Tag Archives: band

Weekend Coffee Share: 11th April, 2022.

Welcome To Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you all? I hope you are all well, and I thought you might like to join my friend Heather and I at a local live music venue called Link & Pin at Woy Woy. I used to go to this venue in it’s previous incarnation as a cafe and florist with my mother and kids. It’s just across the road from the train station and was particularly good when we were doing an exchange with the kids when they were younger. I think it was closed for a bit while it was being renovated and along came covid. We still have covid, but we’re supposed to be quite comfortable hanging out with covid everywhere we go, and believing it will be little more than a sniffle if we do get it. I like this venue because it’s outdoors. Well, that’s from a covid perspective. However, I also like listening to music in a relaxed smoke-free easy going venue and it also has plenty of personality or character. It’s the sort of place I’d expect to find perhaps in Sydney’s inner city around Glebe perhaps. Or, at least, the Glebe I used to know many years ago now where I used to watch a band called Paris Dumper at the Naggs’ Head on a Friday night. However, that was several lifetimes ago.

The band we saw today was called the Blind Pilots. I have no idea how they came by the name, and I guess I should be grateful that I was hearing them perform at Link & Pin and not hearing the announcement: “Your Captains today are the blind pilots”. Whether they can’t see or they’re incredibly drunk, you don’t want them flying you anywhere! Anyway, I enjoyed their music and anybody who’s known me for awhile would be surprised to see me there. I’m more of a classical violinist and tend to play Bach, and I’ve also spent much of the last week watching my daughter dance at the studio during open week. I’m actually surprised I had any watching capacity left, but being part of the audience isn’t a passive activity. It’s interactive and you need to give back to the performers as well. Not just clap at the end on autopilot either, but get into it. Smile, observe, indeed, absorb the whole experience. You might even tap your foot, and as long as Geoff isn’t with me, it doesn’t matter if I have terrible rhythm.

My grandmother, Eunice Gardiner, at the Australian Embassy in Washington in 1948.

I can actually understand why I enjoyed going to a band today. Last week, I received a message that my grandmother had been part of a TV interview panel when singer Paul Robeson visited Australian in 1960, and I contacted the ABC archives and they sent me the file. I did know that she’d performed with Paul Robeson in London in the late 1930s but I knew nothing about him. Well, that’s all changed. He was a world famous Afro-American singer and actor who had also qualified as a lawyer. Yet, his father had been a slave who escaped in his teens and fought for the North in the Civil War and went on to become a pastor. Paul Robeson developed close ties with the Soviet Union and even sent his son to school there for awhile because it didn’t have the racism present in the United States. Unfortunately, this put him under the microscope during the 1950’s in the McCarthy era. His passport was withdrawn for ten years. The interview was recorded on the 5th November, 1960, and broadcast 13th November, 1960. To give you some idea of the context of the interview, three days after the recording on the 8th November, 1960 the US elections were held and JFK won the US presidency against then US Vice-President Richard Nixon. Harper Lee’s novel: To Kill A Mockingbird was published on the 11th July, 1960, although it didn’t seem to attract attention in Australia until after the movie was released. It was just under three years before Dr Martin Luther King’s famous  “I Have a Dream” speech which followed a march by over 200,000 people on Washington on the 28th August, 1963. Anyway, it was quite interesting, astounding even, to see my grandmother, who was an international concert pianist and music critic on this panel. I decided the interview was so important that I decided to transcribe it verbatim and now I’m regretting it. It’s all so complex, and every word is so important and has to be exact. No “near enough is good enough” unfortunately. I’ve written it out. Typed it up and now I’m at the gruesome checking stage and there’s still writing all over the page. Yet, there are so many pearls in there just not about equality, but also musical composition, and every now and then I fancy myself as a song writer and he’s right into the pentatonic scale, which is sort of a musician’s ABC. Oh well. I am starting to believe ignorance is bliss. Or, that I can just stick to the words while someone else takes care of the tune. Or, I can just keep researching with writing up my results getting 95% of the way and finding it all a bit too hard and exiting stage left. BTW I am actually working on that!

Meanwhile, I’ve done two posts about our son’s trip onboard the Young Endeavour.

