Tag Archives: Sydney Opera House

Watching Crowded House.

Last Saturday night, Crowded House performed live on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

Unfortunately, we missed it, but the concert was televised ABC TV on Sunday night and we were all parked in front of the TV reminiscing with Neil Finn and the band. Indeed, they were playing in our very own lounge room. Weren’t we lucky!!

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Neil Finn

In case you haven’t heard of Crowded House, it’s an Australian rock band. It was formed in 1985 by  New Zealander Neil Finn and Australians Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. They were later joined by Neil’s older brother, Tim Finn. Both Neil and Tim Finn hailed from Split Enz.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a band person and there have never been any bands I’ve hero worshipped, longing for their next album. However, there were favourite songs, which I’ll never forget, but you probably need to be 40 something or over to know any of these.That said, I can mention Electric Blue by Icehouse without embarrassing myself.

Anyway, getting back to Crowded House…

I got quite a rush hearing many of the old Crowded House songs again. Not that I could’ve picked them as Crowded House. Yet, the songs were very familiar like running into an old friend. Crowded House was always there.

Actually, I’m quite grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to reconnect with Crowded House now and intend to buy their CD. Well, at least a CD. No doubt, they’ve put out more than one. It will be joining me in the car. I do a lot of driving!

So, having confessed that I’m anything but a Crowded House expert, I’m obviously breaking the most fundamental rule of writing… writing about something I know very little about. While I understand that this could be my undoing given there are  obsessive fans who know each and every hair on their heads.

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Tim & Neil Finn

However, there can also be a different kind of story. More of a getting to know you, dipping my little toe into the waters and sharing the journey kind of story. Moreover, while many people would be interested in pulling their music apart , I found myself watching and absorbing the band as people.There was something intangible about each of them which really touched me.  They all came across as really interesting, warm and genuine people with a very strong sense of something like a cross between empathy and compassion. I’d really like to sit on a beach watching the moon rise listening to these guys talk. Not about the band, being in a band or being a star but to hear their philosophical observations of life. I could sense wisdom, which isn’t a trait I usually attribute to band members but it was there. I know it was there.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I came across these quotes from Neil Finn:

“I try to put myself into unusual and difficult situations as often as I can in order to capture the element of struggle in the music.”

-Neil Finn

“So I think rather than being attracted so much now to working with my heroes, I’m sort of more attracted to working with completely unlikely strangers because it’s more exciting really.”

-Neil Finn

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Tim Finn…you could really tell he was having a blast!

There were also some poignant quotes from his older brother, Tim Finn:

“True contentment comes with empathy.”

Tim Finn

“Weave me a rope that will pull me through these impossible times.”

Tim Finn

“I’m a live performer and I love playing live.”

Tim Finn

Anyway, on that note I’ll leave you with a few songs:

 

Enjoy!

Crowded House: Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Do you have a favourite Crowded House song? What is it?
I find it hard to pick out of these three.
xx Rowena
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The End.

Sydney Harbour Ferry…Not A Cloud in the Sky.

Yesterday, we went on an epic adventure to Sydney’s Mosman Bay…a journey taking 2.5 hours, two trains and a ferry across Sydney Harbour.

Of course, I wanted to share our ferry trip with you…especially as many of you have not been Down Under and experienced the magic first hand and like me, make the most of “vicarious experience”.

I love catching the ferry around Sydney Harbour and was also looking forward to catching up with my extended family.

Meanwhile, I should also point out that Geoff was working which left me playing Sargeant-Major getting the troops to the station, changing trains and onto the ferry on time. Move over Gomer Pyle, it was time for me to become Sargent Carter of “Move it! Move it! Move it!” and “You knucklehead” fame.

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Live “Statue” at Circular Quay. How does he do it???

However, when it comes to losing this plot, the kids weren’t the only antagonists in the cast. I also had to factor in the biggest question mark of the lot…the Rowie Factor.

When it comes to the Rowie Factor, there is no explanation. No rhyme or reason. The Rowie factor is like that spooky relative you keep locked up in the closet well away from the public gaze, but always seems to find their way out. Right at the very worst possible moment, they appear giving a huge, enthusiastic wave. OMG!!!! Your spirit sinks like a stone.

