“An ORGANic Christmas” Concert Review

Last Saturday’s concert from MonUCS (Monash University Choral Society) was really good. It had fun pieces and grand pieces and carols. An organ accompanied some songs.

Their opening piece (Regina Coeli from Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni) began with quite the entrance. The choir walked in two columns between the audience seats in order to get to the front of the church to perform from. I thought that was pretty cool.

There were the pieces I hadn’t heard before, sung with vocal strength and expression. Operatic choruses which were gorgeous to listen to and surprising, emotional and sweet by turns. Some of these pieces had soloists – all of whom performed very well. These pieces included the Priest’s Chorus (from Die Zauberflote), Chorus of Enchanted Islanders (from Alcina), Dido’s Lament and Final Chorus (from Dido and Aenea) and even a humming one, Humming Chorus (from Madame Butterfly).

I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I watched my friends perform after weeks of hard work. I also enjoyed singing along to some of the carols as we were encouraged to do – though only at mezzo piano volume so as to hear the actual choir. The carols were not all your usual fare – in fact, two of them I only knew thanks to the carolling gigs last week. That made it all the more fun. Carols included Infant Holy Infant Lowly, Zither Carol, Gloucestershire Wassail and others.

The choir were balanced beautifully, each section blending well (the ultimate goal) while holding their own parts in a superb manner. Each section also had its chance to shine, enabled by the range of songs chosen. For example, it was noted that the tenors sang “without hesitation … and with a wonderful lightness” as one friend put it. The altos were the smallest section of the four, but it didn’t feel like it. The basses carried the bottom range as they are supposed to, giving strength and resonance, while the sopranos were glorious on top.

Bravo, MonUCS! I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next year – and to singing with some of you at MIV. Well done!

 

 

 

 

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Holiday gatherings and fun

Writing this quickly before I head off to my last choir night of the year.

I’ll write a review of the concert I attended on Saturday (MonUCS’ “ORGANic Christmas”) tomorrow. I want to do it justice and time slipped by me today. In part because less sleep last night from a choir holiday party combined with the afternoon sun on a 37*C day is not conducive to productivity, I think. XD

Choir parties are the best – always great food and conversation with lovely welcoming people. Last night’s one had Karaoke even!

Carolling with MIV – and at LaTUCS’ own gig – has been really lovely this year. My favourite carols are a lot more complex now than the favourites I had when younger and it’s really nice to perform them with friends.

There are still a few chances to see the MIV carollers in the lead-up to Christmas, but I won’t be among them.

As of next Monday, I’m off to Japan on a family holiday until the New Year. I will try to keep you more-or-less abreast of our journey with the help of Womble again  I make no promises as to when any updates will occur though.

Must dash to LaTUCS now….

Remember to buy concert tickets to see the MIV choir with soloists and orchestra perform on January 20th (less than ONE MONTH to go!!): Facebook event here and tickets here. Monday was spent getting decorations for MIV with other committee friends…. I’m getting excited now.

 

 

Fun stuff: all the choir things

Yesterday, my choir (LaTUCS) sang carols at an end-of-year event at uni. Nice and I’m hopeful it’ll lead to further opportunities.

This weekend (starting this evening) I will be a-carolling with MIV2018 people.  Tomorrow afternoon too. Our concert tickets for the end-of-festival performance are on sale now. Put the evening of the 20th of January 2018 in your calendars (Facebook link here – friends should expect invites shortly) and get some tickets via this link.

Also, MIV merchandise sales close on Monday, December 11th – this coming Monday which also happens to be the one-month-out date! Wow. If you want a tie-dye tote bag, a keepcup, promise of concert CD and participant photo, or tickets to the “Aquademic” Dinner, please head on over to miv.org.au, sign up for an account on the website and buy the things you want.

This weekend has other fun apart from carols. Tomorrow evening I’m attending a choir concert by MonUCS. Can’t wait – the program sounds really good. 😀 Here is a link to the Facebook event and click here for tickets (or get them at the door). Hooray!

 

Finally – marriage equality is law in Australia

Image of text from attorney-general's website, as follows: Marriage equality: On 7 December 2017, the Australian Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 to change the definition of marriage and provide for marriage equality in Australia. The right to marry in Australia will no longer be determined by sex or gender. The Australian Government is progressing arrangements for marriage equality to commence quickly. Further updates will be advised on this website as they occur.

It’s finally, finally, finally happened. Today, in the late afternoon, the Members of Parliament (House of Representatives) passed the bill that had come from the Senate last week. An amendment to the Marriage Act to remove “man and woman” and replace that with “two people”.

