So, while I’ve absolutely failed to maintain ‘weekly’ blog posts, so here is the condensed version of the last 3 weeks of my life. The end of term four has certainly been trying and tiring, but I've struggled through as best I could.
I had the absolute pleasure of stage crewing the IPSHA Performing Arts festival which had about 21 schools spread over 3 days coming to the Sydney Town Hall to sing, dance and play in combined bands and choirs, as well as performing their own individual items.
It was a rewarding experience but also exhausting. There were some schools who were really on top of their performances and keep their students respectful, but some schools had no idea and let the kids do pretty much whatever they wanted. I found that the standard of performance over the three days was really different as well, some of the combined items either fell apart completely, or actually seemed really tight and came together wonderfully.
Some of the schools were also really defiant and insisted on moving their own stuff, which messed up our whole system and made the change over between school so much slower. It was really irritating that they didn’t trust us to do our jobs properly, but thankfully we only had a few schools like this.
It was also really lovely to become so familiar with such a beautiful Sydney venue, and one that I've been performing in for such a long time. Being able to go in each day and know that I was going to find a new beautiful corner of the building was so exciting!
This week was spend singing with one of the worlds most famous choral composers and conductors, Eric Whitacre. This was the first program I’ve done in a while that was 1 performance only, and it felt like the stakes were really high which was quite terrifying -- especially since I was working with one of my personal music heroes -- but definitely made me work harder.
I connected with this piece so deeply — its about a woman who sadly died from ovarian cancer, and her husband and children who watched her go through the process, but it’s also about love, loss and grieving. These themes have resonated deeply with me over the past few years and especially as we sang this amazing work. Eric said to the choir before we went on stage that we would be forcing audience members to experience emotions and feelings they may not have been able to confront yet, and I felt this really strongly. It was a moment that really reminded me that music is about feeling and vulnerability. Overall, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I could have hoped for.
The final week of this school term was a lot quieter. One of my schools finished on Wednesday and their end of term timetable was horrifically complicated and it wasn’t going to be worth going into school to teach. However, I still was able to go in and finish the last week of my unit with the Stage 1 classes of Banksmeadow Public School. The children seemed to really enjoy this unit and I was even able to collect some work samples as well. They learned to sing, to read rhythms and play instruments while singing too.
My kids have really enjoyed choir this term as well, where we sang a bunch of songs both old and new. I was really surprised that the students seemed to prefer older songs (like Country Roads and Beds are Burning) rather than currents songs they might know better.
Its been a challenging but rewarding term... looking forward to the next one!!