Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
January 2020
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12 of 12, December 2019

Most of my previous December “12 of 12” collections have included something about Christmas card writing. It must be that time of year.

I forgot to take my lunch to work, and so had to pop down to “Lazenby’s” to get one of the nice sushi packs that they stock. I returned via the bush track before dosing up on wasabi.

I’m about to build a shed in the front yard. It will need some shelves.

It will also need some anchor bolts, which the equipment check list for the shed kit indicated was not included in the shed. Of course, the place I bought the shed didn’t have any anchor bolt kits in stock, and so I had to go to a more out-of-the-way place to pick up what I needed (and then, two days later when we actually came to assemble the shed, we found that an anchor bolt kit had been supplied … although with fewer bolts than the instruction sheet recommended was suitable (but that’s a saga for another story)).

In the late afternoon I went down to Lisa’s house and did some painting (cutting in) in one of the rooms, before mowing the remaining half of the lawn.

And then I picked up Josh from his new job at a Scottish restaurant.

[This is the 124th “12 of 12” post since I started doing this in 2009, bringing you 12 photos on the 12th of each month, capturing my day or some photographic theme.]


Pontoon party

It has become something of a tradition that one of our last Scout nights for the year be a “pontoon party”, held down at Sandy Bay Beach. There is a pontoon moored just off the beach, and the kids enjoy jumping from it and pfaffing around in “Bob” and the kayaks.

At one stage I had a few kids in tow on the back of my kayak … but it wasn’t until I took this shot that I realised that there were six of them. No wonder I wasn’t making much headway.

Moods of the Mountain #114

It is approaching solstice, and this, combined with daylight savings, means that dusk occurs just after 9pm. I love this time of year.

Shooting the band

Imogen’s band “The Method” has been getting the occasional gig, and, in addition to broadening my musical horizons, this gives me the chance to gain experience as a rock photographer! (I suspect the band has more chance of a career than the photographer!)

] \

Moods of the Mountain #113

December 4: and summer begins with a decent dump of snow on the mountain!


The day after Verdi’s “Requiem”

The reason I had to haste away after the Verdi Requiem was to get back to Tasmania in time to attend Imogen and Josh’s end of year guitar concert. This annual event is organised by their guitar teacher, and features his students performing some of the material they have been working on during the year.

Imogen performed one of her own compositions;

Josh played bass;

with Imogen accompanying on drums;

and at the end of the concert — after several minutes of setting up and getting all the leads connected to the amps — all the students get together for a cheerful and loud rendition of some piece that accommodated all their capabilities.

I can’t remember what piece it was this year … but it was a definite contrast to Verdi. 😉

Oh, and in an important continuation of a tradition, Imogen prepared decorated cupcakes for the refreshments, just as her Mum had done for previous concerts.

Verdi’s “Requiem”

So, while our day-times in Perth were filled with R&R, our evenings were taken up with rehearsals and then our two performances. After an initial get together with the WASO Chorus in another venue, we had our first conductor call on Tuesday night. Here we figured out where the 150 or so of us were going to be sitting and realised that the poor tenor section was well and truly outnumbered by every other voice part.

Wednesday and Thursday nights were orchestra calls, and revealed that the Perth Concert Hall has great acoustics, with all vocal parts and the orchestra clearly audible as we sang.

Before one of the performances the TSO Chorus gathered on the steps of the concert hall for a photo of the touring party,

and someone (not me … and I can’t remember who it was to give credit) took a photo of the hall as it started to fill for one of our two almost sold out performances. 

The performances went really well. Verdi’s Requiem is a dramatic work with a nice mix of contrasts for the chorus, and I thoroughly enjoyed being involved. The coincidence of a maths conference running in nearby Fremantle at the same time meant that a few of my friends were able to see the Friday night performance and I caught up with three of them afterwards for a late bite to eat. My need to catch the midnight flight after Saturday’s performance meant that I couldn’t stay for the post-concert celebrations, but at least I made my way out to the airport on a bit of a high from the adrenaline.

(I’m at the far right end of the front row in the last photo.)

