Choir concert hits the right note

Dishforth Military Wives Choir with  accompanist Malcolm Maddock.
Dishforth Military Wives Choir with accompanist Malcolm Maddock.

Dishforth Military 
Wives Choir, Concert in ponteland

Hundreds of people in Ponteland enjoyed a high-quality and emotional performance from the Dishforth Military Wives Choir.

As the singers introduced themselves at the concert in the Memorial Hall, the bonds of emotion and support were clearly shown as this choir – made up of wives, girlfriends, daughters and military mothers – is a great source of strength to them.

The event was arranged by the Pont Charity Group and was dedicated to the 40 men with local connections who died in the Great War.

The funds raised were for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families’ Association (SSAFA) Forces Help, the organisation looking after the needs of current and ex-service families.

The choir, which was formed two years ago, sang one of the songs Gareth Malone wrote for Military Wives (I only want to be with you) and songs which are strong anthems for these brave women, who endure long periods without their men.

There were also songs from the First World War and a Vera Lynn medley from the Second World War, which the appreciative 300-strong audience joined in singing.

Members said goodbye to two of the ladies, who were moving elsewhere, and fittingly, they had a chance to sing solos and introduce songs during the concert.

All those singing on the night wore a blue flower on their smart black evening dresses, which is the colour for the Army Air Corp. Each one was hand-made by singer Ellen Cunningham.

The choir’s music director, Ruth Sladden, said: “We were thrilled to have sung to such an enthusiastic and welcoming audience.

“It was fantastic when all 300 audience members sang along with our World War I medley and then with the Vera Lynn favourites and even ABBA in the second half. There was much waving of flags.

“After weeks of rehearsal, it was super to come and sing in Ponteland for SSAFA Forces Help, a cause close to our hearts. We hope to be invited back to the area sometime soon.”

The introductions were made by vicar and Northumberland land owner Robert Parker, who offered two cut-price stays at his Doxford Hall venue to anyone in the audience to be the first to sign up.

Ian Williams fronted the evening on behalf of Bruce Grant and his very successful Pont Charity Group.

Barclays Bank matched money from the raffle, bringing the total for that to £900. Ticket sales brought in £1,500.

A sum of £150 was donated to the Military Wives, with the rest of the monies going to SAAFA Forces Help.