WHY????? WHAT THE?????

However, yesterday the Rowie Factor was in a benevolent mood and actually did good…Alleluia!

The Rowie Factor is pretty good at that too. There’s no middle ground. Only extremely good or crushingly bad.

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Sydney Ferry Supply

So, there we are finally onboard our ferry…Supply.  Acquired in 1984, Supply is one of 9 single-ended First Fleet Class catamarans, which mainly operate in the inner harbour.

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After moving out of Circular Quay, our ferry heads due East past Sydney Opera House, leaving the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind. Being the weekend with good winds and a cloudless sunny sky, we spot quite a few good sized yachts and a flotilla of smaller craft as we pass other ferries. The kids lean right up against the bow with their hair blowing in the wind and I thank God this isn’t The Titanic and they can recreate that famous scene without the ferry hitting a very, very lost iceberg and sinking to the very depths of Sydney Harbour.

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A Yacht on Sydney Harbour.

The ferry pulls into Cremorne Point and I must admit I’m feeling a little anxious because I’ve only been on this ferry route once before and my doubts start to inflate, getting larger and larger as I second guess everything turning the details into question marks and I am in full reassurance mode. Besides, if I do get lost in typical Rowie fashion, I have my phone and can ring for assistance. After all, it’s not like we’re the first Europeans visiting this place and there’s no one to call. Mind you, I question whether you can really get lost if you haven’t found where you’re going yet…

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Anyway, as we pull into Cremorne Point I hear someone calling my name and waving out to me. It’s my cousin from interstate. At first, I thought she must’ve been coming to lunch but it was all pure coincidence. She was returning to her old stomping ground and also happened to have the afternoon free so came and joined us for lunch. Call it serendipity, meant to be, whatever. This had to be more than coincidence and I think you’d need a supercomputer to calculate the odds of us meeting up.

Meeting my cousin was such an unexpected surprise. I was stoked! (That said, I had to marvel at how the unexpected synchronised so well when the planned can go so horribly wrong!!)

Anyway, we had a fabulous afternoon meeting up with family and Geoff met us there after work and later drove us home.

These are a few night shots of Mosman Bay, which Geoff took just before leaving.

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Mosman Bay by Night. Photo Geoff Newton. Note Sydney Tower on the left.

Have you ever been to Sydney? Do you have any special memories and I’d love you to add links to your posts.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share 27th August, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share, brought to you this week from the Sydney Opera House, where our daughter played her violin this week. 10 year old Miss, performed at the  Festival of Instrumental Music with her school. This is such a great opportunity opening up this world-class architectural and performance icon to kids..a experience they’ll never forget.

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Sydney Opera House

Take it from me, it’s a lot harder to perform there as an adult. No one’s been banging on my door, offering performance opportunities. Of course, I have to be an absolute maestro to perform at the Opera House. That said, I did consider trying to sneak in with my daughter. The only trouble is that I’m so tall, I’d immediately be evicted and sent to violinists’ prison.

What goes without saying with all these performances and kids’ activities in general is that Mum or Dad are automatic taxi drivers. As much as we might rate a “thanks very much to Mum’s and Dad’s at the end, the kids themselves usually don’t seem to appreciate our “supreme sacrifice”. You can read here  about how we got to the Sydney Opera House.

However, I was very touched by an interview with one of the performers at the concert.  When a pint-sized student from Currabubula Public School near Tamworth, was asked how he got to the Opera House, he simply replied: “by my Mum.” While the interviewer was angling to find out more about his mode of transport and create a bit of a story of the country kid travelling to the big smoke, for this young man there was only one way to get to Sydney…his Mum and the car was incidental. His Mum drove him five hours, so he could play his recorder at the Sydney Opera House. No doubt, they talked and chatted along the way and there could well have been “electronic relief”. Yet, they made that journey to the Sydney Opera House together…a trip they’d never forget.

I could’ve hugged this young man. While he wasn’t acknowledging me personally, I felt he acknowledged every parent in the room.

