So, what a thrill to introduce you to a long time friend, Angela Gorman. (She was Angela Bendotti when she lived over here in Vic) I have known Angela for nearly 30 years. We first met when she applied to work with us here in Melbourne as a “live in” member of our retreat community here in the Yarra Valley. Interesting that our initial collaboration was not built on either of our musical ambitions or abilities. That grew slowly. I can remember when we were interviewing for a new team member. Angela’s interview was impressive to say the least. At the time, we had another candidate who had also applied. He was also an impressive human. He was well over 6 foot tall and solid in every direction to boot. He was devastated when he didn’t get the gig but as I explained to him at the time, “if I had been interviewed against Angela, I’m not convinced I would have been the candidate of choice over her.
We had many good years working with Angie. Slowly music worked its way into the relational exchange. We quickly discovered that a highly skilled singer & pianist existed at the core of her DNA. The more we journeyed the more it emerged. I’m sure Angie will vigorously nod her head at this next point. We quite often found ourselves with divergent tastes and opinions about music in the church setting. Not always, but it was certainly in the mix. Angie was/is great at challenging the status quo. She would never let me off a wayward thought or point. I would have to say that one of the things about our friendship that I value highly is our ability to disagree and maintain a good bond.
When Angie moved back home it was as if all paths lead to a vocation that inspired worship in all people young & old, great and small. Anyone who has ever walked the vocational path will testify that even in the depth of knowing that you are on the path you should be on, it is rarely an easy or straightforward journey. But she has stayed the course and continues to passionately fight for a greater awareness of what worship is, and how it can liberate the soul, and unite a community. (These days this often happens in the context of challenging an often difficult to challenge traditional male dominated institution) Whether it’s preparing a few singers to sing/play at their local church, or co-ordinating a national conference, I have personally witnessed her manage those scenarios as well as a whole range in between. Each with the same deep level of commitment, skill & enthusiasm. Oh and even though healthy disagreement has certainly been part of the journey, she has also been a wonderful source of encouragement, cheering me on to keep going. In writing these few words, I realise what a deep gratitude I have for being a small part of her journey.
My wife & I were honoured to be invited to her wedding where she married one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Andrew & Angie have since had 2 children, appropriately named to allow us to call the family “the A list”. (Those who know them should smile at that one) They have moved down to a beautiful house in one of the coastal regions south of Perth. Together they are building their life, all the time with their eyes on the deeper vocational callings. For a while there I had work that took me in their direction, often with enough time to spend a few days catching up. The discussion would always be intense & challenging. If red wine & chocolate appeared, then we knew it was going to be a long night!! The friendships would pick up right where they left off, often with our other good West Aussie mate Jo Parker in the mix.
Since I was last there they have had some renovations done that, amongst other things, have allowed Angie to set up her piano in a dedicated music room. I have put my request in to Angela for the first song I want to hear in that room whenever I am lucky enough to visit again.
The aim of these articles was to introduce you to a few of the people that have illuminated my path mostly through our musical connection. Angela (and her clan) are in a category all of their own in how music has drawn us together. I hope you enjoy these few words about an extraordinary family that my wife & I get to call friends. If you know Angie, please feel free to leave a comment or at the very least, hit the like button.
See Ya Next time “A” list