Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Life of Brian

I thought I would begin this post with a dear little anecdote.

On the morning of the all-important Folklore category of the competition, Marshell Lombard (Director of Music and Conductor) came to me at breakfast and whispered confidentially that he had a peculiar experience the previous night. He told me that a woman wanted him to pay 50 dollars to talk to him and he couldn't believe that women would charge that much to talk... Sigh.

He shared his experience with the rest of the staff at the breakfast table and the story just got better and better.

So the night before our Folklore category our beloved conductor was fighting a bout of insomniac nerves. He decided a quiet beer could help calm the nerves, so he found a vaguely decent looking bar and walked in. He was immediately surrounded by twenty women who would not let him leave. At this point, an innate fear of large groups of cloying women started to surface.

The women asked for his name and he says he said 'Jared' but in his head, he was thinking 'Brian'. Brett (Alborough) and I decided that he would have definitely said Brian because Jared is not a good nightwalker name. Marshell asked the barman if these women were prostitutes and was relieved when the barman said that they weren't. There's nothing like a trustworthy barman.

At some point one of the women told Marshell that it would be 50 dollars (R500) to 'talk'. Marshell couldn't believe the price one has to pay for a decent conversation these days! He asked if it was necessary to pay for a conversation and the woman was most insistent. Brett then pointed out that 'the talk' she was referring to was for further negotiations of a very non-conversational manner. After Brett pointed this out, Marshell realised that the women had been touching him the entire time and one kissed him on his cheek. When the penny dropped, Brett and I were in hysterics and Marshell was looking slightly violated. You just never know with people .... Marshell by day....Brian by night.

So back to the main event.

Yesterday was the all-important Folklore performance. Our boys were phenomenally focused and their performance was incredibly energetic and exciting. I watched two groups before ours. They were both technically good, but the performance value of our boys was on another level. As a Drama teacher I obviously judge a performance on a completely different set of specifications, so for me, we were streaks ahead of the other groups, but I obviously can’t comment from a musicality standpoint.

Singaporean audiences are hard to read. They are a society who do not like to break boundaries. It is why they are structured, organised, clean and orderly, but it also means that their responses are moderated. One good sign that our performance was a success was the number of phones and tablets that suddenly went up to record on the opening line of our performance.

Our boys were dripping with sweat and were absolutely exhausted after their performance. Months of intensive rehearsal have led to this point and it is that moment of exhalation after something so fiercely important that one realises how much soul has gone into this performance.

Yesterday was deeply spiritual for other reasons too. Our day had started with low energy. In the morning we visited the two domes at Garden By The Bay. The adrenaline of the first two days had worn off and boys were starting to look a little ragged and fatigued. The combination of hot, humid weather outside and the icy air-conditioning inside is something our boys are battling to acclimatise to.

We arrived at the domes dragging our feet a little. To be fair, the idea of looking at flowers for a morning probably doesn't appeal to many teenage boys - unless you're my husband, who spent a great deal of his youth in plant nurseries with his mom. But he is an anomaly and he now works for The Gardener magazine...

When we entered the first dome - the flower dome - I suddenly wished my husband was with me. I find it hard to describe, but basically the genius Singaporeans have created several different biospheres from all over the world under one roof. From South Africa to the Mediterranean to California to an olive grove - all these different fauna environments are housed in one place. Loubser pointed out that the temperature and moisture levels are different in different parts of the dome, depending on the garden in that area. Mind-blowing. I didn't think I'd ever find myself in a meadow of orchards! It was also awesome to see one of the only plants that survive in my mom's garden - agapanthas - were also a firm favourite all over the dome.

Then onto the next dome - the cloud forest. This is a mountain climate biome - a seven story man made mountain, covered in vegetation from high mountainous regions. I seldom find man made things awe-inspiring and seldom experience the spirit of God in something that isn't natural, but when a society commits themselves to reflecting the creation of God in such a sensitive, magnificent and respectful way, one can’t help but tear up.

I watched the spirits of our boys lift as they entered that cool, oxygen-rich space. It was like they connected their batteries into nature's charger and suddenly all their cells were reactivated. Anyone who doesn't believe in God must surely believe in nature because there is no greater force of life than the spirit we find in God's creation.

And so that was yesterday's adventure. An unexpected experience of paradise, followed by the heavenly sounds of our precious boys. Today we compete in the Equal Voices category.

Cheers for now,
The Team...and Brian

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