Fifty Years Ago…

I’m a few days late with this but needed to say something anyway.

On May 27th 1967, Australians voted in a referendum to change how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were referred to in the Constitution (including granting them the right to vote and be counted in the census). Over 90% of those who voted in the referendum voted, “Yes” – the highest “yes” vote ever recorded in an Australian referendum.

Last Friday, May 26th 2017, the summit at Uluru rejected ‘symbolic’ recognition in favour of a treaty and a constitutionally enshrined voice in Parliament.

See this link for a great resource of history leading up to the referendum, what happened after it and where to now. I’m going to find time to read/watch/listen to them all (I’ve just skimmed a few for now). http://www.abc.net.au/rightwrongs/

Another excellent article is linked here, from The Monthly, making the point (as I discuss below!) that “all such attempts [at engagement] must start with a genuine effort to listen” and providing some voices to listen to. The quoted text below comes from the Uluru Statement From the Heart and deserves to be read in full.

“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard.”

~ Uluru Statement from the Heart

 

I am conscious that as a white Australian, I need to listen to the stories of Indigenous Australians – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – and hear them, to amplify the stories. It won’t be comfortable but it will be powerful. See this link for an example of what I mean. Let’s practice dadirri, a Nauiyu Aboriginal practice of “inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness….There is no need to reflect too much and to do a lot of thinking. It is just being aware.” The example of dadirri given in the link above is in a health context and speaks to me. In order for trust and relationship to be built, we have to let go of our own ways of doing things and listen to the ways of others. To find the common ground. From the article:

“DADIRRI HAS TAUGHT me to let conversations move at the pace of the heart, so pain and complexity can bubble up without being stymied by a hasty solution. It has taught me to let stories leave an impact, to alter me as the tide alters a shoreline. Held in the boundless embrace of two humans connecting deeply, I have learnt even the most awful stories can find an inexplicable buoyancy, a possibility our hurting nation desperately needs. Aboriginal men and women have redefined what listening means to me, and given me a glimpse of what ‘reconciliation’ could really mean.

….

As non-Aboriginal Australians we must learn to listen to things we find difficult to hear. We need to stop interrupting and speaking over Aboriginal people, slow down and enter the deep stillness that will help us to hear something new. If we held open the connection long enough, the full, complicated story could come tumbling out, and we might experience the buoyancy and hope that comes when humans truly listen to one another. There, in that inestimable space of human connection, we might finally begin to reconcile.”

Please read it and the other links in full. There’s so much good stuff there.

Here are a few other links I found over the past few days too:

Songlines – the Indigenous memory code: I’d known before about the way songlines were and are important as memory-aids. I hadn’t thought about applying it myself. Maybe I should….I love song and my memory isn’t the greatest at times.

Indigenous weather knowledge site (Gariwerd calendar): Indigenous peoples have a different understanding of weather seasons. Perhaps wider Australia should adopt them too. There are different weather calendars for different parts of Australia, too. Gariwerd is the one listed for Victoria…. six seasons. We’re in Chunnup right now.

Finally, it seems appropriate to end with this song: Treaty.

 

 

 

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Recipe: Beef Parmigiana

Brr. Winter is nearly here in Australia and the past few days have shown it! When the sun’s out it’s nice but when it’s not it can feel quite cold. The trend is set to continue this week, with tomorrow only reaching a top of 12*C in my suburb. Bet my hometown’s colder!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe post. I have been cooking – just haven’t been able to write them down. I want to fix that but it’s a work in progress…at the bottom of my priority pile atm. Anyway.

Two cooked beef parmigianas in oven tray. Cheese has melted thoroughly - some is stuck to the bottom of the oven tray. Tomato salsa is visible in patches

Makes my mouth water just looking at it!

