Over Monday 23rd May to Tuesday 24th May I had the privilege of travelling with Natalie Ong, one of our WCC Year 10 students, to Canberra to hear her perform at the National Christian Schools Policy Forum Gala Dinner, held in the Great Hall of Parliament House. In attendance were many Federal Politicians, Principals and School Leaders from around Australia.
This opportunity was given to Natalie after a national talent search, by the organisers of this event, who were looking for one of Australia’s shining musical lights in Christian Education, and I can guarantee you, they got the brightest.
The organisers flew Natalie, her mother Serina Tan and myself to Canberra and accommodated us at the Hyatt Hotel for the duration of the stay.
The evening rolled around and the high powered and high profile audience arrived. The night featured addresses from Senator Deborah O’Neil, Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Keynote address from Will Graham (Evangelist, Executive director of the Billy Graham Training Centre, Billy Graham’s Grandson). Although each of these speeches had great impact on how we are to approach Christian Education, the greatest impact of the night was made by a 15 year old girl who just loves to sing and give it all for the Lord.
Natalie’s introduction was met with generous applause and the applause after her first song was rapturous and uncomfortably long. She eventually got her moment to speak and introduce her next song which was ‘How Great Thou Art’.
‘How Great Though Art’ is a particularly special song for the Graham family with George Beverley Shea making it a cornerstone rendition of the Billy Graham Crusades, and Natalie certainly did it justice.
The crowd again went silent, the mood in the room turned from political to reflectively uplifting. What a song and what a performance from Natalie. Before the last note was even finished the room burst into applause. Heads were shaking as to the talent and witness this humble, unassuming 15 year old possesses.
Natalie was certainly the star of the night and her performance was still being discussed as I eavesdropped on conversations at the buffet breakfast this morning. What a voice, what a talent, what a blessing, what a God glorifying performance, all were uttered and Natalie wasn’t even in the room to prompt their memory.
As we packed up and headed back to Melbourne I could not help but fell that the effects of this performance may just revive and rejuvenate the Music and Performing Arts Departments of Christian Schools around Australia as Principals, Politicians and School leaders come recognise something that we hold too very strongly at WCC. In this fast age of media and entertainment, the power of God-Glorifying performance and worship through even our youngest students is the catalyst to enpowering a world to live out his call upon their lives, and it’s all thanks to one 15 year old girl who would travel to Canberra to declare ‘How Great Thou Art’ that we are reminded of this.
An absolutely amazing performance and huge congratulations to Natalie Ong for her willingness to be involved in this event and a special thanks to her family, Tom, Serina and Jerry for their willingness to give so much so that Natalie may shine, God may be glorified and we may all see the benefits.
Mr. David George (Secondary Music Coordinator)