THE SPITFIRES CHOIR
The Royal Air Force Voluntary Choir, ‘The Spitfires’ was established in 2009 by Flight Lieutenant Harriet Tadikonda and is now run by a Committee of devoted volunteers of both serving members of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and MOD Civil Servants.
With former Prime Minister Sir John Major as its Patron, the Choir was subsequently adopted by the RAF Charitable Trust in January 2011.
The Choir Members are a mix of MOD Civil Servants, RAF Personnel and Retired Officers, Airmen and Airwomen. The Military Personnel range from the rank of Senior Aircraftsman to Air Commodore and carry out roles from Technicians and Engineers to Personnel Support Officers and Padres. Our extremely dedicated Musical Director, Nigel Hayward has been with the Choir from its inception. He was formerly a Choir Director at Wells Cathedral School and has continued to use his influence and talent to encourage the Choir. The Choir has around 30 Members, although not all Members can always attend an event due to work commitments or being sent on detachment. The Members come from across Europe and travel from all over the UK to attend the monthly rehearsals and events throughout the year.
Following the Spitfires inaugural concert in October 2010, held at St Clement Danes in London, the Choir has sung at a variety of Concerts, both open to the public and closed military events. These events included the ‘Goodwood Revival’, the Royal International Air Tattoo, Christmas Carols at Westminster Hall and a Carol Concert in support of SAFFA in the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire an event was held at Chartwell House, the home of Churchill, alongside the RAF Central Band for a ‘Musical Salute to the RAF’. Additionally, the Choir performed for the unveiling of the National Memorial to Canadian Air Forces, by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The Choir was also involved in a number of Jubilee celebrations for HM the Queen, joining The Glen Singers Choir (West Yorkshire) and the Wessex Concert Orchestra at RAF Cosford. They performed patriotic and rousing tunes such as ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ and ‘Jerusalem’, as well as 1940’s classics, ending the night with the audience singing along to ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
As an RAF Voluntary Choir, the dedication of the new Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park was an event the Choir was eager to support. The Choir was invited to perform in the Bomber Command Salute, which was a day of music and celebration for around 7000 veterans of the Second World War and was headed by Carol Vorderman and included headline acts such as Blake and Jane McDonald. A hugely emotive performance, raising veterans and their families from their seats with wartime classics including ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square’; it was an enormous privilege to be included in such an important day in memory of ‘The Few’. The events are hugely varied but all have one similarity: a love for music, which will move an audience. The Choir’s eclectic repertoire allows performances for most occasions, including hits from the 1980s, the 1940s and the 1600s.
The Spitfires feel very privileged to have been supported by the RAF Charitable Trust. The RAF Charitable Trust is the youngest of the RAF Charities having formed in 2005. As a result of their investment it has allowed the Choir to own its specially designed regalia and attend events all over the UK. The Little Princess Trust is also a Charity that we as a Choir support. The Charity provides real hair wigs to children suffering hair loss due to cancer treatment. As a Choir, we ensure that at every event we raise as much awareness about this Charity as possible and try to raise money where we can.
The Choir is very honoured to have been invited to perform alongside the RAF Waddington Voluntary Band, on 20 April 2013 at Lincoln Cathedral, in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Dambuster Raids. If you would like to find out more about the concert please visit the Cathedral website on http://lincolncathedral.com/events/raf-concert/ to book tickets. If you would like to learn more about the Choir, then please visit our website at http://www.rafspitfireschoir.org.uk/