Joining the Goliaths of the world choirs! That’s what I thought as our children’s choir sung in front of the international judges of the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio last week to qualify for the Champions Competition. That meant that despite not having received any national or international awards yet, Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Choir and their mentors must convince the judges that the church choir has the ability to compete with the champions of the world choirs!
An ambitious task, and believe it or not, a not-so-impossible goal to reach in the minds of the mentors!
Lo and behold, the children got the judges’ vote to qualify for the championship! The mentors, the children, and, of course, we, the chaperones and parents, were ecstatic! The Lord answered our prayers.
A few weeks before our trip to the World Choir Games, our pianist, Paul Concepcion, accidentally cut his finger while peeling an avocado. The wound was very deep that Paul had to undergo surgery. Cristopher “Pete” Avendano, our music director who has worked untiringly and selflessly, was so devastated to learn about the accident. He did not know what to do without the pianist. Finally, God gave him the wisdom to call Jude Roldan, the music director in the Philippines who composed some of the songs that the children had been rehearsing for the competition. Pete asked him to fly to the U.S. to take the place of Paul. Without hesitation, Jude responded to his request.
When Jude arrived a week before the competition, Pete needed a different ear to gauge the performance of the children. Jude volunteered to train them more by voice section. In a matter of a week the children became even better, learned more techniques and gained greater confidence.
What we considered unfortunate with Paul’s accident turned into a blessing! God’s hands were definitely at work. We just needed to trust the Lord.
Indeed, our trust in God is another possession we bought with us during our children’s choir journey to the World Choir Games. We prayed the rosary, we prayed our novenas, and we invoked the intercession of the Saints. Jude Roldan shared with us that he had been saying a novena to St. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of music directors and choirs.
The Gospel this Sunday speaks about walking with trust in the Lord in everything that we do. When Jesus sent out the Twelve on the mission to bring the Good News and healing to other people, he instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. It meant that they had to trust the Lord that He would provide them with all their needs, including the courage to face strangers and the power to drive out demons and to cure the sick.
Our children in the choir need to be armed with faith and power of God to believe in their potentials for greatness. They must trust in their ability to world champions in many areas of their lives.
Indeed, they are already champions in the eyes of many people and God, not in the world’s stage but at the altar when they glorify God every Sunday Mass as they sing and pray twice with their angelic voices!