A while ago – as in, about a month ago – I spent the day with my boyfriend. We decided to have parmigiana for dinner – but as I pointed out, we’d had chicken as part of our lunch. So we used a beef schnitzel base instead. Then my boyfriend had the idea of using tomato salsa instead of plain tomato sauce/paste. It turned into a very yummy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Veggies, to serve with the parma
  • Beef schnitzels
  • Tomato salsa/paste
  • Cheese – we used pre-packaged grated tasty cheese
  • Other flavours if you want, especially if using tomato paste not salsa – saw a recipe online where someone added onion to theirs & seasoned it with salt & pepper

Tools:

  • Frying pan
  • Oven dish
  • Spatula
  • Tongs

Method:

  1. Fry beef schnitzels to pre-cook them
  2. When finished, remove from pan and place in oven dish (preheat oven to 180*C)
  3. Spread tomato salsa thickly over schnitzels, then top with the cheese – remember that you want the salsa and cheese flavours to be balanced with each other
  4. Place oven dish in oven and cook for 30 mins or until it looks done
  5. Cook veggies while this occurs, though you’ll probably start them partway through the schnitzel-cooking time. We used peas, carrots and potato, but you can use any veggies you like.
  6. When cooked, assemble onto plates.
  7. Eat and enjoy!
Beef parma on a plate with boiled carrots, potato and peas - parma is on the left and has a dollop of extra sauce & melted cheese on top, with veggies on the right of the plate.

Mine, all mine…. so good.

MIV2018 Update – Fundraising Alert

Hi, all. In my role as Social Secretary for MIV2018, I’ve been doing a bit of organising. Two in-festival social events are in the planning stage of “venue-booking”, while another is in the “negotiate details” phase. Pro tip: if someone’s taking a while to get back to you, ring them. It might be the fault of an overzealous spam filter. 😉 Now all I have to do is wait for people to get back to me on my most recent round of enquiries and start preparing for the next pre-festival social event.

That event will be at the end of June, after our AGM. Should be good.

Around that time there’s another deadline that approaches. I should’ve blogged this two (or three) weeks ago, but anyway. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target of raising $20,000 by the end of June, in order to make our biggest festival dreams viable. Yikes! It’d be a great help if you could donate even a little bit and/or share the heck out of the following link to our crowdfunding page: chuffed.org/project/miv2018. There are rewards attached for donations over certain amounts.

From the Chuffed page:

“We’re creating the musical experience of a lifetime

….

Music is capable of just about everything. It can create joy, set the soundtrack to our lives, and brings people together in a way nothing else can.

However despite all the spectacular things music can do, funding for the arts is always a challenge. The Melbourne Intervarsity Choral Festival (MIV) is aimed at, but not exclusive to, university students. This provides an extra challenge as many of these talented young people are strapped for cash at the best of times.

We’re not just a bunch of students. We are so much more. We are musically directed by world renowned conductor, Patrick Burns. Supported by a remarkable Melbourne Orchestra, and accomplished Alto Soloist. No spoilers, but our final performance at Melbourne Town Hall will feature the Australian premiere of a work by an acclaimed composer.

Here’s our plan

We’re fundraising. Plain and simple. We’re chasing the money, doing the hard yards, with the aim to get every university chorister who wants to attend the festival to Melbourne in January 2018.

Get ready for us Melbourne, we’re coming.

So far we have been supported by the City of Melbourne, Grill’d Local Matters and Bunnings Warehouse. But we’re not done yet, we need to do more, and we need your help.

What difference can you make?

With 200 singers flocking to Melbourne, we have a lot to do! Accommodation to organise, sheet music to purchase, rehearsals to run, celebratory dinners to create, and artistic personnel to pay!

Freshers (students who have never been to an IV festival before) can join us for $250, concession for $550, and full fee at $750. YOU can join us if you’re interested at miv.org.au.

But if you’re not a singer and still want to help us out, we appreciate donations of any amount to support this enormous musical endeavour.

$10,000 will pay for our wonderful soloists.

$20,000 will finance our orchestral accompanist.

$30,000 will allow us to significantly lower our student prices.

And here’s some cool perks you can have for supporting us

Over $15: A MASSIVE thank you from the MIV 2018 team, and the immense satisfaction for helping our dream come true! PLUS a personal thank you in our concert program.

