Mother, artist and citizen of the world: Lee-Alison Sibley sees life at 100%
Lee-Alison Sibley puts her talents to the service of diplomacy " I sing to represent my government… and I represent the culture of the United States at the same time… I thus support the career of my husband… And I think that it is very helpful for his work that I sing in public to represent the American culture."
"I chose opera not because I did not like other music, but because of my voice." When she started to learn vocal techniques, her professors told her: "Behold, here is a voice for the opera". This is why she was directed towards this choice. "But, I sing the folk music of the United States as well, and the songs of theatre-- Broadway. It is my mother who taught me how to sing when I was a child… Although she was not a professional singer, she always encouraged me in what I chose" she affirms.
On her take about the priorities of family vs. career, Lee-Alison Sibley says, "I married and I had children and I love them more than my career." This woman of character moves according to the career of her husband. She is married to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States in Madagascar. "Fortunately, since my husband works in the Embassy, through his career, I can travel and continue to sing." Satisfied with the way in which she adapted, she continues, "I wanted to be a wife, mother and artist… and this is what I am today."
The small family moves every three years. Lee-Alison Sibley considers these displacements an advantage. "I learn the music from the country; I learn the language and the culture from the countries in which I live… I have become to some extent a citizen of the world and an ambassador of culture for my country. "
For Lee-Alison Sibley, a modern woman must be dynamic. She continues that a woman needs to do many things at the same time. "I always worked. Our children always accompanied us wherever we went, from country to country. She accommodated her hours of work with the hours of school. When the children returned home, she tried to be present to take care of them. "Sometimes, I worked and sang when my husband was at home to be with them". Lee-Alison Sibley has followed many different paths with her talents, but "I was born to teach", she says. Everywhere they went, she always taught… music, foreign languages: "I taught at universities, at nursery schools, at all levels as I do these days … Since I was young, I always taught."
For Lee-Alison Sibley, it was the international life that contributed much to the choice of professions their elder son would take up. With pride, she lets us know that he is a Chef today. "When I sang and worked outside the house, he prepared meals for his little brother. That directed him towards this study of culinary arts and today he is a wonderful Chef. " The passion for music is within the Sibley family as well. "My sons and my husband sing… and they sing well! ", she exclaims. "I sing for all… I sing at the house… I sing when I am happy, when I am sad, when I laugh, when I cannot sleep."
Throughout her husband's career, she continued to demonstrate how to value and have an open heart no matter one's race, origin, religion or culture. "As a Jew, I learned this lesson the first time when I was in Jordan. At that time, I feared a little that I wouldn't be accepted by the Arabs, the Jordanian ones. But by having an open mind and heart, I was prepared to love them and that's how they too accepted me. "
For Lee-Alison Sibley, Madagascar is a country of smiles. "I especially noticed the smiles on the faces of people in spite of their precarious situation… though they are not rich, the smile always takes shape on the face. " What also impressed her on the Large Island, is the beauty of the landscape, the beauty of the rice plantations. "The country is very beautiful, but one realizes that certain old buildings are crumbling. " Also, when arriving on the Large Island she realized: everyone sings and likes to sing. Everyone here likes music.
She always has a positive perspective. For Lee-Alison Sibley, it is necessary to always hope that things will improve. "You have to work together. This is what makes the United States great. It is the cultural character which rises from the different origins," she continues in her explanation. According to her, people who live in Madagascar should consider those of other origins as people who can contribute something to this marvelous country and not marginalize them. It is not good to judge people for where they come from, but for what they can achieve. Life is mutual respect and cooperation", she concludes.