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.
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!!!!
On day 5 I blogged that Maltese Tenor, Joseph Aquilina, had arrived I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce all the members of the team who have arrive with us so far!
We of course have the Chethams and Purcell Schools of music, the biggest and oldest specialist music schools in the UK. Chethams is based in Manchester and Purcell just outside North London. Both schools have sent 6 – 7 pupils aged 16 – 18 to perform to and encourage young musicians in Australia.
The combined teams of Purcell and Chethams Schools
Joining the schools are two Royal Over-Seas League soloists, Les Neish and Yelian He who have been with us since we arrived. Les Neish is an international Tuba soloists and has joined us whilst he has joined us whilst he is touring Australia and New Zealand for 5 weeks! Yelian He has flown out as part of a 3 week tour of Australia, originally from Melbourne he is currently a post graduate student at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Yelian will be performing the Haydn Cello Concerto with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra as part of the Commonwealth festival
We are also very lucky to be joined by two Maltese musicians, one old friend who was on the original Commonwealth Resounds tour as a Purcell School pupil. Cecelia De Maria rejoins the team as a harp soloist and two days ago we were also joined by the celebrated Maltese Joseph Aquilina
Joseph is a world-renowned Tenor soloist and notably has performed for the Commonwealth Heads of Government before when it was in Malta where he sang to many dignitaries from around the World.
Joseph has also recorded for major international record labels and has championed the work of many Maltese Soloists. We are especially pleased to be joined by him and would like to thank the Maltese Government for supporting him whilst he is out in Australia.
We are due to be joined very shortly by more musicians from Singapore and from Trinidad. The Commonwealth Resounds is managing to bring together musicians from all over the World to share musical ideas and experiences!