Albert Hall Proms date for 'war choir'

Four members of the RAF Brize Norton choir, from left, Emmeline Maline, Marie Lornie, Claire Wilkinson and Katrina Strathearn. Picture: OX68911 Andrew Walmsley

Buy this photo Four members of the RAF Brize Norton choir, from left, Emmeline Maline, Marie Lornie, Claire Wilkinson and Katrina Strathearn. Picture: OX68911 Andrew Walmsley

First published in News

WHEN servicemen fly off to battle, singing with friends helps their wives get through a worrying time.

Now nine members from two of Oxfordshire’s Military Wives Choirs will perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC’s annual Proms series to mark the First World War centenary.

The women – from RAF Brize Norton and RAF Benson – will be part of a 100-strong national choir that will perform the War Horse musical in front of 6,000 people tomorrow.

It will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and forms part of a BBC2 documentary to be screened in November to mark Remembrance Day.

Marie Lornie, 35, whose 34-year-old husband Corporal Stephen Lornie is a RAF Brize Norton policeman, said: “When you’re miserable and your husband is away in Afghanistan you have a place where your friends actually understand how you feel.

“It’s like a second family and a crutch for when you’re having a really tough time.”

There are 75 Military Wives Choirs, including about 2,500 women, across the country and 42 choirs will be represented at the concert, directed by TV choirmaster Gareth Malone.

Six women from the 40-strong RAF Brize Norton choir and three women from the RAF Benson choir, which has 44 members, were chosen for the hour-and-a-half long production, which sold out in two hours.

Carterton resident Mrs Lornie, a student nurse at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We will be singing what the women used to sing in the factories during the war.’’ RAF Benson choir member Joanna Hoskin, 32, said: “I still can’t quite believe I am involved and I’m totally overwhelmed.’’ The concert will be broadcast from 4.30pm.

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