Plymouth's Military Wives Choir to return with live show - after 59 Zoom rehearsals

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report

After 59 online rehearsals where they had to sing on mute, the Plymouth Military Wives Choir is about to take to the stage for a special concert to celebrate its 11th birthday.

This sisterhood created to keep military women together and supported while their husbands and partners were away at war came into its own in the pandemic.

For members like Kirsty-Ann Johnstone, who was diagnosed in lockdown with an illness which has affected her speech and balance amongst many other things, being part of this choir has been a lifesaver.

Kirsty-Ann Johnstone Credit: ITV Westcountry

Kirsty-Ann told ITV News West Country she 'lost everything', including her job and independence.

"This is the one thing that I'm able to keep," she added, speaking about the quire.

"They understand and really supported me. That's what it means. Not just the singing and a concert - they're my family down here."

Throughout lockdown the choir kept up their rehearsals - from a distance 59 zoom meetings - singing on mute.

Rob Young Credit: ITV Westcountry

The musical director Rob Young said: "Since we've come back after all that horrendous Covid two years, it's just reminded them really what the choir is and what it does for them.

"Having each other to sing and to have something to work towards is just really great - they get the joy of actually singing as a group again with each other, and seeing their friends again live.

"It really means a huge amount but I think even more so having missed it for so long."

Their choir's concert on June 10 will support St Luke's Hospice, where one of its members Giselle works.

Giselle Fitzsimmons Credit: ITV Westcountry

Giselle Fitzsimmons said the job is rewarding but "really tough".

"You really need to be able to let off steam," she added. "I've been in the choir for 10 years - to be able to come to choir and just sing and let all it out, it's like free therapy.

"It's amazing because they're all my choir sisters here. We absolutely love and support each other and they are amazing."

That concert is at Plymouth Guildhall on June 10.