Tuesday, October 6

Voice of An Angel Update!

At long last, I have an update on my musical journey!

First of all, I have a new music website, www.gabrielafrei.com. Please check it out! I hope that you enjoy it. I'll be updating it as I record new music and have dates for the Voice of An Angel competition. I'm super excited about it. Tell your friends :)

Secondly, the Voice of An Angel producers have updated the website for this year's contestants. Check out the page here. I am a contestant from the Diocese of Venice. The producers will be updating the site again, as they add profiles for each of the contestants.
They sent me a list of questions to answer as part of my profile. I wanted to share my answers with you in full, so you could have a taste of Gaby the musician. 

1 – Which Christian artist most inspires you?  Why?
 The Christian artist, or group rather, that most inspires me is Hillsong, in particular their song “The Stand.” It speaks of abandon and of surrender to the Lord, two elements of faith that I desire most. It speaks too of praise of the One who gave it all. I feel every song of theirs expresses something that resounds within my soul. Their songs are clarion calls, are battle cries, are anthems of faith.

2 – What is your favorite Bible quote?

Philippians 4:4-7 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse reminds me of the constant presence of the Lord in my life. He hears the prayers of my heart and knows my needs. So long as I offer these prayers to Him, I should never fear or be anxious, but rather be certain that His will shall always come to pass, and it will always be for my best good.

3 – What did you feel as you were going through the audition process and your Call-back audition at Rock the Universe at Universal Studios?
I was more nervous than I thought I would be. I was completely surrendered to God, and in acceptance of His will as to whether or not I passed on. But at the same time, I was still a bit nervous, because my entire life I have dreamt of singing professionally for His greater glory, and this competition presents the opportunity to bring that dream to fruition. So I was confident, but still nervous and hoping it was in fact the Lord’s will for me to move on. 

4 – Why is your faith important to you?
My faith is everything to me. It brings light that casts out the darkness. It brings meaning into every moment. It gives purpose to suffering. But most of all, it gives the hope that there is something more, something greater, Someone in control that loves me in spite of me, who knows every flaw and imperfection, and wants me for eternity anyways. That kind of love makes every challenge and trial endurable. It makes life beautiful. It makes me, and every person, intrinsically worthwhile and precious.

5 – What sacraments have you received and which one was the most memorable for you?
I have received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation, First Holy Communion, and Matrimony. I have to say that the most memorable was my marriage to my wonderful husband, Jonathan. The grace that flows from this beautiful sacrament is unlike any other, and I have the joy of sharing that grace with another, to walk through life side by side with him. We point each other to Christ. When we said our vows to each other on our wedding day, we gave each other’s hearts to God and became one in Him and with Him.

6 – If you could sing about any aspect of our faith, what would it be?  Why?
I would sing about the ways that the Lord makes Himself known in our daily lives. I am continuously amazed at the ways, big and small, that He makes Himself evident and shows us that He knows our hearts and hears our prayers. He has been so present to me through challenges and joys, and has brought me so far in my walk with Him. I consider music to be such a vivid way to convey our relationship with the Lord, and our growth in faith. I think that to share my experiences, victories, and struggles not only helps me to see how the Lord is working in my life, but might also help bring hope and meaning to others that might be in similar situations. We must help each other persevere through trials and joys alike.

7 – Have you ever felt the presence of an angel in your life?  What was the experience like?

When I was 12 years old, I was climbing a tree in my backyard. Being the daring and impulsive girl I was, I kept climbing higher and higher, pushing myself and my limitations. I remember I was nearly to the top, and had to have been 30 or 40 feet off the ground. I reached up to grab a branch and it snapped in my hand. I should have fallen to the ground that day. But I distinctly remember feeling a hand on my back, holding me for just long enough so that I could grab another branch to hold my weight. I’ll never forget that experience of being watched over and protected, even when I was being foolish. 

8 – How long have you been singing?
My mom tells me that I have been singing since the day I was born. My first song was “Old MacDonald,” when I was about 9 months. I’ve been singing at my church since I was 11, writing my own songs and composing music since I was 15, and loving every minute of it. I actually just finished creating a new website highlighting my music: www.gabrielafrei.com. I know that my musical ability is 100% a gift from God, and my delight is to use that gift to bring Him greater glory.

9 – What is your favorite Catholic feast day?  Why?
My favorite feast day is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. I wrote a song on that day called “Transfigure” which expresses why that is my favorite. You can see the video for it on my website. So many times I try to achieve perfection with my own strength, and then finally turn to the Lord when all my efforts fail. That feast day reminds me that even Jesus had to be transfigured by God the Father in order to reveal His true glory. “Transfigure me, Lord. There are things about myself I cannot change alone.” Thank God He doesn’t require us to attain perfection on our own: we could never do it. But with His grace, all things are possible. 

10 – What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
 I was studying abroad, and was leaving for a ten-day trip to Spain and France. God must have known how very much I hate changed plans because I missed every possible connection I had on route to Valencia! First, I got off my train to validate my ticket, but didn’t leave myself enough time, so my train left without me. I found a different train which took me to the same destination, but arrived later than I intended because of the earlier mix-up. As a result, I missed the bus I needed to get to the airport. I found a different bus, and upon arrival to the airport, discovered my friend had booked BOTH our plane tickets in her name! We straightened that out in time to catch our flight. When we arrived at our layover in Milan, Italy, we discovered that she had also accidentally booked our second leg of the trip for the next day instead of that night, so we spent an unplanned night in the Milan airport! All in all, it made for some excitement and adventure, and God knew what He was doing. We finally made it in one piece to Spain and had a fantastic time, and came home with a great story to tell about how the Lord truly provides for His little ones and teaches them how to let go of uncontrollable circumstances!

11 – What 1 thing about yourself do you feel you can improve on the most?

Every day I learn better how to surrender to the will of the Lord. I am a recovering perfectionist, and still struggle with the urge to do things on my own strength without error. I am learning to seek first to do the Lord’s will, humbly and without any desire to serve my own ambitions. 

12 – On this year for the priest, which priest do you think has most impacted your faith life?  Why? (Please include what parish/school/Diocese he was in when you met him or where he is currently assigned)
The priest that has most impacted my prayer life would be Father Jonathan St. Andre. I met him at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He was the priest who worked with my then-fiance and I in preparation for marriage. I also worked with him when I was the Student Director for the Born of the Spirit Retreat. He truly was a tremendous example of a life lived seeking always the will of God first and foremost. He has a heart of peace, hands that serve, and a devotion to the work of the Church. 

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