Charlotte Foster

Music

How a song composed for the Sydney Olympics has been brought to life

How a song composed for the Sydney Olympics has been brought to life

As Australia prepared for the Sydney Olympics in early 2000, composer Natalie Raab decided to create a uniquely Aussie song. 

Her hope was that the ballad, which celebrates Australia’s beauty, history and diversity, could be used somewhere during the Olympic ceremonies. 

After moving from Italy in 1960, Natalie fell in love with Australia and wanted to honour her new home in her own special way. 

"My wife was always very musical," her husband, Erich Raab said.

"She wrote quite a bit of music for some well-known artists, she played the violin, the guitar, the piano, and she studied music from an early age.”

"She thought, 'I better write a song that's for everybody and inclusive of Indigenous Australia and offer it as a gift'."

Three months before the games, Natalie offered the song to the Sydney Olympic Committee. 

While they praised her work, the committee members said it was too late to incorporate it into the program. 

"After that, it disappeared in a drawer somewhere — forgotten," said Erich.

The song stayed in its drawer for 20 years, until last year when Mr Raab found it during a clean-up of his home. 

Natalie died in a motorcycle accident in 2014, and her husband was keen to share the song with others. 

"When I found the music, I thought, 'This song in a few verses says everything that needs to be said about this country, its beauty, its natural history, its people history, and its emphasis on reconciliation for all'.

"I thought, 'I have to hang on to this and see if I can get somebody interested'."

Mr Raab gifted the music to the Manning Valley Choral Society, who have performed the song, called Till I Come Home, as part of a concert series. 

"They immediately understood what the song was about, they loved the music and thought it suited them, and they loved the words."

The Manning Valley Choral Society's Robyn Rankin said they gratefully received the music.

"Erich asked us if we would take care of it and record it for him," she said.

"We are lucky enough to have it in our possession now … it's a tribute to Erich's wife."

Image credits: Getty Images

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