It was the year 2000 and Sydney was preparing to host the Olympics when music lover and songwriter Natalie Raab decided to create a unique Australian song.
Her hope was that the ballad-style piece, celebrating Australia’s beauty and modern and ancient cultures, could be performed somewhere during the Sydney Olympics.
Ms Raab had fallen in love with Australia after leaving Italy with her family in 1960 and had been involved with Indigenous students through her job as a high school teacher in Sydney.
“My wife has always been very musical,” said her husband, Erich Raab.
“She wrote a lot of music for well-known artists, she played the violin, the guitar, the piano and she studied music from an early age.
Ms Raab donated the song to the Sydney Olympic Committee three months before the games.
Mr Raab said committee members had praised the song but it was too late to include it in their programme.
“They loved it, they really loved it, but they had already finished their program for the Sydney games,” he said.
Song rediscovered two decades later
The song sat in that drawer for over 20 years, until last year when Mr Raab discovered it while cleaning his house in Forster, on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Ms Raab died in 2014 in a motorcycle accident and Mr Raab was eager to see his song shared with others.
“She was a very outgoing girl…she died on her motorbike after returning from a ride in Alice Springs,” he said.
“When I found the music, I thought, ‘This song in a few verses says everything there is to say about this country, its beauty, its natural history, the history of its people and the its emphasis on reconciliation for all’.
The Choral Society brings music to life
Mr Raab hired a singer to perform the song and first shared it on YouTube, before donating it to the Manning Valley Choral Society.
The Choral Society has now performed the song, titled Till I Come Home, as part of a concert series, and has also recorded the music.
“They are lovely people,” Mr. Raab said.
Robyn Rankin of the Manning Valley Choral Society said she received the music with gratitude.
“Erich asked us if we would take it on and record it for him,” she said.
“We are lucky to have it in our possession now…it is a tribute to Erich’s wife.”
Mr. Raab was delighted to see his wife’s music shine and hoped the song would be widely shared.
“It’s a good memory I have,” he said.