Friday 16 December 2016

A Week in Review

We're winding down prior to Christmas and holidays. Benj has finished his Liberal Arts course and has his graduation ceremony tomorrow.
Last weekend he was involved in a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as part of this course. He got to choose a role and decided to play Valentine, Duke Orsino's servant, mostly because there weren't too many lines! Acting isn't something he enjoys too much so it was a bit out of his comfort zone but he performed his part well.
He spent half the day yesterday trying out keyboards at the music shop. He finished 8th grade piano and passed the exam with Honours so he gets to choose an instrument. We've done that for all our children although our violinist daughter ended up with her choice of a violin before she finished her studies because she needed a good quality violin for the higher grades.

Moozle is finishing up part way through her term of work and we'll just pick up where we left off in January. She had her orchestra audition last week and was given the choice to either move up to the Symphony - she's just old enough, or stay in the Strings & Sinfonia and have the role of lead cellist. She chose the latter, which surprised me, as she tends to want to grow up too quickly being the youngest of seven.

Last week my sister-in-law and I went to a live performance of Handel's Messiah which was excellent. We had a huge storm come over and in the middle of one of the tenor's solos, a great crash of thunder overhead caused us all to gasp and jump - not the tenor. He didn't miss a beat. We were impressed with both him and the storm. It was a very fitting accompaniment to such majestic music.

About a year ago I read The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis and it was one of the hardest books I've tackled. This week I found this and thought it would be a good way to 'read' the book again. It's one of those books that needs to be read and re-read to appreciate its depths:

We'll be visiting family in Northern NSW and Queensland during the Christmas break and finding this book was timely as it's set in the Tweed Valley are where we will be spending some time.

Pastures of the Blue Crane by H. F. Brinsmead (1964) is an enjoyable 'coming of age' story which is suitable for around ages 15 and up. Ryl is a 16 year old girl whose mother had died years before and  has had virtually no contact with her father, except for one letter a year. From a very young age she was put into a variety of homes for children and then into boarding school. When her father dies suddenly she is called into his solictor's office where she meets her grandfather for the first time. He and his son had had a disagreement when Ryl was an infant and had not spoken to each other since. Ryl had no idea that he existed. The two had been left a run down old farm and ended up moving from Melbourne to the Northern NSW coast. Now they had to get to know each othe which was not an easy task as both of them are hostile and stubborn.
The descriptions of the area and the journey of the two as they learn to care and rely on each other makes for an interesting read. There is an unlikely twist to the story but I appreciated the way the author explored the growth of two misanthropic characters in their relationship with each other and the issue of race relationships. The author touches on the 'Kanakas' or 'Blackbirds' and the White Australia Policy.

Linking up at Weekly Wrap-up


Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

What a wonderful musical tradition you're giving your kids.

And I never get tired of The Messiah.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,
Did you go to the Town Hall production?? I remember going many years ago before marriage and children and discovered that some people do this every year!
I love Hesba Brinsmead's books and have bought Abolition of Man for my husband this Christmas... I might have an opportunity to read as well.
Congratulations to Benj and Moozle well done.
I hope you have a lovely holiday and thank you for your many inspiring posts they have been a great encouragement to me.


Carol said...

This was the first time I'd been to a live performance & hopefully not the last. It was a bit of heaven for 3 hours.

Carol said...

It was a local production, Margaret. It's been performed at the Hornsby Cathedral every year since 2008. Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful comments. I always enjoy reading them. Have a great Christmas X

Angela said...

Congratulations to Benj on the completion of his liberal arts course — enjoy the ceremony!

Carol said...

Thanks Angela, we did. Hope you and all the family have a great Christmas X