I remember sitting in a semi-circle trying to figure out if this was really where I wanted and needed to be. Everything was so new. I wasn’t used to the southern accents and I didn’t like the sweet tea at dinner. But I had accepted a spot in the Voices of Mobile, which landed me at a rehearsal camp in Alabama the week before my first semester at the University of Mobile.
Voices of Mobile is an amazing traveling vocal ensemble in the Alabama School of the Arts at the University of Mobile. It’s one of over 20 music and theatre ensembles at the Christian university. Being in Voices of Mobile changed my life in so many ways, giving me experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have had, like singing in the White House and traveling internationally.
But those weren’t the biggest ways it changed my life! Here’s what happened:
At this first rehearsal camp, UM music professors Dr. Roger Breland and Dr. Al Miller introduced a new song to us and asked all of the guys to try out for the solo. Everyone sounded pretty good, until this one really quiet freshman kid sang… he sounded really good. And that’s my first vivid memory of Andrew — hearing him sing and being completely blown away. (He got the solo, by the way.)
It wasn’t until our second year that we became really good friends. By the middle of the year, I was suppressing the random thoughts of “Maybe I like him” or “Maybe he likes me.” Why was I suppressing these thoughts, you ask? Because dating in the Voices of Mobile was against the rules. And this was no joke. Dr. Breland took it seriously, and I did not want to jeopardize my spot in the group I had grown to love so much. But, by the end of the year, I finally got courageous enough to admit to Dr. Breland that I “liked” Andrew Goodwin.
Dr. Breland traveled with the contemporary Christian ensemble TRUTH for 31 years and he had a rule back then that he enforced for Voices of Mobile. No dating in the group: “You’re friends, and then you get married. When you’re married, then you can look like you like each other.”
So, Andrew and I were determined to be “just friends” while in the Voices of Mobile.
“Friends” we were. When the bus stopped for lunch, he went to McDonald’s and I went to Burger King – just to make sure we weren’t spending too much time together on the road. It’s so funny to look back on now because, after we broke the “no dating rule” in 2007, the whole “dating in the Voices” thing became pretty popular. Including us, there are now nine married couples that started dating while in Voices: Andrew and Brittany Lowe, Michael and Tiffani Casey, Scott and Ellie Lawrence, Nick and Nicole Hardeman, Zack and Kirsten Phillips, JR and Josi Krivsky, Collin and Hannah Clardy, and James and Livy Collingsworth.
This summer, Andrew and I will celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. We both began working at the University of Mobile immediately after graduation in 2010 and are honored to still be a part of the wonderful UM family. I serve as the director of production and administration for the Alabama School of the Arts. Andrew is a full-time UM faculty member and full-time Doctor of Musical Arts student at UM during the week. On weekends, he travels with Veritas, a vocal ensemble that got its start at the University of Mobile. We’ve also been privileged to help lead Voices of Mobile throughout the years. We both love what we do, but we really love who we come home to: our little girls, Riley, 3, and Audrey, 7 months.
I’m so grateful for God’s goodness which led me to the University of Mobile and Andrew in 2006. And I’m also grateful Dr. Breland didn’t kick us out of the Voices of Mobile in 2007!