Over $50: Everything for $15 and over PLUS an exclusive piece of MIV merchandise

Over $100: Everything for $50 and over PLUS the official MIV2018 live music CD

Over $250: Everything for $100 and over PLUS an exclusive MIV goody bag full of…..shhhh spoilers!

Over $500: Everything for $250 and over PLUS access to 2 of our VIP Concert Tickets for regular ticket price. Melbourne Town Hall has unallocated seating, so these are the ONLY tickets that guarantee you access to prime seating in the stalls.

Over $1000: Everything for $500 and over PLUS access to 5 VIP tickets OR 2 free VIP tickets, PLUS a program signed by our musical director and soloists

Two highest donations: Personal meet & greet with our soloists, musical director, and festival convenors after the performance.”

As I’ve probably mentioned before, music and singing is a massive part of who I am and want to be. So much heart and soul are going into MIV2018 to make it the best it can be and it would mean the world to me if you’re able to contribute and share. “From little things, big things grow” and all that (with apologies to Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody). Please? 😀

Sign up to the MIV mailing list here: miv.org.au/#signup

Btw, here’s a lovely little video (if I do say so myself) of my choir concert last night. Enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLaTUCS%2Fvideos%2F1385991518104171%2F&show_text=0&width=400

 

Busy (concert) day

Today I woke up in a bit of a mood because last night I had an unsettled night’s sleep…. just when I didn’t need one. After all, I reminded the rest of my choir to sleep well, because today’s our concert day! And I have uni and things to do first. 

I’m revived by the brisk walk I took in to uni and have a plan for the day. Everything will get done that needs to – and at the end, party time! We’re looking to livestream the concert too, so hop on to our Facebook page (LaTUCS) around 18:30 tonight and watch us sing! 

https://www.facebook.com/events/825121917635495/?ti=icl

Power of Music 

Yesterday was a good day. I got to (re)watch the first series of “Choir of Hard Knocks”, courtesy of the uni library. I only needed to watch the first two episodes for my class, but I enjoyed them so much I ended up watching the whole series over the day. After all, half-hour episodes are easily consumable.

The “Choir of Hard Knocks” was a program on the ABC about ten years ago. It followed Jonathon Welch as he gathered and trained an unlikely choir made of people who were homeless or otherwise disadvantaged in some way, for example through addiction. United more or less by an interest in music and singing, that disparate group of people came together. They started in the September of 2007 (I think – might be 2006 instead). By Christmas, they’d busked outside Flinders St Station and funded a trip to a recording studio, where they recorded a CD. They sold 4,000 copies that year. They then went on to sell out the main hall of the Melbourne Town Hall at a concert in March of the next year.

The thing that spoke to me when watching the episodes was how the choir brought the group together. They became “like a family” as more than one member said. It increased their self-esteem, self-efficacy and confidence, gave them a community. Many of the people were disconnected from family and major support networks. Choir provided them with security and something to live for. My favourite moment was watching them hear themselves on the CD – for many it was the first time that they’d heard their own voice played back to them. The expressions on their faces of surprise and delight lifted my heart. The expression said, “Oh my goodness, that’s me!” The other choir members validated them, recognising their newfound talents along with their own.

Jonathon Welch began with a group who were interested but had little to no training or experience. Some needed a lot of encouragement to sing properly. But there was hidden talent there just waiting to be brought out.

There’s something very powerful about music and the communities that form around it. It speaks to us because (whatever the kind of music) we connect with it – the lyrics or tune – in some way. It speaks to the human experience – and just sounds good (subjectively 😉). When that experience is shared it is given a deeper meaning.

These reflections made me think about occupational therapy in practice. After all, the original purpose of watching the series was to focus on two choir members and imagine what we’d need/want to do with them. Last week (or the week before) we talked about group work. Maybe one day I’ll lead a music therapy group as part of my practice…. I think I’d like that.

