“Seeing a nervous new choir member participate and come out of their shell is incredibly rewarding.”
Having grown up in an Armed Forces family and as military wife, Caroline Rawlins understands the challenges many of our wounded heroes and their families experience.
In her role leading our Help for Heroes Choir, she helps to make these challenges a little easier through the power of singing.
“Through my involvement with the Military Wives Choir I experienced, first-hand, the positive effects of group singing, particularly within the Armed Forces community,” explains Caroline.
So, when this year’s pandemic put a temporary hold on our choir meeting face-to-face, Caroline knew just how important it was to keep rehearsals going.
“Within a week we’d found an online platform, tested it and started holding virtual rehearsals instead,” she says.
Now more than ever, the spirit of togetherness and camaraderie the choir brings to its members is important. The winter months – and the run up to Christmas especially - can be a difficult time for many of our wounded heroes with issues such as isolation, low mood and anxiety all heightened.
“Christmas can be challenging for those with no family or difficult personal circumstances, and some veterans are unable to get out and about due to the darker nights,” explains Caroline.
“The choir rehearsals lift spirts, improve wellbeing and leave members feeling energised. Many even say they sleep better after rehearsals because of the breathing exercises we do,” she adds.
For Caroline, a personal highlight is seeing the confidence the choir gifts to its members.
“Seeing a nervous new choir member participate and come out of their shell is incredibly rewarding,” she says.
The choir members are divided into small groups, who rehearse regularly, then come together once a month for a mass rehearsal where everyone sings together.
“As we learn a song, the groups weave their sections together vocally and form something bigger and better - together. Everyone who joins a group is also supported by a buddy,” Caroline explains.
“Our members really support each other and are there to celebrate the good times and help each other through the bad times, together.”
Together, we can keep our promise to be here for wounded veterans and their families