:51:44

Gareth's finally made his decision over who will sing the solo.

0:51:440:51:48

It's good news. I'd like you to do a solo.

0:51:530:51:55

Oh, my goodness!

0:51:550:51:57

-Honestly?

-Yeah, honestly. Yeah.

0:51:570:51:59

Wow! I dunno if I'm ready for that this time of the morning.

0:51:590:52:05

I picked you because under pressure I think you'll be fine.

0:52:050:52:08

Some of the others, I think it's a bit too soon.

0:52:080:52:10

I think they might've crumbled but I don't think you're going to, are you?

0:52:100:52:14

No, nah, I promise you I won't.

0:52:140:52:18

'I just think it's brilliant.'

0:52:180:52:20

I'm so happy that he's chosen me.

0:52:200:52:23

I'll be singing it to George. He'll appreciate it.

0:52:230:52:27

It's D-Day for Gareth's choir.

0:52:290:52:32

-Hi!

-All right?

-You all right?

-Yes.

-Nervous?

-Yes!

0:52:390:52:44

-Your chariot awaits.

-Thank you.

0:52:440:52:46

'I really hope, for them, that they feel like they've become a choir.'

0:52:460:52:51

It's very different when you're in front of a public audience,

0:52:510:52:55

there's expectation, it's been advertised, it's a big moment.

0:52:550:52:59

I'm beginning to understand what giving these women a voice means.

0:53:020:53:06

Its' about singing to the outside world, about getting outside this military environment,

0:53:060:53:12

and being heard.

0:53:120:53:14

Follow me!

0:53:140:53:16

CHEERING Left, right, left, right.

0:53:160:53:18

'Up till now they've just supported their husbands stoically

0:53:180:53:21

'while they're away and I want them to be proud of who they are,

0:53:210:53:25

'proud of their singing, and sing to all those people out there.'

0:53:250:53:29

Ladies! Just sing your hearts out.

0:53:290:53:32

Use your faces. Really, wear your heart on your sleeve with this one.

0:53:320:53:37

We'll pick up the pieces later, OK? LAUGHTER

0:53:370:53:40

Thank you very much. Let's do it. CHEERING

0:53:400:53:43

More than 500 people have packed into the Pannier Market.

0:53:540:53:59

CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

0:53:590:54:04

Hello, Barnstaple!

0:54:100:54:12

AUDIENCE CHEERS

0:54:120:54:13

Ladies and gentlemen,

0:54:130:54:16

it gives me enormous pleasure to introduce to you,

0:54:160:54:20

The RMB Chivenor Military Wives' Choir.

0:54:200:54:23

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:54:230:54:27

I think it's worth you knowing that every single person

0:54:300:54:34

you're about to hear sing,

0:54:340:54:36

has a partner in the Forces.

0:54:360:54:38

Many of them at this moment are in Afghanistan,

0:54:380:54:41

they do have a very hard time and they are incredibly stoic.

0:54:410:54:45

They just get on with it.

0:54:450:54:47

In true British spirit, I think.

0:54:470:54:49

But here's a song I think shows you how much feeling there is.

0:54:490:54:53

This is a beautiful song by Bob Dylan, Make You Feel My Love.

0:54:530:54:57

# Ooh, ooh

0:55:030:55:06

# Ooh, ooh

0:55:060:55:12

# When the rain is falling in your face

0:55:120:55:19

# And the whole world is on your case

0:55:190:55:24

# I would offer you a warm embrace

0:55:240:55:31

# To make you feel my love

0:55:310:55:38

# Ahh, ahh

0:55:380:55:41

# When the evening shadows and the stars appear

0:55:410:55:46

# And there's no one there to dry your tears

0:55:460:55:50

# Ahh, ahh

0:55:500:55:53

# I could hold you for a million years

0:55:530:55:58

# To make you feel my lo-ove

0:55:580:56:04

# Though storms are raging on the rolling sea

0:56:040:56:11

# And on the highway of regrets

0:56:110:56:16

# Though winds of change are blowing wild and free

0:56:160:56:23

# You ain't seen nothing like me yet

0:56:230:56:29

# You ain't seen nothing like me

0:56:290:56:31

# I could make you happy, make your dreams come true

0:56:310:56:36

# Nothing that I wouldn't do

0:56:360:56:42

# Go to the ends of the Earth for you

0:56:420:56:49

# To make you feel my love

0:56:490:56:55

# To make you

0:56:550:56:59

# feel my love. #

0:56:590:57:04

APPLAUSE

0:57:040:57:08

It was so inspiring. I've come away and I feel really good now cos that was so lovely.

0:57:250:57:30

It brings it home when you see them singing like that.

0:57:300:57:33

What they actually go through, it's fantastic. It was a great sound they made as well.

0:57:330:57:37

To anybody that can get up and sing when their husbands are in danger,

0:57:370:57:41

I don't know how they do it.

0:57:410:57:42

Brilliant, well done!

0:57:420:57:45

Really good. So proud of you.

0:57:450:57:46

You really blossomed on stage today. Very, very well done.

0:57:460:57:50

Unbelievable.

0:57:500:57:52

That feeling... just couldn't control the emotion.

0:57:520:57:56

You just had to let it go.

0:57:560:57:58

'Oh, that was amazing. Really good.

0:57:580:58:00

'I really felt part of the choir this time.'

0:58:000:58:03

Surprisingly upbeat and as you can see, a big smile on the face.

0:58:030:58:06

'When I was on stage I definitely felt the confidence coming back.'

0:58:060:58:11

I think it was just the whole adrenaline rush. I didn't notice 500 plus people, or tried not to anyway.

0:58:110:58:17

So, yeah, so... I thought we were really good.

0:58:170:58:20

They're proud to be in the choir and that's the first step.

0:58:200:58:24

There's a real sense of purpose and mission about the whole thing.

0:58:240:58:27

It's great. You can see it in their eyes.

0:58:270:58:30

They sang with real fervour. It was great.

0:58:300:58:33

Next time...

0:58:330:58:35

A professional sound engineer is coming from British Forces Radio

0:58:350:58:39

and we are going to be played out to all of the troops in Afghanistan.

0:58:390:58:45

CHEERING AND WHOOPING

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It's completely appropriate to do that. And you're ready.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Choirmaster Gareth Malone believes singing can help people through the most difficult times of their lives. Armed with his keyboard, Gareth has been invited to RMB Chivenor military base in north Devon, where the troops are about to deploy for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

While the troops are away, Gareth hopes to start a choir with the wives and girlfriends left behind to help them through the worrying time.

Gareth soon discovers that living on an isolated estate on the edge of the military base has left the wives longing to have a voice to express the difficulty of their lives. But can he inspire his fledgling choir to have the confidence to sing in public?


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