My upcoming trip to Paris has been brought about not because Paris was on my must-see list, but because my 15 year old daughter has been given the opportunity to travel to France as a member of the choir that will be singing at the Anzac Day commemorative services at the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Brettoneaux.
She’ll also be singing at the British Embassy, under the Arc de Triomphe and in concerts, services and functions in Amiens. And, as my professional life for the last three years has been devoted to commemorative activities related to the First World War (I am a librarian), I wanted to be there for this really significant event, in her life and in mine.
Singing in this choir has ensured that she is very well travelled – within Australia, and also to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The discipline, cultural awareness, friendship, performance experience, and joy that music and singing has brought to her life has been incredibly worth the investment of considerable time and effort in rehearsal, practice at home and just plain hard work.
We are arriving in Paris a week before the rest of the choristers, to immerse ourselves in Parisian life and culture. It’s not an opportunity that many young people her age get, and I am very aware that I want to get the most out of this time with her. We’re compiling a list of things we want to do, places we want to see, and shopping we want to do. It’s ever growing.