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By the way, I should also mention that I had a novel experience getting to the Opera House myself. I usually request an accessible seat, especially in a large overwhelming venue and the Sydney Opera House is as famous for its stairs as the white sails. So, when the only accessible seat was a wheelchair seat and the Opera House could lend me a chair, I gave it a go. It was the first time that I’ve gone out to a public venue in a chair. It totally exceeded my expectations and the staff were incredibly courteous and helpful. I received five star VIP treatment and you can read about it here.

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Geoff and Miss at Starbucks, Circular Quay, near Sydney Opera House.

What with all the excitement of the performance, I almost forgot to share that I went to Starbucks for the first time. Our daughter adores Starbucks, which totally baffles me because I much prefer local cafes and there were some truly amazing dessert sensations at cafes all around Circular Quay and the standard is incredibly high. To me, the cakes at Starbucks were more like milk bar fare and our carrot cake was stale. We sent it back and changed it for a caramel swirl cheesecake which was marginally better than average and we stopped off at the Guylian Chocolate cafe and bought something special to take home. I’ve warned my daughter we will NOT be returning to Starbucks!

By the way, Starbucks hasn’t done well in Australia. You might like to read this article written in 2008 about it’s demise.

After the excitement of the Sydney Opera House, I spent much of the week resting and reading. I’ve started reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This is the first book in her autobiographical series and it’s a real eye-opener for me as a white Australian. Of course, I know racism exists but it’s quite another thing to read about how it acts out in such personal details and what the KKK lynchings meant to these families. Of course, I knew these things happened from a historical perspective but it’s quite another thing to be drawn into that world and know what it meant. That these were husbands, fathers, sons and like the road toll which loses much of it’s true impact, each person who’s life was stolen away was a travesty. I am grateful that Maya Angelou has taken me into this world and expanded my understanding without being bitter or turning to inverse racism. She is not well known in Australia and we’ve really been missing out.

Ballet Get-Your-Leg-Extension-Intro

Thursday night, I had my adult ballet class. This was week 3 and just like a Lego bricks, the steps are building up. Not quite as up in the air as in the picture, but give it time. I still haven’t pulled off a pirouette but I’m getting closer. A swag of new French terms is also slowly infiltrating my consciousness. Even though I studied French at school, many of these terms fly over my head like birds and disappear out the window. Thanks to Google, I’ve been trawling through a ballet dictionary to help them sink in and have also been interrogating my daughter, who holds our family pirouette record of 4 pirouettes in stockings on a vinyl floor.

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Main Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House.

Before I head off for another week, I want to congratulate our son for enjoying his sister’s violin concert at the Sydney Opera House. He often ends up being audience at her various performances and attends without complaint, falling asleep and I feel it’s important to acknowledge the importance of audience, without which we wouldn’t be needing performers. He’s also been home sick a few days this week but seems to be on the mend.

How has your week been? I hope it’s been a good one.

Sorry, I almost forgot to let you know about Poets for Peace which is calling for contributions. Deadline is August 31st, 2016 and I encourage you to take part. Here’s a brief blurb:

“In response to the recent unceasing, and, in fact escalating global violence, we have seen and felt a corresponding surge in poetry about it.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your thoughts and feelings, a piece of yourself, to add to other Poets from around the world. We are hopeful that the combined weight of our collective spirit and wisdom will be felt worldwide as well.

The only restriction is that absolutely no hate is expressed other than the hate of violence. Any and all words will be appended to the running poem. This is not about ego, so you retain the rights to your creation, we are only interested in doing what we can to stop the violence.

Please share your poetry and your platform to spread the word for Poets everywhere to unite in this effort we are calling, “Poets for Peace.”Hashtag #PoetsForPeace

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click the Linky   to read the other posts.

Love & best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wheely Good Night at the Sydney Opera House.

On Monday night, I not only watched our daughter perform at the Sydney Opera House, it was the first time I’ve gone out as a disabled person in a wheelchair and I can’t tell you how encouraged I feel by the experience. It truly opened doors for me, making it so much easier to relax, have a great night out and do what I was there for. That is, to hear my daughter play her violin without any unexpected medical nightmares… even if I couldn’t see her!