Today, the choir still exists. There’s now a “School of Hard Knocks“, with a number of different opportunities for disadvantaged people to sing together and create memories and community. The School of Hard Knocks has a few groups in the Melbourne Singers Festival this June.

Got My Walking Shoes On

Who else saw the sunrise yesterday morning? It was lovely.

Image of sun peeking over trees and house to rise. Sky is stained pinkish-red and there are streaky clouds.
I went for a walk yesterday, to a spot not far from home. I had some lettuce that had gone a bit yucky in the fridge and I figured that I’d take it to the spot where the ducks, geese and moorhens were and let them have it, while I ate breakfast there.

Smiling woman (MyZania) in foreground to the right of the pic. Behind her is some green grass with a few ducks and a waterway.
The birds ignored me when I sat down but as soon as my breakfast appeared they came closer to have a look. That’s another reason I brought the lettuce… One moorhen was so impatient and bold that it pecked at the sole of one of my runners! The goose from last time appeared last. It reminded me of a dog, the way it looked at me for food. Its tail even wagged a bit!

I wonder what sort of goose it is?

Goose viewed from behind, as it looks across the water. Close-up of the goose on grass with some other birds.
It was a good start to the day. It didn’t even take ten minutes to get there and I took “the long way” back. Now that I live close to uni and the train station, I walk a reasonable distance every day.

Being on the top/ first floor with the kitchen on the ground floor helps too. 😜

I like being able to do this. Someone suggested on Wednesday that I ought to bring my bike down and check out some of the bike paths around here. But I’m not sure I’m confident enough for that. For now, walking and PT’ing between places suit me fine.

A Damn Good Show

I went to a concert on Saturday evening, put on by Monash University Choral Society (MonUCS). It was a very fun event, though I’m rather tired today! Concert and after-party on one night + MIV Eurovision party on the next = big weekend. But very, very fun.

There’s something really special about going to an event like a concert and watching your friends perform. Different concerts, of course, have different vibes. Earlier in the year, I watched my boyfriend sing as part of a community choir for a Saturday afternoon event of the sunny-day live-music-entertainment sort. That was enjoyable. Saturday evening’s event was too but in a different way.

I watched the first concert to see my boyfriend sing in it. I didn’t watch with anyone else and after he’d finished, we left. Saturday was different because I was surrounded by friends as well as people I didn’t know who had come along for the same reasons as me: to support our friends and loved ones as they performed some wonderful music, the culmination of nearly three months’ hard work. It was an intimate yet grand setting of a church (so with great acoustics) and a good time was had by all.

Having attended a few MonUCS rehearsals earlier in the year, I had an idea as to what they’d be singing – but as it turned out, only a small one, as they’d added extra songs to their repertoire in the weeks since. As with any outing, feelings of anticipation and excitement played their part in preparing me for the show, as I got ready for and travelled to the event. I’d accidentally created a sense of atmosphere for myself before I left, by deciding to dress up a little. I love the buzz I get before performing something, especially in a group setting, and as I was reminded on Saturday I feel a version of that vicariously, too.

The concert on Saturday combined a range of different music types/genres, from the more classical (e.g. Mozart’s Te Deum, Vivaldi’s Gloria) to folk (e.g. Holst’s Swansea Town, Armstrong Gibbs’ Five Eyes). The first half had a mix of songs, while the second half was filled by the Gloria. I was swept up into the music from the first notes of the opening piece, Te Deum.

The sound of the singing, and the way the choir and soloists (for certain pieces) were complemented by the orchestra, moved me. I knew how hard they’d all worked to come to this moment and so I watched with a mixture of pride and joy in my heart as they gave us a lovely evening. It brought home to me again that while I love most kinds of music and singing, there’s something very special about choral music* sung by a massed choir. Singing/performing on one’s own or with a small group, with or without accompaniment, is one thing. Doing so in a larger group/massed choir is something else. Especially when you’re with friends. Listening, one is carried away by the sound of the pieces – both their musicality and the way that is used to convey a narrative (for example, in the folk songs). Done well, it is beautiful to listen to. Well done, MonUCS – and thank you.

