Last week I received some life changing news. I am happy to tell you, the news is good news. :) In fact, the news is great news.
In a somewhat random and spontaneous 48 hours, I was told the executive producer and artistic director of the internationally renowned adult choir, The Australian Voices, were coming to my town to promote their current touring show, "Moon". After meeting with these amazing men to discuss the involvement of local singers in the opening number of the show, they informed me that they are also recruiting new members to join the choir. They asked if I would like to audition. I knew very little about them. I went home, logged on to their website, and did some research. I was inspired.
One of the main purposes of this choir is to commission Australian composers to write music for the choir, music about things which are iconic to our country. Then, they tour the country and the world singing this music. It's contemporary, it's unique, it's very complex at times, and very very beautiful. And it seems that while they do sing some more traditional, classical music, a lot of their contemporary pieces are very theatrical, incorporating elements of theatre such as lighting, projections, and costuming. Wow. I wanted to be part of it.
I spoke to Stuart. I spoke to my extended family. I had the full support of everyone. So, I went back to the theatre that afternoon, and I auditioned. It was gruelling. I had to sight sing a very difficult, chromatic passage the director had written on the whiteboard, having never heard the passage played. On my second attempt I sang it correctly! I also had to sing some difficult intervals, and in my best "choral voice" - no colour, no vibrato please - I was asked to sing our National Anthem. It was intense. I loved every minute. :)
They told me clearly that they still had a week of touring/promoting/auditioning to do, and very limited places to offer. I wouldn't hear anything for a week at least.
The very next morning I opened my email inbox and there was an email from the producer. The title of the email was "Welcome to The Australian Voices". I could barely breathe and I sat there for a full minute before opening the email! But it was true, my audition was successful and they were offering me a place in the choir!!! :-D I was (and am still) absolutely shocked!
I am so very very grateful for the incredible support my family and friends have shown me at this time. I have negotiated with the director of the choir regarding my availability for the remainder of 2011 (and negotiations will continue into 2012). He has been helpful and very flexible, understanding that I live 3 hours from the city (where the choir is based) and have very young children. My job now is to learn all my parts by myself, from home - no easy task I can assure you! The music is beautiful but a challenge to learn and to sing. I will be singing 2nd Soprano, which was my part when I sang in the Queensland Youth Choir for 7 years as a teenager. This whole process is bringing back fond memories of that time!
As for international travel, well I considered myself ineligible for that. However upon further investigation, and financial consideration, it seems I may actually be touring with the choir this year to Europe. Europe!!! And here I was thinking I wouldn't get overseas until I was in my 60's! Yes, they - sorry, we - are touring through Germany and France this November/December. The choir covers the cost of all travel and accommodation once in Europe. I will need to pay for my flights from and back to Australia, but if the tour is financially successful, the choir will reimburse members for flights also. The tour is for 3 weeks, but as my brother is getting married on December 10th I will only be going for the first 2 weeks. May I admit I'm grateful for that? 3 weeks away from my children would just be too long. In fact 2 weeks will be very very hard.
I'm going to have to fill my suitcase with photos of them! :( And already I'm planning to make a CD for them, with a spoken "letter" for them to listen to from me each day. And a half hour or so of me singing the sleepy songs I sing to them each night at bedtime. Hopefully this and a few other little things will help the time of separation which will be very different for us. My wonderful parents are going to help Stuart out with the care of the children - and thankfully, the 2nd week I'll be away is the first week of their summer holidays. Then I'll be home and we will be having a big family wedding and holiday time!
And I will have had my first experience of Europe. Singing. Music, travel, adventure.
God is so profoundly good, and surprising! Why he has considered me worthy and free to go and do this, I do not know. But I do know that before and after I auditioned I prayed over the decision - that it would be his alone. Honestly, this was not planned (at least not by me :)) so I didn't mind either way. He has allowed this. It feels like a beautiful gift and I'm blown away by the musical opportunities this choir will provide for me, whilst still allowing me live here in the country town where my children - and Stuart - are so settled and happy. To have all those big city opportunities without actually having to move truly is an answer to prayer.
Those of you who know me will understand that this is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone! The very idea of leaving my family and friends and travelling to a foreign country with people I don't even know terrifies me! So maybe God is going to use this to teach me and grow me. I imagine it will only do good things for my confidence - an area I've always wanted to improve in.
Praise God for life changing surprises!
Stay tuned for my next post - my 700th post! Please leave a comment here if you would like to contribute.