As a person with limited mobility, if all goes well, I can get around okay and usually use a walking stick in unfamiliar and crowded environments. I have what’s known as “an invisibility”, meaning that most of the time, you can’t see anything’s going on. However, these symptoms fluctuate dramatically so it can be hard to predict how I’ll be at a given point in time. Indeed, I was simply walking on grass when I broke my foot. Knowing that “being the hero” can have serious consequences, I’m understandably cautious about participating in seemingly everyday activities…such as getting to the Sydney Opera House. As such, I often end up staying home.

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However, there was no way I was going to miss our daughter playing her violin at the Sydney Opera House. No way on this earth!

However, if you have ever marvelled at the Sydney Opera House, you’ll note those stunning white sails are perched on top of a huge mountain of stairs. Of course, architecturally speaking, the effect is very dramatic.They’re also a photographer’s dream. I’ve seen intense portraits of lone performers sitting on those stairs with that same sense of abandonment you’d recall from Princess Diana’s portrait taken at the Taj Mahal.

As striking as these stairs might be, for anyone with mobility, health issues, or even a lack of fitness, those stairs are insurmountable. Although I can walk, I’d need an oxygen tank, not to mention a Sherpa, to help me get to the top. Even if I did miraculously make it to the summit, I’d be off in an ambulance and straight to the ER.

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The Stairs…the dark side of getting to the Sydney opera House. A selfie on a good day.

Yet, while I’m prone to catastrophising, I knew I didn’t have to get up those stairs. That’s because public venues must have disabled access…even if it can be difficult to locate. When I attended School Spectacular at the Sydney Entertainment Centre last year, I was told to take the stairs, even though I was standing there with my walking stick. This particular person seemingly thought I could sprout a pair of wings and magically fly to my seat. Naturally, this meant that instead of having a good experience, I found myself defending accessibility rights when I wasn’t there as an activist. I was there to watch my daughter perform. Thankfully, someone else was more helpful.

After that, it’s hardly surprising that I want to sing my praises of Sydney Opera House staff right across the rooftops when everything went so well. We had VIP treatment all the way, and even the road lit up to greet us. What more could I ask?

I didn’t think about all of this when I booked myself in for a wheelchair seat. I always need an aisle seat and easy access in and out but get by with my walking stick and an accessible seat. However, these had sold out. The box office suggested this wheelchair spot, saying the Opera House could provide a wheelchair. I wasn’t entirely comfortable that I warranted a wheelchair. While I know people who use wheelchairs and can walk and how it enables them to do more, I’d never tried it out before. If I wasn’t doing well, I stayed home.

So, our trip to the Opera House, would also give us the opportunity to test out how a wheelchair went in public situations without having to BYO.

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Driving in to park at the Sydney Opera House

Our experience began with booking an accessible parking spot at the Opera House. It wasn’t free but it meant we could park right out the front with very little walking required. What it also meant was that we received the VIP treatment. We drove along Macquarie Street to the security gate, where the road was blocked off by a row of very sturdy metal bollards. As you could imagine, security is very tight. No more of this “G’day mate, it’s Fred” business. We had to show my disabled parking permit and my receipt to get through the gate. Then, like magic, the bollards electronically sunk into the ground and a row of recessed lights turned on. This was our road to the Opera House. By now, I was in my virtual limo pulling out the royal wave. It’s about time somebody treated mobility challenged people as VIPs, instead of outcasts!

After detouring for dinner, we returned to pick up the wheelchair and begin the journey to find our seats. The performance was in the Main Concert Hall and side-wheeling a gazillion stairs, we were personally escorted by staff along corridors, though multiple lifts via the bathroom. Once we’d finally reached our seats, we were greeted by a staff member asking: “You’re Rowena?”

Every single member of staff was courteous, friendly and respectful. I can’t tell you how that made me feel. It’s warmed my heart right to the core…a night we will never forget. Not just because our daughter was playing her violin at the Sydney Opera House, but because we were given the touch of human kindness, acceptance and understanding without it being a chore, something noble or even being “special”.

It just was.

Just like it ought to be!

What more could I ask for?!!

