Day 13

It’s hard to believe that today is our last day here, we’ve had so much fun, met so many people, taken part in far to many events to recal all of them and learnt so much from everyone.

Today has been fairly relaxed but still filled with fun and excitement.

This morning the young musicians headed off to Fremantle for didgeridoo lessons! They were all given the chance to try out this amazing instrument, whilst it’s not native to the west coast of Australia, it was still great fun!

Sharda Pattasar and friends performed on the Community Stage in the Commonwealth people’s space a real honour for them and they lived up to it spectacularly! They have been great fun to meet and we really hope to meet up with them all again soon!

Pete Banks had to take the PA back to Ashton Admor who had kindly hired it to us over the last week. Before running around the town looking after various groups of our ROSL soloists who were practising for the CHoGM Church service on Sunday morning which all the dignitaries will be attending.

In the evening, Peter Banks and Yelian He had arranged for the whole group to head down to the next door hotel to perform for their guests (in exchange for a good evening and some food!) However, as you may be seeing on the news, Qantas airlines have completely grounded every flight available and so the hotel was packed with camera crews (looking for tearful, sorrowful passengers no doubt!) and other stranded members of the public who had the chance to hear some fantastic impromptu performances from our young musicians, potentially performing together for the last time!

Our young musicians are now packing ready for their onward journey and watching a film all together! We’ve had a really fantastic week and there are so many different events that we’ve enjoyed! Some of our many highlights have included…

  • Trinity College
    • Meeting their young musicians at their BBQ on the first night
    • Performing to their juniors and year 8’s
    • Bringing together a string ensemble
    • Playing with their Jazz band!
    • Yelian He learning to play the drums!
  • Performing at Willerton Senior High
  • Visiting Fremantle
  • Performing all together at the Youth Forum Closing Ceremony
  • Learning from all the international musicians present!
    • Joseph Aquilina (Malta)
    • Cecilia De Maria (Malta)
    • Les Neish (UK)
    • Yelian He (Australia)
    • Sri Mahligai (Singapore)
    • Sharda Patasar and Friends (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Les Neish’s Carnival of Venice
  • Visiting wildlife parks
  • Getting to know new friends
  • Learning about aboriginal culture
  • Performing as part of the Song for Perth services
  • Unveiling the tree of life sculpture
  • The Royal Over-Seas League dinner
  • Meeting the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago
  • Being a part of the Carers day at the Princess Margaret children’s Hospital
  • Yelian He’s Julie – o
  • The Concerto from Yelian He with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
  • Card Games into the night!!!
  • Mr Banks’ brilliant driving skills
  • The trip to Kalamunda
    • Meeting Tony and Faith
    • Being introduced to the Australian outback by Tony
    • Visiting the Kalamunda History Centre
    • Performing at the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre to a full house
  • Performing at City Gate Hotel for stranded passengers!
This list is by certainly not exhaustive and there are so many more things that individuals have done, and small groups have taken part in!!

Tomorrow the onward journey commences for the group, Chethams are off to Sydney and Melbourne, Purcell are heading back to London and on Sunday Cecilia De Maria and Joseph Aquilina are both heading home with Sharda Patasar and our ROSL soloists are continuing their tours of Australia on Sunday.

Whilst I have a chance…

This will most likely be my final major diary post, I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings or found them in some way useful!! Thankyou for reading and do check back for the final pictures and fundraising events when we return to the UK!

Many thanks & Goodnight

Peter

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Day 12

Having been here 12 days, we have finally started learning more about the Aboriginal people of the area.  last week Trinity College had put us in contact with Philip, a member of the Nyoongar people who travels the world giving amazing presentations and performances about his people and culture. We were honoured to be given a welcome to his land and he gave a fascinating explanation of the culture and beliefs of the Aboriginal people. He also talked with us about their music and the culture and beliefs surrounding their music. It was amazing to learn about their songlines and the way that traditional instruments have travelled around the country.

From a personal perspective, I really enjoyed the introduction to the instruments as we were surrounded by the Harold Boas Gardens which is a beautiful area of greenery just outside our apartments. It was amazing to be taught about the nature and the way that people have lived with nature for nearly 50,000 years in the beauty of the outdoor space, with flowers in bloom and birds flying low over our heads as we were taught Nyoongar songs.

After lunch the team walked down to the Wesley Church in the City Centre to perform for the Song of the People service.

The group performed in the service and two of our young musicians read readings throughout the service. We were joined by The Winthrop Singers, a choir of 20 university students, who sang several items which were arranged by their own members! We were really impressed by this group which has only been going for a few years, their sound beautiful and we were really pleased to be able to hear their music.

Our Trinidad group, Sharda Patasar and friends closed the service which had tracked the history of the Commonwealth through music and text and scripture.

This evening the group went out to Northbridge to find somewhere to eat. It’s been a really pleasant evening and although we only have one final day we are really looking forward to another trip to Fremantle.

Day 11 from the other side…

The group not involved in the CHOGM Youth Forum closing ceremony went on a fabulous day trip to Yanchep National Park, about an hour’s drive north of Perth city. This was a great opportunity for all involved to see something of the bushland and indigenous wildlife. The Chets staff hired a minibus for the day and we all set off up Waneroo Road in search of koalas and kangaroos! We were all delighted to see a beautiful day begin to emerge out of a fairly grey start as we ventured northwards and by the time we arrived at Yanchep, the weather was warm and sunny.

