Feature: Lossiemouth wives choir’s ‘Amazing’ date with Lulu

Lossiemouth choir after their performance with Lulu
Lossiemouth choir after their performance with Lulu

THE MOST AMAZING experience of a lifetime – that was the verdict from the members of the RAF Lossiemouth Military Wives Choir after their appearance with Lulu in Aberdeen this week.

Weeks of rehearsing finally ended when the ladies took to the stage at His Majesty’s Theatre to back the Glasgow-born international star.

The RAF Lossiemouth choir was invited to appear as support for her song ‘Cry’ – a recording that was penned by Lulu and her brother as a tribute to all Military personnel, with proceeds from its sale going to the Military Wives Choir Foundation.

All members of the Choir were nervous – but that soon evaporated when they started to sing, and brought the roof down with a standing ovation from the north east audience.

The choir – Victoria Moffat, Karen Walters, Tami Herrett, Kelly Allen, Sue Chadderton, Mandy Goddard, Julie Andrews, Hazel Mathieson, Debbie Kelly, Rebecca Izon and Kim Morgan – have spent the days since simply coming back down to earth – but they each found time to tell insideMoray readers about their once in a lifetime experience.

Victoria Moffat (Choir events coordinator)

Monday, March 1 started off with a quick meet up and rehearsal before our two-hour bus journey to Aberdeen.

We arrived at the Theatre and our dressing room – and I outdo myself by walking out the room, swing the door open – and there was Lulu and entourage taking me completely by surprise on the other side!

I think we stood looking at each other for a couple of seconds – me in complete star-struck shock and her in disbelief, I had just swung the door out so dramatically. I got myself together and remembered I was there as her guest and not a fan, so forced out a squeaky ‘Hello’ for her to smile and say Hello back – and walk off, leaving me standing open-mouthed thinking ‘Oh my god, that was Lulu’.

First up we had sound checks – we met the band and ran through the song, that went well so we only needed to go through it the once then back to dressing rooms for something to eat, drink and chill out.

Then it was time. We had four flights of stairs to walk up and with every step I cannot explain how I felt – it was like I was going to wake up any minute and this will all have been a dream.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

At the side of the stage I’m scared to death – I could literally hear my heart in my throat – then it arrived, Lulu saying please welcome on stage the Military Wives Choir – and we walk out.

What I notice with all the lights just how warm and bright they are – I can’t see a thing beyond Lulu, but she talks to the audience a wee bit then the song starts. I take a very deep breath – and find singing our bits was easier than I thought, but I had listened to the single so many times for learning the song I was convinced I would forget my part and start singing along with Lulu!

Surprisingly, with the band and lulu and the music you physically cannot hear each other – so it is a case of ‘trust in yourself’ that you are in tune with the band, which I did find actually quite easy. Not bragging – I just had the guitarist straight in front and the drummer behind and luckily enough speakers very close, so although it was so loud it was also easy to keep in beat and in tune.

Then it was done, we had finished and Lulu thanked us – then I heard her say get those lights up now, these ladies need to see this. At that the room lit up and all I could see was a sea of people downstairs, on three balconies – all full of people who just stood up and gave us a wonderful standing ovation.

That was one of the most humbling things I have ever witnessed, very emotional – here we were on stage for a good while just looking an listening to clapping and whistling, I cried, it was just so surreal – little me from Lossiemouth who grew up in Moray, with my best mates from choir and we were actually receiving a standing ovation stood behind Lulu after singing the backing on her song.

We all got cuddles from the star and I was surprised by just how tiny and so dainty she is – but for her age (67) she looks fantastic and can dance round a stage quicker and better than I could.

We watched the rest of the show then when we collected our belongings Lulu was signing autographs and chatting, so we managed to get an autograph. It was then back to the bus and a celebratory champagne for the journey home, had to be done, it’s what stars do don’t they!

Memories of a wonderful night
Memories of a wonderful night

Vicky Richmond

Being in the military wives choir has given me the opportunity to do something for me and to be able to support Lulu on stage was an experience I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the choir.

Each day I am a Mum and a wife and my role is to keep ‘normal’ life going, whether my husband is around or not.

To get a standing ovation from the audience at the concert reduced me to tears as I realised that what I do on a daily basis is noticed and appreciated, that the sacrifices we make as a family are noticed by the public. It was a humbling experience and one I won’t forget.

Karen Walters

Working with a group of fabulous women and watching them grow in confidence and perform with Lulu and get a standing ovation has been a wonderful experience.

Rebecca Izon

For me, the experience with Lulu put the true meaning and reasoning for why I joined the Military Wives Choir.

To stand on stage amongst a group of women from all walks of life, all different backgrounds yet all in similar circumstances – and to all come together for one night was what made it so emotional for me.

Of course to perform live with such a huge icon was a massive achievement and incredible experience, but for me, standing side by side by all of the ladies was the true honour. It hit home during the standing ovation, the realisation of what we all endure in our lives, put up with and take as normal.

The choir gives us hope, happiness, friendship, support and is very much needed in our day to day military lives when far away from home, family and life friends. I love the support and opportunities it gives us.

The best decision I ever made was joining back in June 2015 as it’s helped me more ways than most would know.

Debbie Kelly

Loved every minute of it. Truly amazing to think that the public have taken the Military Wives Choir and all it stands for to their hearts. To be part of that makes me very proud.

Mandy Goddard

It was great lulu was nice and the guys were very friendly and helpful. Once in a lifetime thing to do and with the best wives!
Julie Andrews

I thought it a fantastic opportunity for us all, a once in a lifetime event. Lulu was a lovely down to earth person as were her whole band.

Overwhelming for me, first time on a stage so when the lights went up and I saw the standing ovation I could not stop the tears! Loved the fact Lulu then gave me a hug later in the green room – such a legend! Will never forget this, ever.

Hazel Mathieson

Very overwhelming to think that outside the military bubble people support us and our husbands. I’m still buzzing.

Delighted to have such an experience and memories forever, but really struggling to put it into words.

Kelly Allen

For me personally it was a huge, huge step to be in public, it gave me an opportunity to be me – and it challenged my mental health, but for the better.

It was a once in a lifetime thing to be involved in – of course the standing ovation we received made me realise I was capable of more than I thought, it made me realise I was more.

Sue Chadderton

It was such a fantastic opportunity for a choir that was only formed in June Last year, for some experiencing backstage life for the first time.

Live performing with live band and all compounded by singing with such a huge iconic figure in the music industry as Lulu. Very emotional to receive a standing ovation, and great to bring Military Wives Choirs together

Kim Morgan

Standing ovation really got me – I loved it, Lulu is so down to earth easy to talk to the whole experience was one I am never going to forget. I would do it again tomorrow if I could.

Tami Harrett

It was lovely, I especially loved the standing ovation and the appreciation from members of the audience after the show towards the armed forces.

Lulu was such a wonderful lady and so down to earth and funny too.