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gado-gado #3: the grapple and the glory

As I mentioned before in my previous post, Erwin and I joined our church choir to go to choir competition. However, the practice was not as smooth as I thought. Compared to the choir I had ever been joined, I mean. And honestly, in the first place, I somehow forced myself to admit that the choir team was the worst team I’ve ever had.

First of all, the members were coming in and out. I mean, one or two people turned up in one practice but not turned up in the next one. So we were having the first practices with different people. As though it was not enough yet, almost no one wanted to join in the alto group. They seemed to think that the soprano part is the easiest one (well, actually it is not!). I was of course willing to join the alto group, but my previous experience reminded me that I was never able to reach the lowest note of the alto parts because as a matter of fact, I do have a soprano voice. Then, one by one moved to the alto group, even the one who actually has a really soprano voice. Perhaps she thought that she could do double jobs, anyway. Since at the end, I found out that she joined the soprano 1 group to reach the highest note of one of the songs we sang. I mean, what for? If she was already willing to join the alto group even though we all knew, she knew she should be in the soprano group why had she to sing the soprano part as well?

Second of all (it’s getting more like an essay, anyway), during nearly two months practicing, we’ve got three different conductors with three different styles. The first conductor could not join with us in the day of competition because she would be off to Queensland. She already planned that travel long before the date of the choir competition was announced. Therefore, she only coached us in the first practices and whenever the actual conductor could not come. The second conductor was actually the actual conductor. I mean, he was supposed to conduct on the day of the competition. Yet he rarely turned up in our practices even though we had to admit that he was a very good teacher. We learnt to sing better every time he turned up. The third conductor was the one I told you above - the one who actually had soprano voice but joined the alto group. Apparently, she had experience a lot about singing and teaching vocal because well, she could do three jobs altogether! She could join the soprano and alto group and now she could teach us as well! She turned up as the third conductor since the actual conductor barely turned up in the practice sessions. The difficulty fell to the choir members since they had to learn three different styles of the conductors. Every time we got used to with one’s conducting style, another turned up and conducted us with different style which honestly forced us to have adapted another style.

Third of all, well, it was very typical of Indonesian people’s problems. It was about punctuality (!). Typical, right? I had the same problem when I was dealing with youth community once in Indonesia. I was about disbelief that I would find the same problem here, where mostly the people and the system are very punctual. I reckoned it was a bit hard for the coordinator to collect all the members punctually. In one practice, we should get started on 6pm, but we did on 7.30pm! Only one or two members turned up before six, the others turned up after 6 and even after 7! That was a problem.

Forth of all, we could not find a pianist while the day of the competition was getting near. The pianist who had been chosen in the first place had to go back to Indonesia because her father was ill. We found another pianist, but she could not make to come in every practice. So we never practiced with music. Mind you, it was pretty difficult after all. They said this second pianist was good and could play and read the music sheets very well. Well, we did not really need a very good pianist but could not commit to come even in the practice anyway. The same way with the conductor, actually. Then, we finally made to find the third pianist. She was willing to practice at home first before playing in the practices with us. However, in the following practice, when she was ready to play the piano for us, the second pianist turned up and suddenly replaced her, saying that from the time on she could make to come to our practices.

Along with those problems, we were practicing between our busy times. I mean, most of us are students and they already got their own problems, like assignments and exams. The day of the competition had come and another problem turned up. The program would get started at 5 pm, according to the schedule. There were only four choir teams managed to join in the competition. Two of them are from Melbourne, one from Sydney, and the other one from Brisbane. Our coordinator had managed with the committee of the competition to make our team singing lastly on account of our conductor could only manage to come and conduct after six. A kind of his belief, I thought. We decided to wait for him to conduct us since we were all ready to sing with his style. Fortunately (but piteously), the program started after 5.30pm (remember, we dealt with Indonesian people anyway!).However, it had been 6 o’clock soon and our turn had been near and near, the conductor still had turned up yet! Then, we decided to replace him with the third conductor straight away. We all had been ready in the backstage when the second conductor turned up! Geez, I did not know what’s on his mind, after all. What did he think about this competition? Well, yeah, we already decided to have the third conductor anyway, so he just wished us luck (!) and took a seat among the other audiences while we were singing on the stage.

I had to admit, we did sing really well. Even the second difficult song (sang without music) which turned out to be better than the first one. We also saw the judges’ face satisfied with the way we sang the two songs. My friend, Dilys who came to watch us singing even said that we sang very well. I horribly thought maybe we could make to be the first winner, then. Well, yes. I said the grapple and the glory in the title, didn’t I? We won the first prize! We shouted, we cried, we were kind of disbelieving, but we won! All the struggles we were having during the practices were simply laid behind and forgotten. I do believe that was God’s work as well. He saw us struggling and grappling so hard. I just hope that we did not fly to the moon after the glory and let our prides be on top of everything.

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Philippians 4:13

Saturday, 28 October 2006
1:04 pm

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