The glory of Vegas

eiffel-105506_960_720I was recently in Las Vegas. I had low expectations of glitzy facades attempting to cover seedy bars and casinos, and filthy streets; I wasn’t expecting to love it.

But love it I did. It was fabulous: glitter and glamour, bright lights and creativity and a central strip that never sleeps. It was like a giant, adult carnival, and the seediness, while certainly present, wasn’t as overt as I’d feared. I remember walking down the strip one night, past the extraordinary fountains of the Bellagio and the soaring spire of the Eiffel Tower and thinking that human creativity had outdone itself. Here in Vegas, was everything that man had to offer.

Two days later, I drove out of Vegas and went to the Grand Canyon. The contrast was immense. Not just in size and in grandeur, but in heart. In Vegas, human creativity was at its peak, at the Canyon, we caught a glimpse of God’s. And it won, hands down.

The next day we were in Monument Valley, and we rode through the desert on horseback.20160104_074834 The silence was overwhelming. The monuments rose, towering trough the frigid air. They were so sure of themselves. Their majesty did not need the adornment of bright lights, or the lure of naked women. They didn’t care whether people came to look at them or not. They reflected the glory of their creator, and they will likely stand in worship of him, long after Vegas falls.

A Tribute to my (almost) Famous Brother

jordanI remember when I first ‘discovered’ my brother’s voice. My parents (having attended his school performances) had been raving about it for some time, but my only experience of this ‘amazing’ singing voice was limited to hearing him in the bathroom.

I thought it was all a bit overrated.

One afternoon, about eight years ago, I was sitting with a group at church ready to begin rehearsals for a special Christmas musical we were doing. My brother had been asked to do a solo, and before he sang, a friend asked me whether he could actually sing. My sisterly loyalty assured them that he could, but when he opened his mouth, I was as surprised as everyone else. He really could sing!

He went on to study at the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music, and towards the end of his degree he was asked to join the Adelaide Chamber Singers. I knew this was quite an offer, but I don’t think anyone realized quite how prestigious they were until this week.

ACS has been touring Europe for the past two weeks, and after performing at Musica Sacre a Roma and winning not only both of their categories, but also the grand prize, they travelled on to Wales to perform at the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. They won in their category and were invited to perform for ‘Choir of the World.’ I waited anxiously through the night for the results. Finally at 8am I got the text: We’ve won Choir of the World!

Congratulations to the whole group, and best wishes as they continue on to perform in Austria.

Their performances in the Eisteddfod can be seen here and here. My brother is on the far left in the first song. For those of you living in the UK, he was also interviewed on the BBC. Perhaps you saw him!?1005595_10151536952192862_929999848_n