Prior to trying to transcribe this TV interview, I was working on collating my 100 word flash fiction efforts. That’s going fairly well. Here is this week’s contribution to Friday Fictioneers:

Anyway, our daughter is on school holidays for the next two weeks. There’s a dance competition this week, and then we have Easter next weekend.

Well, that’s left you all with an eclectic array of things to explore. Meanwhile, for those of you who celebrated Easter, I wish you a blessed Easter.

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share, which is hosted by Natalie the Explorer https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share: 21st March, 2022.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you? I hope you are well, and doing okay.

We are going really well here, although our men folk have escaped down South crossing the border of Victoria and are in Geelong. This afternoon at 3.00pm our son will be boarding a tall ship, the Young Endeavour, and at 4.00pm they set sail for Sydney arriving on the 30th March nine days later. It is a trip of a lifetime. Captain James Cook was sailing The Endeavour when he “discovered” Australia’s East Coast back in 1770, and for better or worse depending on your perspective, he claimed Australia’s East Coast for the British Empire. Anyway, in recognition of the Bicentenary of English settlement at Botany Bay on the 26th January, 1788, the British Government gifted Australia with the Young Endeavour to Australia as a youth training vessel and crews, like the one our son is about to be part of, have been sailing it ever since.

The last crew of the Young Endeavour where they’re sitting like large birds out on the masts.

Rather than giving you a second-hand and poorly informed account of what it’s all about, I thought I’d share this breathtaking video from their Facebook page. It makes me wish I was 18 again and on the trip of a lifetime. On the other hand, I was 18 back in 1988, and watching the Tall Ships sail into Sydney Harbour on Australia Day 1988 when it seemed all of Australia was congregated under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Kirribilli and around around the harbour just to get a glimpse: Here’s the video link: https://www.facebook.com/YoungEndeavour/videos/389567701984131 If you’re interested in following their journey, here’s a link to the Captain’s log: https://youngendeavour.gov.au/the-voyage/captains-log

Meanwhile, I am reluctantly at home. Our daughter had a dance audition yesterday, and I needed to be here. She’s also in her second final year at school and it seems to be assessment season. She also had a nasty virus last week. She had five RAT tests, which all came back negative but that kept her away from school for awhile too.

However, I really enjoyed watching her and the other students from their studio dance yesterday and her long awaited tutu finally arrived yesterday so it was special to see her put that on, although nothing like seeing her p on stage and under lights. I can’t wait. She will be exquisite.

Last week, we went out for a family meal to celebrate both “the kids'” birthdays. As you may recall, Mister turned 18 and Miss was Sweet 16, which are both special birthdays. We went to a so-called “hamburger restaurant” in Terrigal called Milky Lane. OMG! I struggle to find the words to describe the food, the out-of-this-world which transformed the place into an almost out of mind experience. It was so not McDonalds (which is where Miss works btw). I felt old, but it was wonderful and I’d love to go back.

I am actually getting out and about a bit more, but still wearing my mask and social distancing. On Saturday, my friend and I met for coffee at Link and Pin in Woy Woy, and we returned yesterday afternoon to listen to live music. We had no idea who was playing, but caught two acts. The second was called the Howlin’ Rats. The singer, who calls himself Harry Hobbit as is a computer programmer, during the week, had some very interesting effects with his voice which I didn’t really understand so I’ve bought their `CD and I’ve got his number. He asked me to write a bio for the band. I thought it would be interesting, and I’m rather curious. I like stepping into other people’s shoes and it’s just good to have a convo with a stranger in person for a change. Covid has ruined my social life.

Anyway, I need to dash but will be back later to polish this off.

Best wishes,

Rowena

A Twist of Fate -Friday Fictioneers 13th January, 2021.

The curtain raised. We all stood to attention and managed a macabre applause. The band had been blown up in the NYE Paris terrorist attack. In a freaky twist of fate, they’d just ducked outside to have a cigarette, and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meanwhile, their instruments which remained exactly where they were, had survived unscathed. I’ve heard that bass player, Sebastian Gordon, intended to quit that night, and that was going to be his last cigarette. Tragically, it was, although it wasn’t how he’d planned to quit for good. It wasn’t how they’d planned to stick together either. Either they’d been born under an unlucky star, or It was a twist of fate.

