Test debutant, from Wauchope to the MCG

FROM Wauchope to the centre of the revered Melbourne Cricket Ground, one superb singer is about to truly make her debut on the world wide stage.

Former Wauchope resident opera singer Monica Oriel has been chosen to sing the Australian national anthem before the start of the Boxing Day Test.

Last year more than 78,000 fans crammed into the MCG to watch the match as well as millions of fans in Sri Lanka, Australia and anywhere Aussies could tune in to their television screens and radios.

So how did the former St Joseph’s Primary School Wauchope student earn the right to do us proud.

“I had sent my info to Cricket Australia months ago hoping that maybe I might be chosen for a state match in Sydney, or something like that,” the 24-year-old said.  “They asked if I could send through a recording of the anthem, which I did.” 

With the Tests against South Africa and now Sri Lanka, she hadn’t heard anything back until Sunday morning, when an email arrived telling her all the Sydney matches had been booked.

“I thought that was it, but then in the very next line they told me they wanted me for Boxing Day. I had to re-read it several times,” the excited coloratura soprano said. 

She said she had no idea how big an audience would hear her rendition of Advance Australia Fair, but she knows it is one of the biggest events on the Australian calendar.

“To sing your national anthem in front of your country is a huge honour, let alone in front of the world,”  she said. "I’m just so thankful for such an amazing opportunity.” 

Oriel will also be interviewed on ABC Radio National on Boxing Day afternoon as a follow up to an interview she did with former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis yesterday.

The talented singer said she has always loved cricket. “I used to play for Wauchope when I was younger, but I wasn’t very good ... it was just the love of the game. 

“I used to watch Test matches on tv and hear the anthem and the roar of the crowd and think how amazing that would be, so this really is a childhood dream come true.”

Receiving the email from Cricket Australia has been the highlight of her career so far, she said. 

“It’s a tough industry, and I’ve sent out countless CDs and portfolios and been rejected time after time.

“Mostly they don’t bother even responding.

“It just goes to show that no matter what happens, you should never give up on yourself.”

Oriel last performed in the Hastings at Blue Poles Cafe and Gallery earlier this year. “Blue Poles was my first solo gig, and it sold out in five days,”  she said. 

She said she was surprised and humbled by the response. “I’ve had so much support from Colleen and Ian [Farlow from Blue Poles), and the whole community, and I’m so grateful for that.”

As to what’s next on the horizon, she said she will just have to wait and see. “But I’m really looking forward to 2013.”

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