If the major cities represented punctuation marks in my 1990 travels, then the grammar of the journey was filled with sentences of woodlands and seabords – places off the beaten track, and places full of enchantment. I had set a course and I was heading to Philadelphia, home of the Second Continental Congress, seat of that remarkable Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone musical, 1776. But before I could reach it, I first took on the central woodlands of West Virginia followed by the candy beach houses of Cape May on the New Jersey coast. Continue reading
That informative digital mag for singers – very knowledgeable, very well connected – iSing has published a second article I submitted. Still about singing for Parkinson’s.
Here it is in pdf.
I think I am more productive than ever, Could this disease have its up–side??
Not since 1995 when we magnificently transformed the 2nd floor Music Library in the Alexander Library Building into an ethereal place of thanks to farewell legendary Manager Kaye Hill have I dared to undertake such an audacious site-specific multi-layered setting such as this.
It is ‘Carols in the Library’ at Riverton Library this Friday night Dec 16th 2016, and it is a festival of Christmas spirit all in the one place and for one night only.
Aged 97, Mums eldest sister (and only surviving sibling), Aunty Else (Dodd) , has left us for remote shores, and we cannot follow, for now.
To sing her a lay of farewell, the family invited me to deliver the eulogy at the service. I am deeply touched by the honour. As I have said to the celebrant, I would rather it was called a Remembrance.
Here it is, a remembrance of Aunty Else.
We returned to Dunsborough in 2017, Cl0se Harmony Choir and its conductor, hoping to revisit the unexpected delight that met us in our first visit two years ago. And if that year’s program had been delivered in the quiet acoustics of St Michael’s Catholic Church, this year I planned a more vibrant, up-tempo program for the Old Town Hall.
The annual charity event, A Walk in the Park, was for Parkinson’s WA and had me at full tilt in September. I was the leading fundraiser in WA. I was eager to complete the event; hungry to raise funds; groomed to lead my choir into song on the day. And then two days before, the flu. A persistent kind of belittling viral (or bacterial) infection that did more than just produce its usual kind of symptoms in me – it seemed somehow to exacerbate the Parkinsonian symptoms.
The continence problems were the first to make an appearance – with each hacking cough, the bladder opened up, and I couldn’t find a compensating kind of Hoover-Dam effect with which to offset it. Then lethargy came with it. Unsteadiness (my old, odd-companion) turned traitor, and one fair midnight, in the garden, toppled me. For 5 silent minutes I lay there, Madeleine nearby – toiletted and puzzled – as I put my arms out wide into push-up stance, and heaved … but no movement, nothing. No strength, no momentum. I smiled. I was grounded.
My pill frequency had become one-every-two-hours. I had ceased to run (to ‘joffle’), had abandoned the ballet-barre and the cross-trainer, mumbled my way through the last half of choir, and waved my arms as if to conduct (but in truth this was an outward show of some kind of movement. More accurately, I approximated a sick seal at Sea World as I flailed my meagre ‘flippers’ around my waist, never at chest height as would a good conductor). Maybe the medication was not strong enough?
I have seen the neurologist since. We have increased the strength of the extended-release medication Sifrol to improve the chances of the other medications attaching to the neurotransmitters of the brain. All should be good, right? It’s not.
Are my neurotransmitters at fault? I am obviously no Wireless Hill and mywee neurotransmitters (all them pesky little critters) ought to be stripped down and replaced! I take a pill … I still feel ill. But … there is some show of improvement. My pill-interval is now 4 hours instead of 2, and as it takes a hold (say, 2 hours) I am refreshed. I’ve even been accused of running! I’ve shouted (in jest!) at the choir. I’ve stayed up past 8:30. I am beginning to write again.
We have some way to go to stabilise my condition, but finally, after a long fall, a rise … but Robert and I have each other, and beautiful family, and caring friends and are blessed with a choir that nourishes us both xx
For fifty-eight days I have trained for this event: I have risen at 5am and ‘joffled’ my way through a 4km circuit followed by a 2km walk for Maddie; I have set to work on the cross-trainer, always planning on a 30-minute session which my spirit baulked at part-way through; I have done an aerobic circuit courtesy of Sworkit, and a ballet workout, both aimed at revitalising lingering regions and restoring circulation; I have made myself a morning Nutriblast to improve my intake of fresh produce; and I have adjusted my medication to try and find a better fit for my current states of cardio and balance and determination.
But I have faltered.
Four days out came the onset of a heavy, long-lasting, nasty flu, and I am watching too poor Robert labour under the strain he has developed.
I am going today, I have to. Mum has arrived to do her 2km walk; Close Harmony is singing at the lunchtime activities; and friends galore are registered for the event.
And look at the total of my everyday hero fundraising page …. $4,476 … overtime I look at it and I grow more amazed by the countless generosities. I want to circle you all in a hug and hold fast.
Send us all energy for today, please, for kind conditions, for an easy stride and a steady step. Today, no one should know a stumble!
It is the flow of abundance that matters.
Not the training. Or the actual fundraising (although these are important).
But the heart sees something more important here…
The free flowing, fast falling care of kind folk for another ..
I am made humble by these acts of generosity, and they will never be forgotten.
I aimed for $500. With one week to go, I have raised $4,100.
May I lift you up, raise you high should you ever need me.
B & R x
I’ve been published.
By a reputable journal covering vocal health and performance artistry.
And its an online journal. With international reach. Bet you’re surprised to know that my fanciful prose has been lassoed into a different arena.
Must I disclose that its owner is my good friend, chanteuse and vocal coach par excellence, former Nedlands resident now living in the UK, Line Hilton?
Just read the article!
At work, Cathy has done a nice job of a display in the front window on the subject of ‘poetry’. She has included a whimsical incomplete haiku. Which got me to thinking (in rhyme, of course) …
Who writes Haiku?
It’s précision in our language that is telling;
Merely thinking that it’s not is quite absurd.
Every action is ascribed upon an actor,
And then that actor is described by just one word.
It is often that that word will be much larger
Than the action that it’s outcome will describe.
There are times when it will be a little shorter,
And there, to put it plainly, is the jibe.
A Play is created by a playwright;
A novelist enacts the novel, see;
A drama is the thing of every dramatist,
And every word is right as it can be
A comedy’s dependent on the comic,
And poetry the poet brings to life.
But travel to Japan, every woman, every man
Is in strife,
When describing it is who
Who knocks out a sweet haiku,
Is it the work of a haikuist,
Or just a haik?
Who writes haiku?