I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Come on in, ya mongrels!

So, last night Joel's vocal group from school was supporting the Bigmouth community choir in Northcote. I thought we'd just go for their opening number, then we'd come home. After all, it's less than a week since he had all his wisdom teeth out, and he's been pretty low with the effects of the general anaesthetic. He also can't yet eat cereal (quite a big problem for a teenage boy), and I didn't think he'd be able to sing at all.

Anyway, we got there nice and early at 7.30 for them to rehearse, and I hung around in the foyer for a while, not sure I'd even stay, since Joel could get a lift home with someone else. Then I saw Meg's mother and sister, so I bought a ticket, anyway. Everyone else obviously knew something as they were all lining up with cushions and chairs. We could hear the big choir rehearsing right up till 8.30, and then finally the doors swung open and a man in a hat came through and said, "Come on in, ya mongrels." This was not calculated to impress people who'd been standing outside for half an hour but we all trooped in anyway. I got a chair near the door, planning to leave early, but in the end I stayed for the whole thing, and not just because Joel's group sang near the end of the evening. The man in the hat turned out to be Stephen Taberner, whose Spooky Men's Chorale has featured elsewhere on this blog, and who led this 80-strong choir through a wonderful hour of carefully staged and sung music in the gorgeous 30s public elegance of the Northcote Town Hall:

The evening also featured a couple of other musicians, including a wonderful countertenor accompanying himself on double bass: astonishing.

Joel's group sang a song, "Rachel", I've heard them sing many times, but they really nailed it last night. Only eight of them, with young 16 and 17 year old voices, but they stood in a circle in the middle of the hall and filled it with precision and passion. Here's a clip of them singing this song on another occasion earlier this year:

I had far too much to do (emails, budgets, bills, Christmas puddings, writing), but stayed anyway. I kind of toyed with the idea of finding out about how to join the choir, but kept thinking about how much I had to do (emails, budgets, bills, etc.).

It turns out Joel's group has bought a little studio time with money they won in a competition in Mt Gambier earlier this year, and will be recording a few tracks next week. But they need a new name. The "vocal group" or "senior choir" doesn't really cut it, I don't think.

The school is celebrating, too. The Victorian College of the Arts takes only 50 students into its new contemporary music program: six of them, next year, will be coming from this nonselective state school. It is just such a Good Thing to have music in my life.

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