MIV2018 Festival Wrap-up

Hi all. It’s been a couple of weeks…but very good ones.

MIV2018 was a blast. So much fun. I challenged myself in a few ways,  participating in different social events in ways I hadn’t done during my last IV. Here’s an idea: participation pays off. I had a really good time and even won a few times at different social things – which I was not expecting. Participation would have been prize enough. Enthusiasm leads to fun!

I’m not going to lie, it was full-on. IVs always are, especially the first half. Rehearsals for six hours a day, then social events in the evenings. This time, being Social Secretary, a part of me was always busy – mentally or physically – making sure things were running smoothly. By the end of the day, I was quite tired and rather “peopled out” – unusual for me!

I loved organising the social events though. I really like being (one of) the host(s) and seeing people having fun, making new friends and participating – like I said above, it all pays off.

The rehearsals were really good – we had a really good conductor who engaged us well. Patrick Burns got us – or at least me – thinking about the music in particular ways and working together to produce the desired quality sound. We had sectionals where our assistant conductor Leonard Weiss worked with Pat and us in two halves – sopranos and altos in one group, tenors and basses in the other.

One thing I love about rehearsing and performing in big choral groups is the journey from a diverse group of voices just starting to learn the music, to a cohesive group who’ve learnt their parts and sound confident and powerful. It’s bloody fantastic and with IVs, the process only takes ten days! I remember the first time we started feeling really cohesive (for me) – I was singing along as we ran through a piece. I heard the rest of us singing and realised, “This is going to be a great performance.”

I was right. 🙂

We sang really well, if I do say so myself. We heard great audience feedback afterwards too. It was a real treat to sing the pieces – I don’t know if I can pick a favourite, but all have taken turns popping up in my head since.

Thanks, MIV2018.

(Click on the pic for a caption – they’re not in date order, just for fun.)


MIV2018 Festival Opens Today!

After many months of prep, today is the day! Hooray!

If you’re coming, I’ll see you at camp dinner this evening. If not, maybe I’ll see you at the concert? 😛

I can’t wait to see all my friends and have a fantastic time.

Get tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/light-the-dark-tickets-39366091038?aff=es2

See the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/305903166591081/

And doesn’t our concert flyer look amazing?

(Link to a shareable version here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdTWPS792Wnajl5a2w1anlxUzBQTm5OOVpvV0NCTnVvRU9F/view )

If you can’t make it or even if you can, please share these links and the flyer around. The concert is going to be really good, I can feel it, and I want everyone else to hear about that. 😉

MIV2018 Update – Six Days Until We Open the Festival!

MIV2018 logo: Teal background with pink and white lettering spelling out MiV (pink and white): 69th Intervarsity Choral Festival (in pink) Melbourne 2018 (in white).

Can you believe it?

In six days at time of publishing, the Melbourne Intervarsity Choral Festival 2018 opens. There’s such a lot planned. Rehearsals during the day, social events most nights. I’m excited and have been putting in place the finishing touches for my portfolio: I’m Social Secretary so I’m n charge of the fun.

Over 100 people are going to converge on our venues for the festival. As I was writing this post yesterday evening, I realised that it was pretty much a week to the hour until my first event starts. Eep! 😀

It’s not all just games, traditions and fun. Over ten days we’re learning several pieces to then perform on Saturday 20th January at 19:30. Get your tickets now!! I’d love to see as many of my Melbournian (is that word supposed to have no ‘o’?) and Victorian friends as possible at the concert. It is going to be bloody amazing I can already feel it.

Bring it on! 😀

Here’s the ticketing link with some information: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/light-the-dark-tickets-39366091038

MIV 2018 is proud to present Light the Dark, a moving musical programme offering hope in a time of global turmoil and upheaval.

The concert features Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, Parry’s I Was Glad and the jewel in the crown, Elgar’s Light of Life. Conducted by Patrick Burns, featuring reknowned soloists Liane Keegan, Andrew Goodwin, Anna-Louise Cole, Raphael Wong and accompanied by the Melbourne Opera Orchestra, this concert will be a once-in-a-lifetime performance, and we hope that you will join us as we make history in the glorious Melbourne Town Hall.”

