The Military Wives Choir was put together by popular TV choirmaster Gareth Malone in 2010 for the BBC2 series, The Choir, Military Wives and comprises women whose husbands and partners are on active service overseas with the UK armed forces. This is their first single, which was released on December 19 2011, with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion and SSAFA Forces Help.
The lyrics are based on segments of letters exchanged between the military personnel and their families. Welsh composer Paul Mealor, whose motets, songs and cycles are performed around the world, composed the music. His motet, "Ubi Caritas et Amor," was performed at Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding at Westminster Abbey.
The Military Wives Choir debuted at #1 on Christmas Day selling 556,000 copies in its debut week, which was more than the rest of the top 12 of the UK singles chart combined. It was the highest single week sale for any single since Alexandra Burke sold 576,000 copies of "Hallelujah
" over Christmas 2008.
The song raised more than £500,000 for charity. Seven weeks after its release, The Military Wives Choir presented a cheque for £503,985 to the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.
The song won Single of the Year at the 2012 Classic Brit awards. It was the first tune to be nominated for Best British Single in both the 2012 pop music and classical music BRITs.