Music hath charms

We saw a sign outside the Holy Trinity Cathedral advertising the KBB Music Festival this week, and the final concert was open to the public, so away we went. 

They had four categories: chamber groups and concert bands in the afternoon, and the show we saw: symphonic orchestras and jazz bands, in the evening. 

But what were we getting into?

As it turned out, these are the premier high school instrumental ensembles in the Auckland region. Generally from the fanciest private schools. They’d been in an intensive week-long festival/workshop, and this concert was the finale. Almost 4,000 kids in all over the course of the week. 

The first group up, an all-girl orchestra, launched into a Pops rendition of I Could Have Danced All Night, complete with vocalist. But the vocalist was not the teacher or some Julie Andrews wannabe mom, no indeed, it was a pair of girls much too young and small to have pipes like that. Brought tears to our eyes they were so good and so unexpected. 

From there, we went on through three more orchestras and five jazz bands. Kudos to the stage crew. 

There were some pieces that were too ambitious for the kids (sorry, Maestro Shostakovich, they sawed your Festive Overture into ribbons), but some that really worked (Sviridov’s Romance is technically simple and emotionally powerful, so an easy win, and Haydn’s Toy Symphony –complete with silly chicken whistles – had the entire audience and half the players doubled over with laughter). I expect to see Ianetta Solomon-Brown, who channeled Nina Simone for “Feeling Good,” on The Voice some day soon. However, the boy who tried to do Harry Connick Jr. won’t make it much past his fraternity talent show. 

We sat next to a music teacher who brought a group to the festival for the first time this year, but wasn’t included in the concert. We agreed at being amazed at the amount of youthful talent on the progr. He struck me as the kind of teacher you’d remember in later life, and there were a few more of those up conducting. I suppose there are lots of things that teachers aspire to, but being “that teacher” for some of the little snots must be up there. Thank you Mr. Garden, Mrs. Roshko, Mr. Coday. 

All in all, a wonderful evening, leaving us filled with equal parts good music and hope for the future. 

Swamp Thing

The swamp hen is a fairly common bird around here… this is the third time I’ve seen one in my daily perambulations. But, although the picture doesn’t really show it, they’re quite an amazing blue color. Yet another example of why it’s cool to switch context from time to time… the joy of discovery. Even knowing that the thing itself isn’t particularly unusual, it’s totally new to me!

Orange you glad

This is serious citrus country… lemons and limes and mandarins and oranges and grapefruit all grow happily in people’s backyards. The break room at work often has a pile of excess fruit. 

So, a few weeks ago, we ended up with quite a basket of mixed fruits. I thought I would make a sort of lemonade, doing it the Joy if Cooking way where you boil some rinds in with the syrup for extra flavor. So I did, and it came out pretty good. 

But who drinks that much lemonade? Not us. So, we froze a bunch into little citrus ice cubes. All good. But still, it turns out to be a hassle to reconstitute the cubes into breakfast juice, and it’s actually pretty tart. 

Hmmm. A tart citrus ice cube on a warm weekend… whatever shall we do?

#sundayfunday !

A view of Vu

We got a nice update from Corey that the cats are doing fine in their new home after a period of adjustment. As we expected, they seem to have him well trained already as concerns nighttime feeding requirements, playtime, etc.  This pose, which we recognize very well, indicates the need for the human to come rub the royal tummy, whilst preparing for some friendly biting and playing, as long as the cat isn’t actually required to do any work.