I want to start off this entry by saying thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. From the the parents and family members that always supported us to Eiko and Kyoko for even making this possible, thank you for your time and effort. For me this trip was a dream come true and will be a life experience like none other.
The symposiums are always a lot of hard work and practicing, and this one no different. Some days we would leave the hotel at 8:30am and not get back until 9:30pm. And although those days were exhausting it all paid off in the final concert. We played 8 songs, from all of the international handbell delegates. Some songs were very difficult to get and not having a consistent conductor made learning the songs a little harder. As an ensemble we were able to help each other out to perfect each song, or at least try to.
During the concert we had the honor of listening the some of the indigenous peoples music which was a great contrast to the modernistic music we were preforming. The concert started off with the great barrier reef, which outlined the rise fall and future of the reef and ended with a great composition of music from Les Miserables the musical. The pieces were all hand selected by the handbell guild of each representing country and held special meaning to there culture and way life. The meaning behind some of these songs are touching and others are meant to highlight the bright fun nature of there culture like Singapore’s song.
Over all the concert went off without a hitch and even had some surprising moments (the ending of Les mis and a bass mallet unraveling mid song). I am so blessed to have experienced such a great last concert. I will miss playing bells so much. And will never forget the memories I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned and will carry them with me forever.
Today we went on a river boat ride. On the boat ride we saw four grownup and three very cute baby crocodiles. Also, we saw some herons and egrets in a tree. The egrets were completely white with an orange beak. Unlike the zoo crocodiles we saw, the crocodiles were in their natural habitat. The duration of the river boat ride was about an hour. After the river boat ride we went to go eat some very unusual fruit. My two favorite fruits that we tasted was the sour mango, and passion fruit. There was a type of fruit that was a white jelly on the outside and a black seed on the inside.
After that, we went to Mossman Gorge. We went on a hike in the rain forest. We got to see a very rare lizard called Boyd’s forest dragon, which is indigenous to the area. We walked on a lookout and saw part of the gorge and water flowing over big rocks. Then we continued to a suspension bridge and there was a lookout to see a rock cairns which is a stack of rocks balanced on top of each other. Then we walked back down to a calmer part of the gorge and took a short swim in the mineral filled, freezing water. Our tour guide Carlos went to the edge of the boundary then came back to the shore swam and climbed on rocks. We swam with fish. We had a great time in Mosson Gorge where the trees and plants are 165 million years old.
On the way back to the convention center we passed a wild wombat before we came to a cliff. There we stopped the bus to take pictures of the sea. When we got to the convention center we had dinner.
Today we had our first workshops. At the workshops we choose different activities that may or may not be related to handbells. It can be learning about a different culture or about learning different handbell techniques. I chose workshop called Chinese knot ornaments.
However today was a much more important day to us. Today was the day of our solo piece.
After morning practices we practiced our solo piece. We squeezed in any practice time we could find.
Before the concert we were all nervous since the really good japanese choir as well as the Hong Kong choir was playing the same day as us. (And when I say good I mean good to the point where they practice 9 hours a week).
But I knew we would rock it.
We spent hours practicing and worked hard to get this piece to where it is now. We practiced it to the best of our abilities and we played at our best. It wasn’t about which choir was the best. What matters is how much we put into the music. After playing our solo piece, I think it was the best that we have ever played.
Since I am a senior, today was the last day I would probably ever play a solo piece at a international symposium. I am so grateful for the handbell community. It shows a whole new world where there is no cultural or language barrier. We communicate through music and the emotion we portray through music. The friends that I have made through handbells are something that I will never find anywhere else in the entire world. I only see them once a week for two hours yet I’ve created some of my most closest friends that I truly care about. I will always cherish my time playing handbells and the friends that I have made.