Islander leads Military Wives choir

By Martin Neville

Sunday, November 18, 2012

 

Islander leads Military Wives choir

Miriam Walker conducting the West of Scotland Military Wives Choir.

AN Isle of Wight conductor is at the forefront of a global army of music-makers.

Miriam Walker, who grew up in Ventnor, is musical director of the West of Scotland Military Wives Choir, which recently recorded two tracks on this year’s Military Wives album, Stronger Together.

Miriam, who has played the French horn with some of the world’s best known orchestras, signed up to the choir shortly after its formation in March.

Since then, they have performed at many high-profile events, including in front of 40,000 people at the Scottish Highland Games and at the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal in Scotland.

Miriam, 28, said: "When I started it had 15 members, now we have 64 members and there is a growing waiting list.

"Most of the ladies’ husbands are in the submarine service and, as a military wife myself, I have a natural empathy for all the women."

Miriam, who went to Ryde School and Priory School, played in the IW Youth Concert Band, IW Youth Symphony Orchestra and IW Symphony Orchestra.

She trained at London’s Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Before joining the choir, which is based in Helensburgh, near the naval base Faslane, she developed major community music and vocal projects in London and across Europe, with particular focus on children with special educational needs.

Her husband, Lt Mark Walker, is deployed as tactical, analytical and systems officer on HMS Vanguard and will be away for Christmas but back in time for the birth of the couple’s second child next year.

Miriam said: "Like many choirs, our members’ lives are brightened and enriched by being part of such a fantastic group of women.

"We are all there to build our confidence, have fun, and support each other through the good times and the bad.

"Our performances can get emotional and we have a natural rapport, which really comes across to our audiences."

Miriam said she was looking forward to spending Christmas on the Island with her mum, Barbara Wells, of Shanklin, and sisters Hannah Brear, who directs the Medina Community Choir, and Rachel Small-wood, a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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