Day 8

Today we were honoured to play for the Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency Malcolm McCusker and his wife Tonya in the unveiling of the tree of life ceremony. The Governor and his family unveiled the beautiful sculpture after our Trinidad group had performed to the people of Perth.

Following the ceremony the two schools performed the background music for the reception in the Wesley church in Perth whilst the Governor and his family met many of the attendees before they came and spoke to all of the TCR resounds performers, it was lovely to hear about the Governors son’s Oboe lessons and it was lovely to see their daughter was particularly interested in the Harp!

The team with the Govenor of Western Australia and his Family

This evening the whole group, soloists, young musicians, Singaporeans, Trinidad group and Maltese Soloists had a wonderful Barbecue (which I managed to burn beautifully!) It was a wonderful chance to welcome all of the parties to Perth and for us all to share some of our music. Of course post Barbecue the young musicians sang again and the Singaporeans, who had just got off the plane, also performed for us!

We can’t wait for tomorrow, we’ll be playing at Princess Margaret’s Children’s Hospital and later Yelian He will be performing the Haydn Cello Concerto as part of the Commonwealth Festival with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra!

Day 7

Today has been a really pleasant and relaxing day in more great Australian Company.

Having already met Anthony Maydwell on Friday night we were looking forward to taking part in another concert organised by him. This time involved heading across to his house in Kalamunda, just east of Perth.

He had very kindly invited us all to lunch at his house followed by a tour of the scrub behind. It was amazing to see some of the native flora and fauna and he was very knowledgable and full of interesting facts about the area.

After a wonderful lunch we were driven to the Kalamunda History Village, a really fascinating look at how Kalamunda has changed over the years and the history of the area.

The concert was at the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre, which contained a fantastic theatre space. After a fairly short rehearsal the whole team gave a concert to a full house! There were so many highlights that it is impossible to list them all, however the Cats Duet returned, by popular demand! All of our international soloists also gave performances Cecelia De Maria & Joseph Aquilina along with our soloists from the Royal Over-Seas league Yelian He and Les Neish.

We really enjoyed our day with Anthony Maydwell who spent the day really looking after us so well.

On our return to Perth a small group of pupils visited Fast Eddies a rather cool little pub / restaurant / bistro which is about two blocks from our appartements and the conversations and laughter are still continuing outside my appartement door even now!

It really has been a fantastic first week!

Day 4

Today we returned to see our friends at Trinity college, a fantastic private school on the other side of Perth to where we are staying. After the wonderful barbecue they treated us to on Monday we were really looking forward to getting back and meeting the whole school.

To start the day, the team split up into sections. Les Neish took the brass away, a small contingent of oboists worked with a member from our team, the wind were taken for a masterclass with three of our young musicians, two of our singers ran a vocal workshop with 4 Trinity singers, Nick Oliver gave a masterclass with the help of several young pianists from the team, Yellian He, with one of our young musicians, took the school cellists and our 4 violinists worked with the school violin teacher, Lena McKenzie, who introduced us to nearly 20 violinists of varying ability from the school!

Having so many violinists was a real treat for both the school and us. In the hour-long session we decided to work on Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, in which members of the team tutored the Trinity College strings in sectionals before putting together a run-through of the piece.

At the end of the masterclass sessions all the young musicians returned to the recital hall in Trinity College to share what they had put together. The session featured Baby Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini, the Corelli, and even a piece for 3 beginner oboists and cor anglais!

The afternoon session started with a concert for the school’s musicians organised by our team. The programme was varied and well filled from Schumann through to the well-known Cat Duet, brilliantly performed by our two soprano soloists, complete with animation and face paint!!! The comedy was finished off in spectacular fashion by Les Neish, our international tuba soloist, performing another fantastic rendition of the Carnival of Venice!

Following this, the group joined the school’s chamber orchestra as they started to prepare Greig’s Holberg Suite. One of the members of the team was even invited to conduct the group for the suite. The TCR team and the Trinity School community both found the session very worthwhile and a real help to all involved.

To Finish the day Alison Cox assembled the composers upstairs in the school’s composition suite to lead a “show and tell” composition masterclass with young composers from Trinity College and experienced young composers from The Commonwealth Resounds team. Whilst this took place a different combination of students from both organisations enjoyed a lively and highly memorable session with the Trinity College Jazz Big Band.

