No one disputes that the current desire to capture the tales of courage told by the lives of our military is both refreshing and necessary, a welcome change from what went down during the Viet Nam era. However, nearly as many volumes can be written about the heroism on the home front of military wives and/or husbands who hold down the fort while their spouse is overseas. Recently I saw a remarkable video that showed the “chops” of a choir composed of military wives that got such unlikely folks as shock jock Howard Stern on his feet cheering. The husbands of these women have served or are now serving in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, and some have come home horribly wounded.
The American Military Spouses Choir was formed for a number of reasons. The need for fellowship, family and support is no greater than when your spouse is deployed, and there are challenges that non- military people just don’t understand. “When you marry someone in the military, you automatically have to step up,” said one choir member. Her thought was finished by another who said, “…and let people help you.” “We are not just a choir, we are a sisterhood,” added a third.
Music is a powerful, inspiring, healing force, and the Choir is so good that they roared through an audition on America’s Got Talent by doing a rendition of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough that rivals any I have ever seen produced. The community they have formed is of every color, height, and weight, and the total choir of 100, (who were not all present for the audition,) includes the wives of several career officers who are clearly over 50. Their ability to raise morale, (their own as well as all who listen) has been proven “virally” on the Internet.
Their other purpose is to raise awareness of the power of music to help with PTSD sufferers and those with traumatic injuries, especially neurological. “It has been recently proven that the sooner we can get music back into the brains and ears of our soldiers who have been injured on the battle field, the sooner it gets neurons firing, so it heals the after effects of injuries,” said one of the wives as she talked about the group’s purpose.
Needless to say, after they musically “climbed the mountain,” the crowd went wild, they got 4 “yeses” from the judges, they rocked the house, and they are going on to Las Vegas for the final competition.
The American Military Spouses choir was formed last year, and is part of CAMMO, which stands for the Center for American Military Music Opportunities. CAMMO is implementing music therapy and art therapy for our wounded warriors, and they are getting impressive results. The benefits of these modalities include, but are not confined to, the fact that they are non-invasive and non-pharmacological, can be practiced alone or in groups, and are systemic, i.e., they can benefit the whole family.
To see the Choir’s audition, google in American Military Spouses Choir, and for more information on booking the choir, as well as CAMMO’s purpose and how to help, go to www.cammomusic.org.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner