Over the next four months, Mae-Rose Harrison will be cramming her French studies in preparation for a trip of a lifetime.
She is hoping to become bilingual – or at least confident enough to converse with the locals.
As a soprano in the RSL Youth Choir, the 16-year-old will be joining singers from all over the state when they descend on the shores of northern France in December.
“We’ll be singing on the beaches of Normandy and in the trenches of the Western Front,” said the Junee High School student.
So far in her fundraising efforts, Miss Harrison has been helped by a sizable donation from Junee’s Lions Club.
The two-week trip is to commemorate Australia’s involvement with the Allied Forces in the Great War.
Miss Harrison is particularly looking forward to performing the French national anthem with the French schools choir battlefields of Normandy.
Since joining the youth choir in 2013, Miss Harrison has performed at numerous memorable venues, including several times at the NSW Government House.
Last year, the choir sang during a closing ceremony at the War Memorial in Canberra.
But she expects this experience will be a whole other level of memorable for the descendant of some of Australia’s war heroes.
“I’ve been in the choir so long, I’ve heard the stories before, but being there will make it all so much more meaningful,” she said.
“I did have my great-grandparents who fought in the way, but they didn’t make it back unfortunately.”
Majority of the songs have been written by the choir’s conductor, and chronicle the lives of the men and women who fought at the front.
“I think my favourite is Extraordinary Strangers, it really pulls at my heartstrings,” she said.
“Sometimes I have to stop myself from tearing up on stage, otherwise my voice will wobble.”