We headed straight for koala boardwalk, where 11 koalas are to be found – usually asleep up trees (a diet of purely eucalyptus leaves contains no carbohydrate so they have zero energy and sleep for 20-21 hours a day!), although Mr Oliver managed to film an unusually active little chap darting up a tree!

After a leisurely picnic by the lake taking in the wonderful array of colourful birds all around, we headed over to the crystal caves and had a great guided tour through the glistening caverns only discovered relatively recently as the native aboriginal Nyoongar people believed that evil spirits dwelt in caves and therefore left them well alone.

The 3pm koala talk drew us back over to the boardwalk and Bruce (!) our ranger was informative and entertaining – a few gross koala facts thrown in! We then walked around the wetlands trail, a bush walk which took us through some extraordinary native landscapes, in which we saw snakes and spiders and a very friendly grey kangaroo!

At the end of the trail we found the green area by the lake where we had earlier had our picnic overtaken with families of kangaroos, including several who had joeys in their pouches and a very little fellow clearly only just up to hopping!

On our way home we took a detour over to the ocean at Burns beach and spent half an hour or so until sunset enjoying the white beach and coast path alongside the shore.

We got back just in time for takeaway pizza and Singaporean entertainment – all much-needed after a brilliant long day out!

Pictures on the way…

Day 11

One of the highlights of the Perth trip was today’s Commonwealth Youth Forum in Fremantle. This morning, a small contingent of our young musicians along with all of our groups, Maltese Harpist Cecilia De Maria and ROSL cello soloist Yelian He went across to Fremantle a really delightful seaside town at the mouth of the Swan River which we visited on Day 3

Sri Mahgli, our Singaporean group had taught the group a folk song which the rest of the musicians arranged to fit the instrumentation of Harp, Violin, Cello, Flute, Guitar, Sri Mahgli and Sharda Pattasar & Band. The piece was arranged specially for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2011. The closing ceremony was attended by the Commonwealth deputy secretary, MP for western Australia, many delegates and nearly 100 delegates.

It was a very exciting and colourful event and was fun to perform at.

The members of the The Commonwealth Resounds! who weren’t involved with the Youth Forum went on a bit of a road trip! More details to be announced by Sarah Noon soon…

This evening saw our Singaporean group, Sri Mahligai give a farewell performance at our City Stay apartments to the Singaporeans of Perth. They gave us the opportunity to sample Singaporean food and enjoy their company before they fly back home tomorrow.

Its been lovely to get to work with Sri Mahligai over the last week and hear their music.

Day 10

Having been on Perth for 10 days and carrying out nearly 20 events so far it is amazing that the whole group has not yet been split up. Today however was a time for us to show off our logistical expertise! With 4 events not only back to back or overlapping but at the same time!

Early in the morning the Royal Over-Seas League soloists had a chance to rehearse for a new composition by one of the young musicians. There was also time for some of our young musicians to rehearse items and prepare for the next few days ahead!

After lunch, some of the young musicians departed to work with Perth modern school, just up the road from our apartments. The rest of the group left for Fremantle to rehearse for the closing ceremony of the commonwealth youth forum. Our Trinidad group taught the group a piece and 14 musicians will be performing it together during the closing ceremony of the CYF tomorrow afternoon.

At around 1 this morning (Perth time!) Alison Cox was woken by an official asking if the Trinidad group could play for the prime minister at a function tonight! So, the band went off this evening with myself (as technician) and met the Prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, who was an amazing person. It was a real honour to meet the prime minister she had such presence and spoke brilliantly.

The ROSL Soloists were also in action tonight with some of our young musicians at the ROSL gala dinner, the young musicians were invited to the Royal Over-Seas League CHoGM Dinner. There were also some lucky ones who are able to take evening off!!!!

Pictures of today will follow soon…

Tomorrow looks like it

Day 9

We’ve spent the day doing a wide variety of different things! The morning we walked to St Margaret’s Children’s Hospital to take part in their carers day.

The day was a real eye opener and very moving. It started with one carer describing her journey, which was very moving and really opened our eyes to how important it is to look after everyone involved not just those that are most obviously in need.

After the talks the group performed a couple of very short items. Our Maltese contingent, Joseph Aquilina and Cecilia De Maria, both performed beautifully before the day moved into the main carers day exhibition area. This was where our Trinidad and Singaporean groups both performed. It was the first day that we have been able to use the PA from Ashton Admor to its max and it worked fantastically well. Both groups were really pleased with the result and the buzz in the room created by these two amazing groups was incredible.

Whilst the two groups were playing the young musicians from Chethams and Purcell went to play to the Children’s Wards. This has generated so many memories not only for the children on the wards but also our young musicians who have been reliving the moments that they’ve had with the children ever since.

After walking back, the evening consisted of one of the most important events on the tour, the Commonwealth Festival Gala Concert with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra.

The young musicians were invited to the pre concert reception and were also invited to perform for the VIP guests. The concert itself included our ROSL soloist Yelian He who performed Haydn’s second Cello concerto, which was also broadcast live nationally on ABC classic FM!

Tomorrow the young musicians are heading to Perth Modern school whilst the soloists are going to be collaborating with our Singaporeans on a large-scale joint piece to be performed later in the week…