Gary from Trinity College then very kindly drove us to Kings Park, just above CSA, to see Perth from the view-point above there. The panoramic view from the park is simply stunning and it’s absolutely amazing to see such peace right in the middle of a bustling city!

Nick and Sarah are just sorting tonight’s food which should be quite a feast!!!

Day 3

Today has been our first proper free day and its been so much fun! Very few of the team slept well last night as the jetlag has caught us up a little, however, after a hearty breakfast at CSA we walked down to the train station to take a train to Fremantle, a town on the coast just outside Perth.

Upon waking this morning it was clear that the day was going to be a scorcher so as we left it was a real Australian – slip, slop, slap moment! The blue sky above Perth was incredible and I’m afraid the pictures simply do not do it justice!

The Perth train station was at first a little complicated to deal with as it was difficult to find out which zones we were going to, what type of ticket was needed and whether the team was made up of children, students or adults, but having bought tickets we departed on the amazingly frequent (every 15 minute service) to Fremantle. The trains here are fantastic and run very regularly from Perth to locations nearby, we may well be visiting other places by train soon!

Fremantle is a beautiful port city which gave stunning views across to Rottnest Island (which we are very sorry not to be able to visit) and access to the beautiful sandy beaches was very simple when using the excellent CAT busses!

 

The beach at Fremantle

The morning was spent lazing on the beach and paddling on the edge of the Indian Ocean before finding a lovely cafe at the water’s edge to enjoy a cream tea! The team was really surprised by how green the city looks, all the grass was trimmed beautifully and was such a bright green colour we felt guilty just looking at it, let alone walking and lying on it!

 

Taking the team into Fremantle prison

After lunch the team split up and the younger members all headed inland a little to find the famous Fremantle Gaol! This was the last place that prisoners went before they were sent to Rottnest Island. Life inside the prison seemed to be incredibly harsh and it seemed amazing that it was still operating up to 1991.

For supper we had been tipped off by several people that we simply had to have fish and chips on the beach, this seemed to good an idea to pass up so we set off for the sea front again and found Kailis Fish Market Cafe which had the most wonderful views over the sea.

As we were finishing Cecelia (Our Maltese Harpist, who joined the team today!) called us all outside to see the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The team all moved outside to enjoy this sight which was very moving and beautiful

Tomorrow takes us back to see our friends at Trinity College, where we will not only be performing but also leading workshops and sharing experiences with their pupils. We’re really please to be returning to see them after their kindness and company on Monday, and we can’t wait to hear their music and work with them both tomorrow and on Friday!

Please visit Today in Pictures for more about today’s events!

Last night!

Last night the team all went out to Taka’s kitchen a great Japanese restaurant just a short walk from the CSA where we are staying. After a long day the team really needed some great food and a bit of time to catch up with each other!

Perth looks absolutely amazing by night and it’s amazing how many people stopped to chat to us whilst we were walking there. It seems that the city is really looking forward to CHoGM in a few days time!

The team enjoys a meal at Taka's Kitchen

Day two

This morning the team visited Willetton Senior High School just outside Perth. The visit started with a concert to the year eight students that all the members of the team performed in. The pupils were introduced to the concert with a great warm up. LT led the first warm up item and got nearly 100 pupils singing an African version of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!”

The concert continued with an original arrangement of several folk tunes performed by 3 violins, guitar, cello and the amazing melodica!! Yellian, one of our two soloists from the Royal Over-Seas League, introduced the cello to the year 8s before playing Mark Summer’s Julio. This fiery piece was incredible and demonstrated some fantastically cool techniques. Our tuba soloist Les Neish finished the concert off with variations on a theme of the Carnival of Venice, accompanied by improvisations from 8 members of the team!

Following on from the concert, the team led several workshops and masterclasses with schoolchildren. Les and two of the young musicians took the brass players, 4 of the team including Pete and Yellian worked with string players, Nick Oliver and 3 pianists from the team took the pianists for a masterclass and Alison Cox with 6 composers from the team directed a composition workshop exploring the theme of ‘journeys’!

The morning has been fantastic and it was really interesting to see the leafy suburbs of Perth as well as meet up with some local young musicians and staff from one of Australia’s finest public schools

Pictures here