P.S. See this link for a https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FGraf.von.Schwarzwaldschokoladeskleinkuchen%2Fposts%2F10154386452781813&width=500” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>review from a friend, David. He goes into a lot more detail about the pieces than I did.

 

 

MIV 2018 Update: Aqua-demic Dinner Announced! 

(Hmm. I thought I’d posted this yesterday. Oh well.) 

So. Remember earlier in the week I mentioned some important emails and excitement? Below is what I was keeping a lid on… 😁

I hope you like puns. The announcement below is copied from my MIV email I received yesterday (11th May). Want to keep up-to-date? Subscribe here


Announcing our Aqua-demic Dinner

We all know you’ve been wading with baited breath, so for all coralsters from the high to deep C’s, we are eelated to announce that Aquademic Dinner will be held at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium!

Did you catch that?

Whale have a great time changing the IV tunaverse as you know it and making this Aquademic Dinner a little more fincy. 


This gorgeous aquarium is a must sea, with a view that is off the scales.


If you wanna be where the people are, don’t flake out on us and get ready for a reely good time!

 

——————————————-

MIV Eurovision Party


Can’t wait til IV? For another fintastic time, come on over to our Eurovision party THIS SUNDAY for games, prizes and of course costumes 😊

WHEN: Sunday 14th of April, 6:30pm til late.

WHERE: 225 Cecil Street, South Melbourne 3205.
Plenty of parking is available and it is accessible by the #1, #12 and #96 trams. It’s going to be a fabulous night of glitz and music and we hope to see you all there.
Peace and love,

Alex and El xoxo
P.S. we hope you don’t get crabby about puns because we have pooled them shoal together on this email ❤️

#FairGoFairfax

Hope this link works. https://www.meaa.org/civiform?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/mailing/view&reset=1&id=1698

There’ll be some important people missing from the budget coverage today/tonight. I’ve unfollowed The Age on Facebook in protest as I’m not crossing the strike picket line by sharing anything they pull out to cover for themselves while their journos are on strike, no way.

Other actions: send an email to Fairfax CEO to ask him to reverse the cuts and/or watch and share this video from concerned leading Australian actors, writers, directors and other artists, because the Age cuts will hurt arts’ reporting too.

 

 

Impostor Syndrome 

Definition: “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are unable to internalise their accomplishments and live in persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Or in my case, being intimidated by others in a group even as they’re friends, feeling like I’m not going to “do it right” because I’ve not done the role before and I’m younger/ less experienced etc. than them. I don’t like conflict either, so negotiating all that has been tricky. Subconsciously or not!

This has led to me feeling like I need to check in with people a lot before doing things while also feeling like I need to be seen as “keeping it together”. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I shared the role with someone else. To my mind, that meant we should act more-or-less as a unit – when actually, it turns out, we could operate separately and not always need to check in with each other before doing something.

Meanwhile, the others in the team think that I’m doing a great job with some great ideas. I just need to have more confidence in myself.

Interesting, as I hadn’t even realised I was undermining myself to myself while being thought of highly by others. Might clear up a bit now though because due to circumstances my role is going shift slightly soon. Instead of sharing the role, I’m going to take it on as a single position that’s supported by others when needed.

I just need to remember my confidence – boosted by my other team members who gave me a wonderful, affirming pep talk at our last meeting. It feels good to be appreciated. Now, I’m re-energised by the challenge rather than daunted. Though I do find it ironic that the week that I researched assertiveness for a uni assignment was this week just gone.

Evidence of the renewed confidence: last night I sent off three important emails and, while I discussed relevant details with some other team members – who helped clarify a few points – there were also times when I said to myself, “Ah, wait – do I really need to ask them about that, or am I just seeking reassurance?” The upshot of that is that the emails were sent, ready for viewing in the receivers’ inboxes when they opened them this morning – and one has already got back to me!

Confidence: level up.

Let’s continue like this, shall we?

Bring it on.