An Interview with Tania Batson
By: Linda Miller
Emory University sophomore Tania Trotter was auditioning for chamber choir when young Greg Batson walked in.
"I knew right away I wanted to get to know him better," Tania said, smiling at the memory.
Eventually she did get to know him better. Next year they will celebrate 30 years of marriage.
Tania and Pastor Greg moved to San Diego last summer, after getting the call to Foothills UMC. They and their three sons, Tom, Daniel and Wesley, are settling in, although Tom is away at college.
Tania grew up in the Methodist Church. Her father worked at the Claremont School of Theology in California and then moved the family to Nashville when he became the General Secretary of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the United Methodist Church.
"Everyone in my family is either a pastor or a teacher," Tania said. She and her two sisters often spent three days each week at the church and were involved in choir and youth groups.
On their first date, Greg took Tania to "a fancy restaurant" and she thought, "Wow, this guy is serious!" They married after she graduated from college. Her dad performed the wedding ceremony.
When the young couple started out, Greg was working in banking while Tania went to graduate school at Boston University. She returned to Nashville, but dreamed of trying to make it in New York City.
Greg encouraged her. He said if she liked it, he would move there too. She did, and he did. It was a big risk.
"We gave each other the freedom to risk even though it was as scary as all get-out," she said.
Tania went on to make a good living singing in the Big Apple. She won a series of roles in modern operas and with choruses. She sang with the NY Philharmonic and at Carnegie Hall. She sang in the 70th birthday tribute to Steven Sondheim. She sang with Judy Collins, Pete Seeger and Michael Crawford.
In the meantime, Greg's career was taking off in the banking industry. Then, he had a change of heart. He decided he wanted to be a pastor.
"How little we had," she laughed. But, "we allow each other to change. We are a partnership. We are a blend of our youthful selves and our dreams."
Eventually the family moved to California where Tania sang professionally in Los Angeles before turning her hand to fundraising for arts organizations and non-profits. Greg has been assigned to several churches in Southern California and it was hard for Tania to stay at a professional performing level while also taking care of their busy, growing family. She now works for the San Diego Symphony and creates special events and other fundraisers for them.
Through it all the couple "remained fresh," Tania said. "We were blessed by taking risks. We're staying open to the call."