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Singing at Invictus Games inspiring for La Scie native

Rita Yade poses for a picture in Toronto, where she was one of the members of the Canadian Military Wives Choir that sang at the opening ceremonies for the Invictus Games.
Rita Yade poses for a picture in Toronto, where she was one of the members of the Canadian Military Wives Choir that sang at the opening ceremonies for the Invictus Games.

GREENWOOD, N.S. — Rita Yade had been looking forward to singing at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games for quite some time, but nothing prepared her for the uplifting and emotional experience of being part of it all.  

A member of the 14 Wing Greenwood Military Wives Choir, she was part of the Canadian Military Wives Choir — neatly 200 women from across the country — that sang with Laura Wright on opening night in Toronto last week.

“I know this was all about the soldiers, but to be there and perform for them and see what they have gone through with their determination to not stop living just shows the kind of soldiers they are. It was so inspiring,” Yade said via telephone back home in Greenwood.

“To see these soldiers from all over the world with different disabilities, but they didn’t give up.”

The La Scie native – wife of long-time military man Richard Yade — joined the Greenwood choir last year. Given the opportunity to perform “Invincible” with Wright at the opening ceremonies while the Invictus flag was being raised, she knew the event would be special.

Rita Yade poses for a picture prior to singing at the Invictus Games as part of the Canadian Military Wives Choir.

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 is training to run a half marathon in the fall, and she has struggled at times to meet the necessary training regime. She hoped the experience would serve as motivation, and immediately after, she believes it did.

“I feel like I can do anything,” she said.

“… What do we have to complain about? We are so fortunate. To see the strength these soldiers have given themselves. That is what touched me.

“It was powerful. When they marched in, with the smiles on their faces, it was powerful.”

There was one other thing Yade hoped the event would fulfill — bringing awareness to the Canadian Military Wives Choir. She believes the attention the choir received from the crowds in attendance and media across the country will do just that.
Bringing recognition to the role the families of military personnel play is important, she said.

The ladies out of Greenwood — which also included Dunville, NL native Sandra Manning-Logan — were treated like royalty, according to Yade. Although a little disappointed they didn’t get a chance to meet Prince Harry, patron of the Invictus Games, they did see him and were proud to sing for him, she said.

Other highlights of the trip included meeting the other nearly 200 members of the choir, signing and rehearsing with them and Wright, having singer Sarah McLachlan speak to them and praise their performance, going to the CN Tower and a Toronto Blue Jays game, the dinners and other special events, special seating to watch the remainder of the opening ceremonies, and a special opportunity to sing for the soldiers at the athletes’ village.

“It’s hard being an artist,” she said with a laugh, referring to the busy schedule.

However, it was back to work Monday in Greenwood, thinking the only disappointing thing was that the experience went by too fast.

She would have liked to have watched the week-long Games, but would settle for watching them on television. A little grounded perhaps, the stardom beginning to pass, but the memories expected to last forever.

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