Here’s a link I saw on Facebook – the final minutes of procedure and voting – and a lovely celebration from the public gallery (and floor of the House).

I loved the celebration song before, but I really love it now. New Zealand’s song (and process) was better though…

This vote should’ve happened some years ago and it definitely shouldn’t have needed an expensive postal survey in order to happen – with nearly another month between that beautiful result and today. The grandstanding around this has been ridiculous from many sides (including what’s in the video).

It’s been a long time coming. (It still has to go through a final bit of procedure – the Governor-General has to sign off on it.)

Those who married overseas immediately have their marriages recognised. Weddings for others will start in mid-January because there is a requirement of at least a month’s notice. See all details about that and other procedural things at this link: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Getting-married.aspx

I can’t wait for all the lovely weddings to start. 😀

Today’s outcome is super important in a major way. For many people, the result is an affirmation of their love. Equality is equality – and equality before the law matters. Now all people have the choice to participate in marriage if they wish. It is also just nice to know that the law agrees that it doesn’t matter if they want to marry someone of the opposite or same sex. What matters is that both parties are happy and love each other.

As one of my friends on Facebook put it, “Think of all the children born today who will never know a life where marriage wasn’t legal for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation.”

Kids will grow up with that as the societal narrative now, reinforced by the law. Yes, there will probably still be the conservative nobs and fundies who say otherwise and people who just “don’t quite get it”. But the majority support the new narrative – people from a diverse background. Change has happened and will keep on happening.

After all, there’s still plenty to do to ensure all are truly equal. In the LGBTIQA+ sphere, there are broader discriminatory practices that need to be fought, for example. Also, beyond that, human rights/ social justice issues are all interconnected.

But for now, it’s time to celebrate.

 

 

[Reblogged] Guest Post: Breaking The Low Mood Cycle

Interesting stuff in the Captain Awkward archives. Reminds me a bit of some of the things (like stress buckets and activity scheduling) we looked at in my mental health subject earlier this year. So I am sharing it and bookmarking it. Check it out.

Also: five days in a row of blogging last week, yay! That is down to scheduling and while I know I can’t always do it, it’s nice when it happens.

via Guest Post: Breaking The Low Mood Cycle

[reblog] It’s Not Over Yet

Bah humbug, of course Turnbull did.

Tosser.

Give Alistair Lawrie’s blog post a read then head over to http://equalmeansequal-justequal.nationbuilder.com/ and make sure your MP does their job in voting for what we asked for – a Marriage Act that doesn’t discriminate. Religious celebrants are already allowed to refuse service if it goes against their religious beliefs or the laws of their religion. that’s why there is a difference between religious celebrants and civil ones! Grrrr.

Bloody politicians – please get it done next week with no stupid amendments! *grumbles*

via It’s Not Over Yet

Oh, and btw, please stay safe this weekend Victorians. It looks like we’re in for a wild ride (that’ll have already begun in some parts when this post goes live). Batten down the hatches if you can – or else (if you’re like me and have pre-arranged plans) be very, very careful.

Update on “What Now for Manus?”

Last week I sent an email to some Parliamentarians as part of my personal actions in support of the men on Manus.

A spokesperson/ staffer/ etc. has got back to me from one of them. Below is the email he wrote and the one I sent back after I’d read it.

Stupid wedge politics.

His email:

Dear Clare,

Thank you for writing to the Shadow Minister about refugees in PNG following the closure of the former Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.

Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton have been woefully incompetent in their management of offshore processing arrangements – including failing to be upfront from the start about access to essential services at alternative accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees.

The standoff at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if the Turnbull Government didn’t wait until the last minute to finalise ongoing arrangements in PNG.

Following the transfer of refugees from the closed Manus Island RPC to alternative accommodation, Malcolm Turnbull has a moral obligation to ensure refugees have access to essential services including food, water, security, health and welfare services.

Manus Island and Nauru were set up as regional transit processing facilities but have become places of indefinite detention because of Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton’s failure to negotiate other third country resettlement options.

Labor strongly supports the US refugee resettlement agreement and has called on Malcolm Turnbull to work with the US to expedite the resettlement process.

Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton have put all their eggs in one basket with the US agreement and have failed to secure other third country resettlement arrangements.

It’s extremely disappointing Malcolm Turnbull has failed to show leadership and accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle eligible refugees from both Manus Island and Nauru.

Of course, there would need to be conditions on any resettlement deal with NZ in the same way there are conditions on the US arrangement.

