Saturday, May 07, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings - the rhythms of life

I arose this morning with very good intentions, a long list of things to do. Then I got sidetracked.

The TAS (The Armidale School) Parent and Friends Queen Victoria Music Hall began in 1969 and continued until 1996. For much of this time I was living in Canberra, but came back for six or seven. This morning I found that highlights of the later ones were included on YouTube.

The video follows. It's a bit over 50 minutes, but do have a browse. Just flick though. The thing that stands out are the production qualities, not in the film, but in the sets, the choreographer and the singing. These are amateur productions, but at a very advanced level indeed. Both the choreographer and the singing are at professional level.

We all experience the rhythms of life. To a degree, these are associated with aging. The pattern varies, but in broad terms we can think childhood, establishment, having our own family, work phases, then wind-down and retirement.

I use the word rhythm because humans are pattern animals. We establish routines, patterns, that mark that phase of our life. Dictated by events at the time, they give us a feeling of familiarity and security even when the world is insecure, Perhaps especially when the world is insecure.

Generally, one phase merges into another, although there can be major shocks that force sudden transition. Examples include sudden illness, deaths, unexpected job losses and marriage break-ups. In some countries, you can add things like wars and famines. It's easy to forget how lucky we are in Western countries.

The next video is Philip Bailey interviewing Jim Graham on the history of the Music Hall productions at TAS. It's a very long video, not far short of two hours, so you need to think of it as a documentary film which indeed it is. Further comments follow the video..

I always struggled a little with Jim. Our personalities didn't mesh. The performance Jim, me in this case. emerged later. I was very insecure, nor could I sing well., so I never sought to join in the annual Gilbert and Sullivan performances that under Jim were such a feature of school life. I enjoyed them, I remember them well,  they were part of the rhythm of my life at the time, but I was an observer, an audience member.

The same applied to the Music Halls, although I was now living away for much of the period.

Aunt Kay, second on the left in this photo, was one of the Grand Dames in the Music Hall and also used to help prepare the boys for the Gilbert and Sullivan productions. "Dear", she used to say to me, "I dressed Peter Cousens". Peter's mum, another Music Hall stalwart, was a friend of Kay and Ron's.

I think that it is only now that I am coming to recognise Jim Graham's contribution. He is a remarkable man.

Rhythms.At secondary school, it was the Gilbert and Sullivan. In Canberra, it was coming back sometimes to the Music Hall. Back in Armidale, it was a bit of both.Now I think that I will finish. I still have some videos to watch!

I am still surprised at the standard. It's only when we go away from our place that we get a comparison.       .



Sue said...

I am very grateful for the Armidale G&S influence as it introduced me to a life long enjoyment of G&S.(Thank you Jim.) And to think it all started with James Vickers singing in the chorus of The Gondoliers put on by the Queanbeyan Players!

Last year the Queanbeyan Players celebrated 50 years. They have gone from strength to strength and now have a wonderful theatre (the Q) to perform in - a far cry from school halls in early days. To commemorate 50 years they performed My Fair Lady - it was a superb production.

Jim Belshaw said...

I had forgotten that, Sue, the QP performance. Good to see them make progress. A long way since that early time.

Unknown said...

Ah, Jim. Thems was the days... Jim Graham did an extraordinary job with those productions. It was great to see some old familiar faces. Thanks for this.
Bob Clarke

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Bob. Good to hear from you. Glad your enjoyed the piece.