Would you do me a massive favour, especially if you’re reading this from a Melbourne or Victorian address (and/or through my Facebook) and “share the Dickens” (as one of my friends, a co-convenor, put it) out of this link? Even if you can’t go, pass the information along in case someone else in your circle might want to. Thanks heaps! I hope to see you at the concert – or at MIV, if you’re an IVer reading this.

*makes excited noise*


P.S. Take care of yourselves weather-wise! In Victoria, the next couple of days are scorchers, with more to follow later in the week (I’m very glad of aircon with MIV!). Meanwhile, in the US there’s a hell of a snow event happening atm, I gather. So yeah. Stay safe!


Japan Days Part 2

My Japan trip was really really fun. We experienced a lot of Japan, its food, its people, its culture. I was quite busy so didn’t end up publishing any more trip posts. But here’s one and the other one or two will be up soon, once I’ve had a chance to do some work for MIV. I’ll update you on that front tomorrow…


Day 4 consisted of exploring various places in Kyoto. A few stand-outs included Nijojo Castle, the Nishi Market, a couple of shrines and Kinkakuji – the Golden Temple.

A woman (Clare) stands in front of a stone entranceway to a castle. The entranceway is white with grey stones at the bottom and a black roof and gold highlights. The woman (Clare) is facing the camera and wears purple jeans and jumper under a black coat, with sunglasses. She has a backpack on and is being passed by other people in the left side of the picture.A gateway into Nijo-jo Castle - the arch is decorated by gold overlay with red and black wood and has a particular curved design.Womble sits in the foreground in front of a lake at a Japanese Castle. Behind the lake there are trees and part of the castle area.A shot looking up at some Japanese text naming the Nishi market which is on a coloured background. Below it are drawings on a canvas screenA copper drum is roasting chestnuts in a shop windowHeadshot of Clare wearing a purple jumper and black coat with a hand holding an open chestnut towards the cameraSkewers of meat, probably seafood of some kind, cooking and waiting to be cooked at the marketA shrine offering box which is bright orange with green and white overlay. The box has a roof like a house and sits on an orange post.Part of a shrine. The building has a black and red roof that is shaped like a rectangular pyramid. The body of the building is rectangular and white with red accents. It has a balcony of sorts. The sky is blue and people are moving around the building at the bottom of shot.Another building at the shrine complex - a very tall pagoda which has several stories, each with a red and black decorative roof. The body of the building is red.A shot of the golden temple across the water so a reflection is mirrored there. Trees surround the edges of the shot.Golden Temple from a different angle. The top two floors are gold and shining in the setting sun. Their roofs are black as is the entranceway. The temple is still reflected in the water and a tree is obscuring a part of it on the left side with more trees behind it.A woman (Clare) stands in front of the lake before the Golden Temple. She is wearing a black coat and purple jeans, leaning against a railing.


Day 5 was the start of our Japan Rail Pass. We used the Shinkansen (bullet train) to get from Kyoto to Hiroshima and Miyajima.

A shinkansen train pulling into a station. The front with its sub-nose is visible and it is pulling up behind a barrier.View of a station from a shinkansen window.Womble sitting in a shinkansen seat next to the window. The seat is blue with a white headrest. Womble is brown with yellow pants and a patterned top.

Hiroshima was sobering and a little eerie. We heard many stories of how the atomic bombing affected the lives of the people.

A shot of Hiroshima from the river.The shell of a destroyed building near the epicentre of the bomb strikeThe peace memorial to the dead. It has a large stone archway with a platform running out underneath towards the water. There are flowers in front of it with a descriptive plaque to the side.A stopped clock showing the exact time when the bomb hit, as well as the date of the attack in Western and Japanese styleImage of an exhibit showing what Hiroshima looked like from the air after the bomb hit. The children's peace memorial which has a plaque, several towers and flowers.Another shot of the original peace memorial to lives lost, showing the Japanese flag and the full archway. The foreground has brown grass.

Miyajima was quite beautiful. We visited another shrine and went exploring and looked through gift- and food shops. We finished the day with okonomiyaki from a place next to Hiroshima station.