Concert Hall

Well, there was the small matter of needing someone to push my wheelchair. I don’t have the muscle strength to push my own chair. Not unsurprisingly, my husband was the wind beneath my wheels. Geoff’s Mum was in a wheelchair, so he has had experience. This is a good thing because wheelchairs can be notoriously difficult to operate, not unlike recalcitrant shopping trolleys with minds and travel destinations all of their own. Indeed, turning back the clock, Geoff’s mother fell out of the wheelchair when they went round a corner at Brisbane’s Expo88. I think he lost his licence after that and was put on a good behaviour bond!

Anyway, he got his licence back again last night…especially working with a difficult passenger who kept putting her foot on the wheels…not to mention bathroom stops up and down the lifts.

There was just one bit of explaining. We’d met a few other performing families during the day when I was walking round seemingly okay with the stick. Now, I was suddenly in a wheelchair. One lot had only seen us 5 minutes beforehand and thought I’d had an accident. They were all very understanding and had no dramas that I could walk and use a wheelchair all in one day.

Wouldn’t it be great if the rest of the world could be so understanding? Yet, you could say it was a Eureka Moment finally reaching that understanding myself after living with dermatomyositis for the last 10 years and struggling with the whole concept of using equipment!

I don’t know if there’s some quote about it being easy to change the whole world but more difficult to change yourself. If there isn’t, there should be and that’s where real change begins!

So perhaps you’ll be seeing more of me in wheels. Not because I’m getting worse but because I’m getting better.

Have you ever ventured out in a wheelchair or similar and how did it go? What sort of accessibility problems have you had or moments like mine where it all went well? Please share.

xx Rowena

 

Festival of Instrumental Music, Sydney Opera House.

On Monday night, our daughter performed in the Combined String Ensemble at the Festival of Instrumental Music 2016 at Sydney Opera House.While a professional music critic might discuss the repertoire or wax lyrically about the wonders of Public Education, this is a parent’s perspective…the views of Mum-on-seat.

As soon as every parent entered the Main Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, they had one thought on their minds…spotting their little darling. This was no easy task either given the sea of recorder players. I don’t know how many recorder players there were but it might have been a thousand. Maybe even two. To make matters worse for parents unable to find their own, there were enthusiastic waves and smiles from kids who’d spotted their loved ones…just to make you feel even worse….a sense of desperate loss…where are they?

In desperate scenes reminiscent of losing your child at the Sydney Easter Show in the huge, amorphous throng, the poor usher was being inundated by anxious parents: “I can’t find my child.” I was surprised the stage wasn’t swarming with cops, detectives and sniffer dogs hunting these kids down, so these kids would finally give their xparents a wave and put them out of their misery.

Well, when it came to finding our daughter, we couldn’t even find her instrument. We were surrounded by recorder players on all fronts, but could only spot much older students with strings and they weren’t wearing the T-shirt. Miss had really outsmarted me and the camera this time and taken 250 string players with her. Now, this really was looking like a case for the Police.

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The Combined String Ensemble.

Well, it turned out that the Combined String Ensemble was a featured performance and they’d come out onto the stage during the second half. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see our daughter at all but we at least saw some violins and had a close-up view of the cellos and double-bass. I wasn’t expecting to see her, but it would’ve been fabulous.

After all, we went through this last year when she performed at School Spectacular. She was but a speck in the huge multi-school choir and we had to watch the TV coverage on slow-mo to even catch a glimpse.

By the way, if you’re a parent, grandparent or some other form of child taxi driver, have you ever stopped to consider what you’ve learned along the way and how through being this supposedly passive background person, you’ve also been  inevitably extended in some way?

Five years ago, I took up the violin to help our daughter get started. She stopped but I kept going and she only came back to it at the start of this year and has worked pretty hard to get herself Opera House ready.

However, that wasn’t all. As I’ve sat in the audience watching her and other students perform at the Sydney Town Hall, School Spectacular at the Sydney Entertainment Centre,  now the Sydney Opera House and even at the local school, I am being embraced by all that music. I am hearing instruments I’d never think of going to see and my awareness, understanding and love of music has grown exponentially. I have started going to more concerts and have been taking my kids, sowing all kinds of seeds. Seeds, which may not germinate or bear fruit today or tomorrow, but one day, note will follow note…either as a player or equally important, as audience.