….

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields at https://rochellewisoff.com/. This week’s photo prompt was kindly contributed by Dale Richardson.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Inside Outside – Friday Fictioneers.

Dimity was next up, but she just wanted to run.

“Idiot! You absolute idiot! How could you let him talk you into singing THAT song? Raw, red-raw, it was only meant for the shower.”

Delving into the agonizing depths of self-loathing, she’d turned herself so completely inside out, her heart was beating outside her body, and the neurones were spewing out of her head like the guts of a computer.

“It’ll help someone. Save a life,” he said.

Now, she was wondering why she had to sell her soul to save the world? Why couldn’t she just plant a tree?

…..

100 words exactly.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. Photo prompt © CEAyr.

As a closet musician, I related to this photo prompt of the stage. While naturally rather extroverted, I usually have no qualms about getting up on stage and doing that most dreaded of tasks….public speaking.

However, playing my violin has been a mixed bag and early on, I put myself through the intense stress and madness of doing my Preliminary exam. This is the most basic exam you can undertake, and yet it was much harder than I expected, although I was determined to get an A, not a C-. I remember stressing out so badly on the train on the way to the exam, and being rather hard on myself. Then, I realized I was doing this to myself. No one else had made me do. It’s not like I was a kid and I could blame my mother. Moreover, just to give you a bit of a laugh, you can picture me practicing in the bus shelter out in front of the exam venue trying to warm up my ricketty fingers. The stress was through the roof, but I’ll have you know, I did it. I got my A, and I haven’t done an exam since.

Best wishes,

Rowena.

 

 

Coffee With Love!

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share and Happy Valentine’s Day. At least, it’s already Valentine’s Day here in Australia.

I don’t know what’s happened to me over the years. What now seems like many, many moons ago, I could’ve been the patron saint of Valentine’s Day and now I’ve become a cynic.

Indeed, I’ve even called for the demise of Cupid…the little rascal (and that’s being polite!)…Shooting Cupid.

What’s happened to me? Is romance really dead? Or, was I just having a bit of fun now that I’m older, wiser and not to mention married?

Most likely, it’s the fact that my husband and I will be spending Valentine’s Day driving our kids all over the countryside, instead of spending a romantic day together. I’ll be taking our daughter to a birthday party at a bowling alley and later on we’ll be taking our son to scouts for a few hours. So much for being wined and dined in some fancy, schmicko restaurant. Didn’t any o these folk realise Valentine’s Day was sacred. Or, at least it used to be!

So, what did we get up to last week?

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Rowena & Miss at Matilda

Last Sunday, our daughter and I went off to see Matilda the Musical in Sydney. It was absolutely sensational. As you could imagine, I couldn’t help casting my daughter as Matilda as we watched the performance. After all,  she is very much like a real Matilda…small, incredibly gutsy, smart and musical. I really loved how the musical talked up being small and how it doesn’t stop you from standing up for what is right or from pursuing your dreams…becoming who you really are. You can read more here..

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After Matilda, we walked back to Town Hall Station via Darling Harbour and the Queen Victoria Building. We ran into some friends and ended up having sumptuous Iced Chocolates at the Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour. This wasn’t the location of the December 2014 terrorist attack but it still crossed my mind. How could something as yummy as Lindt ever become connected with terrorism?

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Chinese New Year Lantern Sculpture, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney.

Walking through the Queen Victoria Building, we stumbled across some striking Chinese New Year decorations. You can join us on our walk here at Sydney Harbour…A rear End Perspective.

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The Tiger was one of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac brought to Life around Sydney.

After going to Matilda, the rest of the week was a blur of routine. I also had fairly nasty nausea and really didn’t feel well and slept a lot. I started getting concerned about what was going on and then just wondered if it was a standard virus. I seem to be getting back on deck now but I certainly freaked myself out.

The kids are enjoying their new schools and we’re working hard to establish a routine and some kind of order at home.

