The harp and accompanying cargo left for Hobart Macquarie Wharf No 4 today. I spent yet another day fussing around with packing, finalising the cleaning and sealing, and stuffing as much as possible into the trunk. In the end everything fit in that I wanted to but I had some anxious moments. The two Pelican cases for Video and Zoom recorder and the second tripod that we were waiting on finally arrived at the ANU this morning and Arnan was able to pick them up, along with the ‘Rockbag’ for my Footswitch board which also just arrived. (Yes, now I am a going to be a ‘cool’ rock chick). Especially lucky timing, since I was expecting the trucking company to come on any day this week. We came very close to not having some backup equipment!
Once the semitrailer trundled off into the distance I was able to sit down and heave a sigh of relief to sit behind the harp and practice quietly for a bit. I still have my Lyon & Healy Salzedo at home, and the little Thom lever harp. The program is pretty much organised now, although memory is not quite certain. The program I am preparing for Mawson Base will start with pieces that commemorate the first Antarctic Expedition and so I play some pieces my grandfather mentions in his diaries. This will also involve something I have not done since I first learnt the harp – singing and playing. Lots of fun – especially the drinking song, ‘The Good Rhein Wine’ which was CTM(Cecil Tully Madigan)’s party piece – but I wish my voice was as good as when I was 8 years old! Never mind – I understand his voice was not so marvellous either and I will invite the public to join in the chorus.
I nearly have both Larry Sitsky’s pieces from memory now. They are both marvellously dramatic – the electro-acoustic harp Fantasy sounds like someone with a huge range singing in an enormous ice cathedral. I finally went out and bought myself a loop switch for this piece. The lever harp Fantasy is very beautiful and dark. I will be performing it outside – Andrew Thom says it will be fine to rest the harp on a lump of ice!
Joshua’s Penguin piece is lots of fun to play, and I am hoping to be able to get some video footage while there to match the scenes described (‘Peguins having difficulty organising themselves’, ‘A rowdy party’,’The party is disturbed and the penguins huddle for warmth’ etc). There’s lots of 2 against 3 in alternating hands to describe the waddling penguin gait.
With the cargo on its way, the e-con forms filled out for the shipping, and all the equipment safely in hand or on its way, now I need to move onto the next stage of preparations: making a padded bag for the lever harp. And learning the words for the hymns and rowdy songs – I’ve always been hopeless at remembering words, so it’s quite a good challenge for me.
This is certainly an adventure which is expanding my horizons!
January 13th, 2011 at 11:29 am
Alice – you are so lucky – I can’t believe you are going to play with penguins. WOW. I love penguins. How many varieties do you think you will see? Who is going to take photos? And with a baby Andrew Thom harp and singing too. My Andrew Thom lives at Granny’s now so I can practice when I go to her house. We have never heard you sing but next camp we want to hear all your Antarctic pieces in a big concert. I have just had my first singing lesson but it puts me off the harp a bit when I do the 2 together.
Have you got handwarmers? Mummy says scopolamine patches should be on your backpack list (she spelt that for me). In case it is very rough. You need a prescription apparently unless there is a ships doctor.
When do you leave? Cant wait to read all about it. Mummy is very impressed with all your new techno skills too.
Lots of love and good luck from Philly
January 13th, 2011 at 9:54 pm
Hi Philly – I don’t know how many kinds of Penguins I’ll see, but I will ceretainly be taking lots of photos of the ones I do see, and I’ll be posting them up on the blog for you. I wonder what they will think of harp music. I agree about the coordination of singing and playing, so I am keeping the harp part extremely simple. It does help to have done it when I was young though, so good you are doing some now. I’m going to get some handwarmers from the backpacking shop next week. And thanks for the good idea for the sea-sickness patches. I am just off the my doctor this morning to get a variety of things, so will add that to my request list! I have heard it’s good to take a lot of different prescriptions with you, and something is sure to work. I have strong recommendations for ginger from the ABC camera-man who used to be in the navy. Cammomile is apparently also good (although I hate it), and different medications work well for different people. love, Alice
January 15th, 2011 at 10:25 pm
I would really love to hear the Penguin piece!
January 16th, 2011 at 8:42 am
Hi – I’ll be videoing the whole concert in Mawson Station. Am hoping to put up at least some of the sound, possibly stills, and if I’m lucky with bandwidth allocation at the Station maybe a short video clip right away while I’m there. That performance will be the premier of the Penguin piece. In any case it will all go on the ANU site: http://music.anu.edu.au/Aliceinantarctica
once I get home in March. I was originally hoping to send the concert live, but that uses much more internet capability than the station can allocate. Satellite connection to Antarctica is also complicated because of the shape of the earth apparently. cheers, Alice