Thursday, 6 February 2014

Ringing the Federation Bells - it's a celebration!

I made a decision to join in with something this week which has made my first full week back in the world of work and home very intense. The opportunity is unique and I'm glad that I decided to join, even though I'm limping towards the end of the week.

This weekend marks the fifth birthday of the Melbourne Recital Centre. Five years ago I was lucky enough to have a tour and experience the building the day before it opened to the public, thanks to local ABC radio. We even sang Happy Birthday in honour of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch after whom the main hall is named. Now I am working with a group of complete strangers to compose and perform a work on the Federation Handbells.

I've never played handbells before, let alone the special ones, but I figured that I was probably going to be at least as musical as anyone else joining in. Apart from the musical experience, I was curious about the process that would be used over only two workshops, each 2 and a half hours long, to make this happen.

I attended the first workshop last night, after a very long day and found myself being asked to have ideas. Ideas are one of the things I'm pretty good at having, but I had to work a bit harder to keep my brain switched on because I was mentally and physically exhausted after two days playing a bully. Switching on my creative brain proved to be invigorating and I'm pleased with the contribution I made.

There are about fourteen of us in the group, including the musical and the theatrical facilitators. Mostly women and one girl who I think would be about twelve years old. Most people contributed original ideas or enhanced another's idea in some way. We composed the whole first half of the performance. Our score is written in coloured felt tipped pens on a giant roll of butcher's paper laid out on the floor.

At the break, one of the women asked me if I was a "professional plant". I pictured myself as a rose bush, then a cactus and then I realised what she meant. I asked her what I would have been planted for and she said "to come up with ideas". I laughed and told her that that was just me playing. (I did have a brief worry that I had contributed too much, but no one in the group or either of the facilitators was giving me the oh-do-be-quiet-eye, so I relaxed.)

We will compose the second part tomorrow night and have our one and only dress rehearsal. I'm excited to be involved, but wish the forecast for Saturday was a bit easier to anticipate. The temperature is forecast to be 40 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

If you're in Melbourne, it's a good excuse to get out of the house early before it gets too hot. We'll be starting near Hamer Hall after 9am and arrive at the Recital Centre's front doors by 10am. If you're not in Melbourne there's no need to miss out! You can stream the festivities. Check on this page from 9am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). Click here for more information about coordinating time zones.

That's all I can tell you.

Oh, and I'll be playing "E".

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations and good luck but most of all ... enjoy!