Sunday, 9 February 2014

Campanology campaign - a resounding success!

We did it! Our composition for the Federation Bells went off without a hitch yesterday morning and seemed to be well-received and appreciated by passing Melbournians and guests participating in the Melbourne Recital Centre's fifth birthday.

When I arrived at 8:45am yesterday I felt as if mere hours had passed since we finished Friday night's dress rehearsal. We were issued with our celebratory orange t-shirts and my heart sank. Since spending all of 2007 wearing an orange t-shirt (I wasn't in prison, I was organising the Your Rights at Work campaign), I am under no illusions about my relationship with orange. It is good for accessorising, but wearing a whole garment in the colour makes me look like I am either very sick or have drunk too much red wine on a hot day. I decided to accessorise with an over-the-top floral crown to draw all eyes away from contemplating me in an orange t-shirt.

The score for the piece we composed for the
Melbourne Recital Centre's fifth birthday.
© 2014 divacultura
As we began our dress rehearsal and reviewed the score, it became evident that two members of the team had fallen by the wayside. We quickly rejigged things and made it work. We worked out the second part of the composition under the guidance of musical facilitator Steve Falk and then embarked on our dress rehearsal.

It was a beautiful evening and people looked at us curiously as we draped ourselves around the wave sculpture near Hamer Hall. There was magic as I struck the first note and others joined in. The rehearsal went well with only a few adjustments to make.

We were blessed with a glorious morning yesterday. The light dappled through the trees along St Kilda Road. I felt a profound sense of celebration and reverence as I struck the first note again. People stopped and looked. Some even smiled. Many of them asked what it was all about and I happily told them. Crossing Southbank Boulevard we encountered a man who was impatient for us to cross. He waved at the flashing red man on the traffic light and turned in front of us. We continued the tintinabulation. As we reached the Melbourne Recital Centre there was a crowd of people waiting for the doors to open; it was our job to open them.

Federation Bells - that's "E" on the right.
© 2014 divacultura
As the sound died, I found my partner for the door bell. I struck the E and he followed with C. The conversation continued until a frenzied pace was reached and we stopped. The high Cs were struck. The G, followed by my E and a low C. It was our musical joke - the descending C major arpeggio which is the call for patrons to return to their seats after interval in concert halls the world over. Three times we descended and then the doors opened. The people followed us in.

We went up the stairs to Elisabeth Murdoch Hall and continued to play as patrons took their seats.

Naturally the piece concluded with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" and three cheers.

It was a truly joyous experience and energy was high as we returned to the VIP room. Contact details were swapped and t-shirts were peeled off.

The "backyard". This is normally a carpark.
© 2014 divacultura

I went downstairs to the backyard which had been astro-turfed and turned into a festive party venue. I ate a taco from the taco truck and listened to the Welsh Men's Choir. I played a tune on the decorated piano which was sitting on the footpath and then found a seat to take in some of the open jazz jam. A house band welcomed soloists on a variety of instruments to join them for a song. It was terrific to see so many teenagers taking the stage with their saxophones, guitars and trombones. I wasn't sure if they accepted singers, so I just enjoyed the show. As people rode the escalators to the next level they swung their hips to the music and smiled. Any wonder anything with a swinging beat was considered "devil's music". Never know what an escalator ride and jazz could lead to.

I decided to leave before the day became too hot. As I was walking back to the city, I stopped off at the National Gallery of Victoria. An artist was working in the foyer. Dozens of plastic mesh rectangles had been embroidered with words in black and the backgrounds needed to be completed in white. About ten people were stitching when I arrived. It was lovely and cool in there so I decided to find some words that appealed and contributed a few stitches.

Leaving my mark
© 2014 divacultura
As I sat stitching, I was struck by the variety of people involved: women, men, boys, girls. A Chinese woman sat beside me and asked what it was all about. I explained and she picked up a rectangle and started to stitch. I introduced myself and she told me about her holiday. Her name was Jinbor (I don't know how to spell it) and she is a fashion designer with her own label in China. She told me this after I remarked on how swiftly she stitched.

After four rows I left. My body was starting to feel the work of carrying and playing that bell and I needed to rest.

As I made my way home I felt so happy to live in a city where there are public spaces and events with really interesting and welcoming things to do on a very hot day where retreat to an air conditioned space is top of the agenda.

Noticing my body this morning, I decided that indulging in campanology is an excellent upper body work out and a very enjoyable one too. I now realised why a hunchback rings the bells!

The bells go back in their cases.
© 2014 divacultura

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Ding A Ling. Always thought you were a dead ringer for someone I knew and now I know why! x