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Moreover, music touches our souls in ways so far beyond words and expression. We can leap for joy or perhaps find solace in a more sensitive, reflective piece. It can also unlock and release our inner junk and garbage, like releasing the minotaur out of the labyrinth

After all, music was never meant to be a chore…even if we do need to practice, practice, practice to find our way to the Opera House.

It is meant to set us free.

And to think this journey all started out, simply by driving Mum’s taxi.

xx Rowena

Getting to Sydney Opera House.

There’s an old joke about the Sydney Opera House:

Q: How do you get to the Sydney Opera House?

A: You practice! Practice! Practice!

However, as much as kids might practice and dream of performing at the Sydney Opera House, they also need transport…the wind beneath their wings. That takes a dedicated support crew: teachers, parents, grandparents or perhaps they could also phone a friend.

Perhaps, even all of the above.

It also takes considerable organisation and project management skills and, of course, a capable Project Manager. Ideally, you’re child would be consulting a recruitment agency to find a suitable candidate. Someone willing to drive them all over the known universe for nothing, while organising their tight schedule and performance requirements… again, free of charge.  However, unless your child’s robbed a bank or is dealing in drugs, they’ll have to take their chances with Mum and Dad.

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That’s how I ended up in charge  of our daughter’s  Sydney Opera House Violin Campaign. If you’ve read about  my trials and tribulations driving her to rehearsal in Newcastle Newcastle, you’d know that love doesn’t conquer all. That no matter how much someone loves you, they can’t always pull a rabbit out of a hat.That said, where there’s a will there’s a way, and with needing to get the four of us and my parents to the Opera House, I drew up a minute by minute schedule and from the 6 corners of the globe, I managed to get all of us there early with everyone where they were meant to be.

This was no mean feat.

Our son had to be dropped off at school. Then, I swung back home and helped Miss get ready. Made sure the violin and bow were in their case. Shoes polished. Nail polish gone. Lunch and water packed. While none of these details had anything to do with her playing abilities, they were almost as important.

Meanwhile, the phone rang. Our son had left his PE gear at home. Could I drop it off? So, on the way to the station, I detoured via  the school. No dramas. I can drive all over the countryside. I only have a child performing at the Sydney Opera House with her teacher waiting in the second carriage on the train. No doubt, they’d have to keep going if we weren’t there. However, with 45 minutes allocated for a 15 minute drive, I was prepared. I could be Super Mum dropping off PE gear in a single bound. I could take on the world!

Finally, Miss and her violin were on the way to the Opera House. Everything else was secondary.

I barely had time to walk in the door, when I was back out again to pick our son up from school. At least, he managed two classes and what with the very late night, I doubted he’d be at school the next day. Not knowing where to park the car near the station so late in the day, we decided to walk around the corner and catch the bus. I hate catching anything that isn’t on rails. I figure if you’ve got a track, something has to turn up some time but a bus just seems a little too open to possibilities, even though my husband catches the bus every day and swears they’re on time.

Yet, while my son and I are waiting, a bus pulls up a short distance from our stop, parks and then posts a “Not In Service” sign. We were early, so I figured the driver was having a short break. However, then he steps out. Lights a cigarette and seems to be thinking about the future of the human race as he takes his time puffing away. Then, he pulls out a thermos and is slowly sipping away on goodness knows what. By this stage, all my nonchalance is gone. I’m checking my watch every second and this is when my son asks which bus number where catching and the details are on my schedule in my bag but I hadn’t planned on this bus to nowhere turning up, throwing a spanner in the works. The bus was meant to turn the corner and stop after we’d enthusiastically flagged it down. I started hoping there would be another bus. There had to be. The driver had now pulled out a sandwich and looked like he was having a Sunday picnic. I was so tense I could’ve  snapped into tiny bits and pieces of anxious terror. I started thinking about driving instead, but checked my schedule. The bus was due in two minutes. This is what happens when you’re early. You totally panic and freak yourself out.

Once we were on the bus, I was fine. It was going to meet up seamlessly with our train. My ever-reliable father was going to be waiting at the station wearing his bright yellow yachting jacket and be exactly where he’s meant to be when he’s meant to be there and I would keep choofing onto Circular Quay, arriving a good 1.5 hours before picking up our daughter for her dinner break.Once again, I was prepared and had allocated a good buffer to allow for contingencies.

