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

Advertisements

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 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 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 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!