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La Scie native part of Military Wives Choir singing at Invictus Games

Members of the 14 Wing Greenwood Military Wives Choir are a small part of the about 200 wives who will perform at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games.
Members of the 14 Wing Greenwood Military Wives Choir are a small part of the about 200 wives who will perform at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games.

GREENWOOD, N.S. — Rita Yade always considered herself a bit of a black sheep as part of a musical family from La Scie.  

So being centre stage for the world to hear her sing was never on the radar.

A member of the Clance family, Yade was surrounded by relatives with innate musical talents. She had accepted her fate as one who didn’t share that particular skill.

Rita Yade, originally from La Scie, is part of the Canadian Military Wives Choir that will sing at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto.

Yade left the Baie Verte Peninsula in her 20s and joined the military for a short period of time. The stint was long enough to meet her now-husband and long-time military man Richard Yade. They have been stationed together throughout the country, even spending time in Gander in 1994 and 1995, where they had their first of two sons.

Maneuvering the country is a well-known struggle for military families. Separating from friends and moving to unfamiliar places with strange faces is something Yade admits has been a struggle for her.

When they moved to Greenwood about three years ago, it was the same thing over again. However, at the 14 Wing air force base she discovered the Canadian Military Wives Choir.
For the first time since elementary school in Brent’s Cove, she joined a choir.

“I thought I would go try and if I didn’t like it in a couple of months, I would quit,” Yade said.

The choir was a life-changing experience for her. She is now involved in just about every aspect of the choir, including treasurer.

“I love it because it is not only about singing,” she said. “We all know what these ladies go through. Some nights you just talk to someone going through a hard time, their spouse has been posted in Kuwait or over on tour. We are there as a support.”

The life-changing experiences continue for Yade. About 200 members of the Canadian Military Wives Choir from across the country have been invited to sing at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto this week.

The Games — which began in 2014 and are being hosted in Canada for the first time this year — are meant to inspire recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, injured and sick military men and women around the world through sport, while increasing public awareness of their struggles.

Yade herself began running a while ago, and plans to run a half-marathon in the fall.
Sometimes she struggles with her training, but her husband reminds her of these wounded soldiers to provide inspiration. She expects this experience will fuel that motivation.

“It is going to be so powerful when you see those soldiers come out,” she said.

Prince Harry is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation. The women are hoping for a chance to see or even meet the prince during the games taking place from Sept. 23-30, Yade said with a sheepish laugh.

However, with such a strong military background — her grandfather William Tobin of Fleur-de-Lys served at Beaumont Hamel —she understands the reason they are there.

“Yes, we are all excited because we get to be famous a little bit for a day, but that is not what it is about,” she said. “It’s about seeing those soldiers, giving back, and seeing their families and to thank them for their support.
“Just to see them all together, and see what they have overcome, will be amazing.”

She said the wives in the choir feel this is a great way to give back to the soldiers, but she also hopes it spreads a little awareness of what families of soldiers go through.

“It is amazing because people are starting to recognize us now that we are in this choir and the name is getting known,” Yade said. “No, we are not in the uniform, but we are just as important.”  

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