At the same time, I don’t like these fly-by arrangements. Meeting people on station platforms, leaning out of a particular carriage, is so tenuous and there’s that fleeting, split-second timing you have to get right. What are you going to do if even a single second intervenes and screws everything up? Get off the train? Keep going? Oh! The angst of it all! How it builds up like Vesuvius in my head and then the drama’s over. It all works like clockwork and all that steam and lava go into reverse, without so much as a ripple on the surface.

Of course, my Dad was there. He’s always there.

Meanwhile, my husband had a busy day at work. Instead of catching his train, he’d driven down to work in Sydney. His next job was to drive into the Opera House so he could drive us all home. So, this is where the story shifts gears and the family car becomes  “Dad’s Taxi”.

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Driving in to park at the Sydney Opera House

Geoff isn’t familiar with driving in the city. Moreover, just to complicate matters further, we needed to find somewhere he could stop in Macquarie Street. Even though I’d caught the train in, I needed to be in the car for us to access the disabled parking at the Opera House. After parking the car, he had to get me into the wheelchair, drop our daughter back to her teacher, leaving me sitting in my new found wheelchair thankful he didn’t leave me parked with my nose up against the wall.

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VIP Accessible Parking at the Sydney Opera House.

I don’t know where this hyper-organised person came from, but she did a great job posing as me and all that deep breathing was worth it!

We went through all of these torturous arrangements just so our daughter could play her violin at the Sydney Opera House. Not knowing whether this is the beginning of a longer, more extended journey or just a full stop. But, you have to be there.Take the opportunities as they come.

After all, the sky’s the limit now she’s played at the Sydney Opera House.

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BTW, Geoff took this photo of Miss after her performance. I know I keep rubbing in how mild our Sydney Winters are, but we had 1-2 days of dreadful weather coinciding right with her performance. This meant that we couldn’t get any photos of her standing on the Opera House steps with her violin. However,  we managed to get a couple standing in the freezing cold afterwards just to prove she was there. That she really did play her violin at the Sydney Opera House.

xx Rowena

 

Sydney Opera House…One More Sleep!

Tomorrow night,  our daughter will be performing at the Sydney Opera House at the Acacia Concert, a instrumental performance for NSW public schools.

I am so excited. She is so nervous. It’s such a big thing for anyone to perform at the Sydney Opera House, but what a mix of thrill and nervous torment for a kid.

Moreover, as much as you try to get it right. Be Perfect. I can tell you from personal experience, that violins are notoriously temperamental. Love to be difficult!! When you need to play one string, you play two and vice versa and getting those fingers in the exact spot can be tricky too. Just to make things even more difficult, the kids are performing without music. Yikes!

Fortunately, there’s safety in numbers. She’s playing with a few errors but she’s pretty much nailed it. Nailed the playing. Hopefully, the nerves won’t get to her. Must remind her to enjoy herself and have fun.

I’ll be meeting her for afternoon tea, so I can give her a pep talk then…along with taking her to Starbucks. She loves Starbucks and it’s a real novelty in Australia. I don’t think I’ve ever been. I prefer local cafes.

Anyway, on the eve of her big adventure, I thought I’d share this photo of her when she first took up the violin as a 5 year old. She was so cute!

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Stay tuned. I can’t wait to see her perform and to get my photo of her standing on the Opera House steps. This is so incredibly exciting…yet all the organisation is quite overwhelming and we have such a detailed running sheet. Scary stuff.

On that note, I’d better get back to it.

Wish us all luck. She just needs to perform…the support crew will be madly paddling our feet behind the scenes, like a duck’s feet underwater. It feels like I’m juggling a dozen raw eggs and disaster can strike at any time. Not that I’m catastrophising. Turning a mole hill into a mountain. Definitely not!

Performing at the Sydney Opera House…that’s definitely the top of the mountain. At least, a Kosciusko of a mountain!

Not that I’m about to hit the panic button.

Oh no! The most important role of all for the support crew is to keep calm at all times. Smooth the waves.

Keep Calm and violin on!

Have you ever performed at an intimidating venue and how did it go? Or, have you been the support crew? I’d love to hear how it all went!

xx Rowena