Malcolm Turnbull needs immediately begin to negotiate the New Zealand and other viable third country resettlement options to get eligible refugees off Manus Island and Nauru as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Shadow Minister on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Timothy Dunlop

The Hon Shayne Neumann MP | Federal Member for Blair

Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

My response:

Hi there,

Thanks for answering my email. I’m still left feeling a bit dissatisfied.

In my original email I asked certain questions, namely: “Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why [was] the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices?”

Are there any answers for these?

Thank you.

 

We’ll see what happens.

“Much Ado About Nothing” at the Pop-Up Globe

The above is a YouTube clip I grabbed from a link on the Pop-Up Globe’s Facebook page.

The Pop-Up Globe is currently in Melbourne, with an extended season until the end of January. Last night, as I mentioned yesterday, I went to see Much Ado About Nothing there.

It was really really fun. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but once I’d got over that it was really good. The cast performed their roles really well.

An interesting element was added by the structure of the auditorium. Those in the standing-room-only section at the front were put in the position of a “chorus” if you will – the players made entrances through them, used them to hide, or conversed with them. If you were in the very front part, you also had to risk having things like partially chewed food splattered on/near you! (I’m glad we were in the next section up!)

Below are some photos I took. I recommend the experience highly -but get in quickly!

 

What are you up to?

Guess what – according to WordPress, I’ve been blogging for three years exactly as of yesterday. Hooray!

 

It’s getting to that busy time of year again, isn’t it?

Melbourne is quite a big city – and I really feel that when my weekend involved going from the north-east to the south-east on Friday, then from there to my regional hometown on Saturday before going back to the south-east on Sunday. Yep, it was one of those weekends. Lots of fun stuff with a bit of work/ business thrown in.

Quite a few people had their eyes turned northwards on Saturday through to Sunday as QLD voted. I know people up there and given a couple of the major election issues were pertinent to my interest, I paid attention too. Then today I spied this article – one Queenslander’s opinion of the election. Interesting! I’m curious about what the Queenslanders in my life think about it.

Lately, I’ve been reading a book about General Sir John Monash. I put a hold on it after the concert I participated in in September. I have to admit, I had songs from the September concert running through my head during parts of the book. The book is called, “Maestro John Monash: Australia’s Greatest Citizen General” and is by Tim Fischer, former deputy PM of Australia. Fischer gives a good overview of Monash’s life, focusing on his activities during WWI but not neglecting his other achievements, pre- and post-war. The book has been written with an agenda – Fischer believes that Monash was discriminated against while he was alive, and denied an active service promotion to General due to this (his promotion came a year before his death). The book also maintains that Monash is not properly recognised now. Actually, that’s really the main purpose of Fischer’s book. So I’m going to read another book about the General from a different author when I get the chance as well.

I’m keeping busy organising choir things. LaTUCS have a carolling gig at a Christmas Fair that’s near uni this Saturday then another one at uni the following Thursday. If you’re in the area, why not come along to Saturday’s one? Details in the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/816640598506065/

Another thing that’s keeping me on my toes and will only ramp up from now until January is MIV2018. There are six weeks and two days until Thursday, January 11th 2018, when the festival opens. The concert is just under two months away…and tickets are on-sale! 😀     Click on the link for more info: https://www.miv.org.au/concert.
Meanwhile, I’m putting the details into plans of how to keep 100+ registrants entertained. Hee hee!

Ooh and finally… I’m going to the Pop-Up Globe this evening to see Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and I can’t wait! 😀

 

Beef meat roll

A while back I read a recipe online that sounded really interesting so I decided I’d try it out.

I halved and further adapted this recipe and it was really yummy.

Ingredients:

  • 500g minced meat (I used beef)
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ham
  • cheese
  • carrot strips
  • spring onion
  • extra veg if desired, to serve.

Tools:

  • aluminium foil
  • oven tray
  • mixing bowl

Method:

  1. Mix the mince, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. in a bowl.
  2. Lay the mixture out on an aluminium foil-lined oven tray.
  3. Then start layering!

Uncooked unrolled beef roll is laid out on foil on an oven tray. Beef mince is hidden under layers of ham then cheese then carrot strips and finally spring onion.

  1. Using the foil, carefully roll it up into a log-shape then put it in the oven.
    a) Cooking time will vary according to oven power and temperature but occurs in two stages, one with foil (25 mins at 180 °C) then without (25 mins at 250-260 °C). Times are according to the online recipe and I seem to recall mine took longer because my oven is dodgy.
  2. While it’s cooking steam some extra veggies if you desire.
  3. Eat! I had enough for leftovers.