One afternoon, our son returned home from school really excited. He had learned how to herd pigs. I have heard the story of the Prodigal Son so many times that as much as I love pigs, the thought of my son going to school to herd pigs was a bit conflicting.

At the same time, I think the ag plot is a great ice breaker for the kids and I’m sure bonding with the animals must diffuse a bit of teenage angst. However, the ag plot is an active farm…a business. So, this meant that he was herding the pigs up for them to go to market. The next day, they were herding the pigs up for other activities, which should also improve the bottom line. He’s certainly getting an education!

Meanwhile, on Friday when I went to pick our daughter up from the station, she was lugging a black case…the Baritone Horn. She has joined the school band. She wanted to learn the trumpet but they were all taken so she’s learning the Baritone instead.

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As you may appreciate, the Baritone is not a small instrument and being Mum, I couldn’t help wondering about the logistics of this instrument. How was Miss going to lug that thing to and from school on the train? Evidently, she could lift the thing but I was starting to equate it to a suitcase and I well remember the International luggage limit of 20kg. Alright, so I exaggerate. You know I’m good at that! The horn doesn’t weigh that much but it’s still heavy.

Anyway, out comes the Baritone. She plays it and I’m struck by the size of the thing versus the size of the girl and while she says it sounds like an elephant, her brother says it sounds like something else. Yes, of course, I laughed. The bad mother laughed. Just like my mother’s family laughed when her clarinet squeaked and she never played it in public again. Family might build you up but they can just as surely bring you down!

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You can see some of our framed family portraits reflected in the Baritone. Looks quite intriguing and something to work on.

I’ve since photographed our budding Baratonist and discovered a new toy. I have always loved photographing reflective surfaces and the Baritone could well be a lot of fun. I know you’re probably supposed to photograph a brass instrument without reflections but they were so intriguing.

So, it’s been quite an intriguing week. I never quite know where Mum’s taxi will take me but it’s certainly been an incredible ride!

How has your week been? What have you been up to? I’m looking forward to popping round and catching up!

Thanks so much for joining me for coffee!

This has been part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly linkup hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing School Spectacular.

As I mentioned in my previous post, our daughter performed with her school choir at School Spectacular last weekend. As most of you live overseas, I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to “School Spec”…the extravaganza of a lifetime!

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The Marching Band Performing Outside.

Held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the 2015 Schools Spectacular involved 3,600 performers from more than 400 public schools. Fifty-one featured artists were joined by 2,000 dancers and a 1500-voice choir. You can just imagine how that all looked under lights!

The 2015 theme—This is our World—reflected the dreams and hopes of young people through the medium of music and dance.

The Schools Spectacular is a real melting pot involving students of varying ages, cultures, skills and socio-economic backgrounds, hailing from country, metropolitan and isolated regions of NSW.

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Miss Spectacular

Our daughter performed with the Combined Choir, under Choral Director Ian Jefferson. They accompanied featured artists right throughout the night, performing 30 songs complete with actions after an intensive rehearsal schedule. I was getting tired just watching them but although a few fell asleep before the finale, most of them just kept going and going and going like the famed Eveready bunny.

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The Combined Choir during the Finale. This was around 11.00 PM and they were still going!

As you’d expect, the usual platitudes get rolled out at these events and yet there is such truth. Saying that being in School Spectacular is something you’ll never forget isn’t just rhetoric. It’s so true. Moreover, it really does give the kids the experience of what it means to perform in a big, professional production what with grueling rehearsal schedules, being on time and being part of a team. They are also touched by the more experienced performers and absorb their experience like thirsty sponge.

I should also mention that it doesn’t take long to realise that School Spec isn’t just about showcasing young talent. It’s also about promoting Public Education and showing off all it has to offer. That it isn’t second best.

As a creative person myself from a family of musical performers, what I do know is that it’s not always easy to get that opportunity to perform and like writers getting published, for many musicians they’re desperate to be heard. Have that venue and feel the exhilaration of performing in front of such a large, vibrant crowd…the thrill!

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The Finale.

If you are local, School Spectacular will be televised on Saturday 7.00 PM and you can look out for Miss Speck-tacular among the sea of white shirts.

xx Rowena