Summary as I get ready to leave

Coming up for air… things haven’t exactly slowed down. I leave for my overseas trip in a week. More about that later.

Last week I was back in Albury with the gorgeous Sartory String Quartet. We spent two days working with students from Burrumbuttock Primary School and surrounds. It was a great project, with some bright and sparky kids, incredibly welcoming teachers, a state-of-the-art environmental centre to work in (the pride of the town, and no wonder! It’s very impressive), and as ever some inspired and inspiring music. We did quite a complex body percussion routine, invented some beat-box inspired vocal percussion, and created short pieces in small groups, all on a theme of epic train travel.

Sartory (the quartet) are naturals at this kind of creative engagement with young people. They each have their own style of communicating and facilitating, and make very lovely connections with the young people. This time the project included another electric guitar and an accordion! as well as one of the flautists we worked in the first Albury project.

Burrumbuttock is a small town about 30kms out of Albury. The school invited students from all the surrounding schools to take part in the project, and really gave it the firm status of something unique and special – which indeed these projects always are. I think it is so valuable to get out to the smaller and more isolated townships – there is extraordinary talent out there, and a huge amount of goodwill, enthusiasm and appreciation.

These last two weeks have been particularly diffficult for some close friends of mine, who lost a family member in a terrible road accident recently. It’s been a reminder to me of how precious those we love are, and how much strength we may need to draw upon within ourselves at any time, whethre that be for ourselves or for others. I have been finding myself feeling overwhelmed somewhat, in the post-Hunger daze, and floundering in a sea of my own over-commitment to work. Spending time with my friends in their time of need in fact showed me that I had come out of the other side of my tricky time, and that I had lots to give someone else.

Tomorrow is my last day at the Language School before heading off overseas. I have prepared a hand-over document for each of the teachers, outlining where we are up to with our books&music projects, the ideas I have for the overall structure, and some suggestions of how to approach it if they want to continue the projects without me.

It’s not the hand-over I’d have liked – my time at the school has been so severely curtailed this term by my freelance work – and also, I feel like the projects have developed way beyond what I’d intended to do. Perhaps I will revisit the work when I return in the new year.

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