Wales

The Choir: Military Wives - Nicky Scott's musical journey

  • 19 December 2011
  • From the section Wales

It is not every day an Army wife meets the prime minister.

But for Nicky Scott, and the women from BBC Two's The Choir: Military Wives, it was perhaps hard to tell who was getting the most from it.

The 100 wives and girlfriends of servicemen in Afghanistan were brought together for the TV series under the wing of choirmaster Gareth Malone.

Now their single Wherever You Are, which is released on Monday, is set for an all-female battle with ITV's X Factor winners Little Mix, who are already in pole position, to become the Christmas chart-topper.

But behind the festive season chart rivalry is a story rooted firmly in the reality facing families left behind when service personnel are posted overseas.

Staff sergeant

Media captionSingers Sam Stevenson and Isobel Morgan join Gareth Malone to talk about the story behind 'Wherever You Are'

The Choir: Military Wives has already captured the public imagination, with a whirlwind of appearances.

But the women have not let the clamour and glamour of their rise to fame go to their heads, if Gwynedd-born Mrs Scott is anything to go by.

She is a former servicewoman who signed up for 22 years in the army, rising to the rank of staff sergeant and serving in Kosovo.

She left in 2008 after 11 years' service to focus on supporting her husband, Regimental Quartermaster Sgt George Scott, 44, and their two young daughters.

That is how the 43-year-old was at the Chivenor army base when Malone came recruiting.

Bryn Terfel

What the two found as they worked together was the connection they shared: Wales and its musical culture.

Malone has spoken proudly of his Welsh grandmother and the influence this had on his musical heritage.

He picked Mrs Scott, who sang as a child at eisteddfodau - the traditional Welsh-language cultural festivals - to sing solo at the choir's first public performance, in Barnstaple, Devon.

She said: "This is where his Welsh bit comes through. He does have his Welsh roots and he always acknowledges them. Even though his parents are born and bred in England, there is that connection.

"He likes a mix of people from all the corners of the UK. The soloist is from Inverness. There's me from north Wales. He's quite taken that I'm from Talysarn in Dyffryn Nantlle.

"He knows [the opera singer] Bryn Terfel quite well. Bryn Terfel was a year older than me in school." [Mrs Scott and Terfel both went to Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, near Caernarfon]

'Shaking our hands'

Mrs Scott would be happy if their single charts in the Top 10 but would obviously like it to claim Number one.

"I don't think we realised how much we are appreciated until this happened.

Image caption Nicky Scott was in the Army when she met husband George in Germany

"People can't see the soldiers as often because of the security, they don't get to say thank you to the soldiers in uniform.

"We've had people just shaking our hands.

"We thought we were not important before. Now we realise we are. Somebody has to look after the children and keep the home going while the men are deployed.

"We are a lucky bunch of women. We are the face of the military wives. We're hoping that we've done a good job.

"All we've done for the past eight months is crying. It has released a lot of stress."

One of those lining up to shake their hands was the prime minister when he invited the choir in to perform.

Mrs Scott said: "I signed a card in Downing Street. The person before who had signed the card was David Cameron."

Secret location

The military man whose card it was told Mrs Scott it was for his wife.

She said: "He said 'my wife will be more interested that you have signed it'."

Whatever happens, the story is not over yet for the military wives' choir.

Coinciding with the single's release, the women are to perform at a venue whose location is a well-kept secret.

Former army staff sergeant Scott knows where it is, of course. But for the moment she is keeping mum.

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