We felt that the performances went well; it was nice to see this impression confirmed in a couple of good reviews that appeared in the following days (Limelight Magazine and Seesaw Mag).

Day trip to Rotto

About 20km off the coast of Fremantle (south of Perth) lies Rottnest Island, a sandy sanctuary of beaches and rugged coastline, free of car traffic, and inundated with tourists and quokkas. Quite a few of the TSO Chorus members made their way across and chose whatever they wanted to do for the day.

I hired a bike and headed off to do a circuit of the island, heading along the southern coast first and stopping at the lighthouse for a tour and some views.

There was wildlife in abundance: the cute quokka (a marsupial about the size of a domestic cat), a sea eagle, and seals off the coast of Vlaminghe Point.

Although it was a sunny day, there was a coolish breeze and so, despite the tempting beaches, I did not go for a swim (a plan that was also a consequence of not having taken the optimal attire for such an activity).

As I neared the end of my circuit I stopped for lunch and encountered a family of quokkas playing the “feed me ‘cos I’m cute” card for the tourists.

I also detoured via some of the salt lakes at the eastern end of the island.

And there were more quokkas back at the main settlement when I returned the bike at the end of my 35km journey.

On tour in Perth

Singing with the TSO Chorus is providing some wonderful opportunities to do interesting choral works … and not just within Tasmania. Earlier in the year some of the choir members went to Berlin (but not me, because of lots of reasons); and in November a big group of about 50 of us made the journey across to Perth to join with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra Chorus and WASO in two performances of Verdi’s Requiem. Because of the need to have rehearsals together we had to be in Perth for a week, taking leave from our day jobs and, since rehearsals were in the evening (as the WASOC members were still doing their day jobs), we had time for holiday-type activities during the mornings and afternoons.

On the Monday, most of us gathered for brunch out near one of the beaches, and afterwards headed to Bold Park for a wander around some of the bushland there (the first photo evokes thoughts of “Mad dogs and Tasmanian choristers go out in the midday sun”).

There were interesting Western Australian banksias,

grassy bushland,

and interesting crinkly fronds.

On the Tuesday, we had the opportunity to have a masterclass with renowned Australian soprano Sara Macliver. This was really useful and we were able to hone our sound and technique (although, as the only representative of the tenor section, it was also a little scary!).

In the afternoon we met at the Botanical Gardens where one of the WASOC members, who volunteers as a guide there, took us on a quick tour of some of the interesting plants and history, including the Sturt Desert Pea, a boab tree, and various kangaroo paw plants.

After the evening’s rehearsal, I headed past some of the city Christmas decorations, and up to King’s Park where I took some photos of the city.

On Wednesday I had a lazy-ish day, but took a ferry trip across the Swan River which gave good views of Perth and, on the southern side, had a very nice lunch. 

On my return I took photos of two parabolas, a series of ellipses, and a Möbius strip sculpture, because mathsy things are always interesting.

12 of 12, November 2019

Today was a day for mostly forgetting to take photos, in part because I hadn’t picked a theme or focus for the day. I remembered while I was marking … and letting my eyes wander out the window and around the room to which I’d escaped because my office is a disaster area.

I remembered to take a few photos of my changing side fence, which the neighbour and I are replacing due to its old age and dilapidated state (well, actually, she organised that we pay someone else to take care of it). Photo 1: evidence of dilapidatedness; Photo 2: the corner where the shed is going to go (but can’t until the fence is replaced); Photo 3: the same corner, with progress towards fence replacement.

I remembered when I got back home after work, and capitalised on Imogen’s collection of cactuses and succulents which now adorn my front porch area.

In the evening we had a TSO Chorus rehearsal, with Verdi’s Requiem the focus of our attention in anticipation of an interstate performance.

And, having remembered that I hadn’t taken many photos and worried in case I didn’t have enough decent/interesting ones, I snapped a shot of the full moon when I got home from the rehearsal.

[This is the 123rd “12 of 12” post since I started doing this in 2009, bringing you 12 photos on whatever moves me on the 12th of each month.]