Miyajima Gates lit up at night. The tide is coming in so soon they will look like they are floating in water.

Okonomiyaki on a plate with a second one at right-angles to it. It's a dish with noodles, egg pancake, veggies and sauce. The sauce is very visible as are the noodles. It fills the whole plate, which rests on a wooden table. A glass of water

Day 6 was a travel day. After exploring the last thing on our list in Kyoto, the Place of 1,000 Steps (or Gates), we boarded a train headed towards the snow country. We changed trains at Toyama for a wide-view train, then travelled on to Takayama. The scenery was pretty good – enough deep snow to make me a little excited. But Takayama, while pretty with old buildings, had no snow. After another train trip, we arrived at our stop for the night, Kanazawa.

Day 7 was another travel day, from Kanazawa to Tokyo. We explored Kanazawa a bit before leaving, seeing another market and some gardens (and more snow! 😀 ).

We arrived in Tokyo late in the evening. It was Christmas Eve so after finally locating our apartment, we dumped our stuff and ended up going to a Vigil Mass at 22:00. Midnight in Australia. I mentioned it briefly in my Christmas post, but it was a moving experience.


That’s all from me for now, I’ve got a busy day ahead. Next up will be my White Christmas and related exploits before a final post after that to tie things up. Both of those will be out next week – tomorrow is MIV-related. It’s ONE WEEK OUT TODAY!


2017 Soundtrack 

It’s that time of year again, where I compile a list of songs that mattered to me this year.

1. Think of Meryl Streep (from FAME!) – due to a powerful political moment by Meryl Streep at the start of the year that I blogged about then.

2. Bread and Roses (and maybe also Power in a Union). First one is a folk song, the second is by Billy Bragg. They reference the Women’s March and surrounding politics.

The next are a bunch of love songs that speak to me. I first listened to them on Triple J and they remind me of feelings I felt then and feel now.

3. Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)

4. Say My Name (Tove Stryke)

5. I Want Something Just Like This (The Chainsmokers)

The next one is one of a bunch I heard when watching my first Eurovision Party this year.

6. Eurovision 2017:

Running on Air (Nathan Trent)

Lights and Shadows (O’G3NE)

Origo (Joci Pápai)

Where I Am (Anja)

My Friend (Jacques Houdek)

Grab the Moment (JOWST)

Story of My Life (Naviband)

Beautiful Mess (Kristian Kostov)

I Feel Alive (IMRI)

Yodel It (Alex Florea & Ilinca)

Gravity (Hovig)

Fly with Me (Artsvik)

Flashlight (Karsia Moś)

Amar pelos dois (Salvador Sobral)

City Lights (Blanche)

Don’t Come Easy (Isaiah)

Never Give Up on You (Lucie Jones)

Next are some from the concerts of the year:

7. Te Deum (from the MonUCS May concert, Choral Icons). First time I’d heard this song and I still remember it well. From the same concert, other standouts included Five Eyes and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

8. Peace/ EquipYourself for Life, Pink Telegram, 0808, and other songs from the John Monash Peace Cantata – a highlight of the year and one I’m proud to have participated in. My only regret is that uni prevents me from participating in the overseas performance next year.

9. Pirates of Penzance (from MonUCS’ performance). I find myself humming songs from the production at times still. I’m not singling out any because they were all very good.

10. Finally, Christmas songs. This year, those include adapted versions of Winter Wonderland and White Christmas as for once they were almost appropriate. As well as “Green Book Carols”, from MIV carolling hugs and LaTUCS’ carols performance. Also the Vaughn Williams’ piece, Fantasia on Christmas Carol. I was reminded of the piece at the start of December and realised that I really had had a good year, as the last part of the piece hoped.

There might be more, but I think ten is a good starting point! Happy New Year everyone. I’m currently finishing this on a plane that’ll land back in Australia from Japan in a bit under an hour. I’ll post this then.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the Japan Trip posts this week and I hope you have a good year ahead of you. I reckon I do, but I know it’ll be busy too. MIV2018 starts on the 11th after all…