Wives join forces with military chart-toppers

Front in black is Stefanie Read, a professional opera singer and group founder, right, Kim Martin with members of the choir and their children
Front in black is Stefanie Read, a professional opera singer and group founder, right, Kim Martin with members of the choir and their children
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DAYS after launching her own military wives choir, 27-year-old Kim Martin was faced with a daunting task.

Her group had been spotted by TV choirmaster Gareth Malone and he wanted them to sing on an upcoming album – with only two weeks to rehearse.

Now the military wives of Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport are celebrating their hard work with the launch of the album next month.

Gareth Malone, who led his own group of military wives to chart-topping success last year, spotted a story in The News about Portsmouth’s choir and called Kim to offer his support.

Days later, the ladies were invited to sing on a track for an album by the original choir, who seized the Christmas number one spot.

Kim, of Robinson Road, Fareham, said: ‘It was a lovely surprise. After the article about us in The News I had lots of calls from ladies wanting to join our choir.

‘So when a man called up I was confused.

‘Then he said he was Gareth Malone! I couldn’t believe it. He wanted to know about the choir and the things we were doing.’

The group was barely a few weeks old when suddenly faced with the task of recording the track and had only two weeks to rehearse.

Record producers set up a temporary studio at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, where the choir practices, in January to record the ladies singing Up Where We Belong from the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman.

Kim added: ‘It was hard work but it was well worth it.

‘We put on extra rehearsals and I had ladies in my house every single day.

‘Of course at the same time we had to keep it all top secret.

‘I’m so proud of them for everything they have done. It is a real achievement.

‘We heard a preview of the song this week and I’m not normally an outwardly emotional person but I was in floods of tears.’

The Portsmouth choir now has 65 singing members.

The album is out on March 5 and can be pre-ordered now.

A donation of £1 from every album sold at full price will go to a charity foundation for Military Wives Choirs.