Friday, July 29, 2005

Nashville - Day 10

I can't believe my time at the school is over! It took so long to get here, and it's gone so quickly.

I've learned today that people are actually reading my blog. What a crazy thought. I hope I can continue to be honest in my writings and not get self-conscious.

Our day started with devotions. I love Aunt Faye. Our theory class opened the day by singing Heaven's Parade. Way too early to be singing a high G!

Then I had my final lesson with Mr. Lane. What an awesome gentleman. I wish I'd had my picture taken with him, but my memories and learning will stay with me forever. I've just loved our time together. His passion for music and writing is so inspiring. He was very encouraging, and sent me home with lots to work on. I definitely want to continue to study theory and harmony when I get home. And I'm going to take all my songs and start to write SATB arrangements of them.

We had a great time in our final theory class. Someone requested that I sing It Is Well. I didn't want to take away from class time, but they insisted. So I sang the verses and everyone joined in on the chorus. It was so amazing. I took a class photo. What a great group of people. And what a great teacher, Mr Jack Clark.

Oh, and I didn't make it into the closing night program. But that was cool. I've had lots of great singing opportunities here. It just meant I could relax this afternoon and enjoy the day.

Our final group singing session was wonderful. Everyone sang out and just praised the Lord with voice and song. I have learned so much here. It will take a long time to grasp all that has come to me in these days.

I'm also so thankful for all the friends I've made. We all have such a bond through the music and through our faith. In Toronto, we're very multicultural, and yet it's not proper to say you're a Christian. It's okay to talk about religion, but not about faith. It's been so nice to be able to talk honestly about God and our faith.

Well, what a night! All the students did group singing, and then there were a few soloists and groups performing as well. It was like a super-high-class-gospel-student-recital. Michaela sang His Eye is On the Sparrow, and it was an annointed song. She is so awesome. I want her to come to Toronto so I can book her at my church. There was some great quartets. We did 12 group songs, and it sounded awesome. There was also some comedy bits showing the best way to be the world's worst gospel quartet!

And then, Ben and Aunt Faye and Miss Mary Tom came on stage to talk about scholarships. I don't know if I mentioned this, but I applied for a scholarship and didn't get one. I was pretty mad too. The scholarships are based on financial need, and this year, I've been feeling pretty needy. When I got here, I got a little more mad cause I kept meeting people who'd won scholarships. I kept saying, "God, I don't know why you didn't let me have a scholarship, but I'm sure you know what you're doing. It just doesn't make any sense to me." And I prayed to find peace with it, which I did.

Tonight, they started talking about another scholarship, based on talent and being a diligent student. I didn't know any such scholarship existed. As I sat there, I thought, "God, this is the kind of thing I'd love to get. I know I didn't win, but I thank you so much for the amazing experience I've had here." And with that, they called out my name.

They called out my name! - Allison Lynn! - Even when they said 'Allison', I thought it may be someone else. But it wasn't. It was me. I won the Brock Speer Memorial Scholarship for my dedication to learning gospel music and developing my talents. I was in shock. I just started to cry. I'm starting to cry just remembering it. Someone pushed me up on stage. I hugged everyone. I thanked them. I thanked Mom and Dad and Gerald. Without them, I'm not able to do anything. I told them I'd never worked so hard in my life, and that tomorrow I'm going to spend bobbing around in a swimming pool. {I can't believe I said that, but I wasn't really in a clear state of mind!}

I told them that three years ago, my life changed, and at the age of 29, I was a widow. I told them that I had been angry at God for a long time. But after a year, He kept knocking, and I let Him back in. I told them that I gave my career over to Him, and now look where He's brought me...

I never thought I would be in Nashville and I never thought gospel music would be taking such a prominent place in my life. Before I came here, I was at a crossroads in my music career. I prayed I would find guidance in what I do. I told everyone, "I will either come home hating the whole industry, or I'll have a contract from Bill Gaither." Well, it's pretty close to a contract...

I know that I'm still in shock from tonight. But I know that God wanted me here. The plan He has for you may not be what you expect, but it is definitely awesome!

"Our God is an awesome God!"

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