Friday, 20 November 2009

My son just conducted the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra!

This morning our family went to a Classic Kids concert given by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Lots of fun music and dancing and learning about the instruments and sections of the orchestra. The different sections were dressed in different colored tops to aid identification, a la the Wiggles, and the conductor had a multi-colored top on.

The MSO, in more formal attire

A boy and girl were selected to conduct The Liberty Bell, and my kids, who were seated at the front were predictably disappointed not to be picked. But wait ...

After kicking off the finale, The William Tell Overture ("Hi ho Silver - away!"), one of the most thrilling showpieces in the orchestral repertoire, the conductor, Ben -- Benjamin Northey, bless him, may he have a long life and outstanding career -- dashed into the audience, asked Jake's Mum if he'd like to conduct (swift affirmative response), and led Jake to the podium where he handed Jake the baton. Jake proceeded to perform with verve, enthusiasm and undisguised joy for about 3 minutes, all the way to the end of the finale, followed by wild applause from the audience.

Benjamin Northey, my favorite conductor

It was awesome. I was in tears, Andi (Jake's mum was in tears), and Ella no doubt expects to get to conduct the orchestra next time round. It was awesome and inspiring. A child came up to Jake afterwards and said that he was better than the real conductor; that kid will not grow up to be a music critic, but bless him too!

On questioning Jake said that the fast bits were more challenging to conduct than the slow bits, and that even though conducting was fun, he would prefer to be an inventor of new musical instruments when he grows up than an orchestra conductor.

Jake played Moses at kindergarten (with stick), and conducted the MSO at age 5 in the William Tell Overture with baton. What a little legend!

Andi's post on the same incident.

Update: Andi wrote to Benjamin Northey to thank him. Here's his reply:
From: Benjamin Northey
Sent: Sunday, 22 November 2009 11:32 AM
To: Andi Herman
Subject: Re: Thank you

Hi Andi,

So kind of you to share this with me. Jake was pretty much the highlight of the week for us! The orchestra loved him and as you say, to see such pure joy was very special indeed - very moving. Loved reading the blogs also.

I hope that this is something Jake will remember for a long time. Please say hi to BOTH of your children from me!

all best, Ben
We hope so too. Thanks again, Ben.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

So he writes books about movies?

From the "Overheard" section in mX:
Girl: I'm going to see Taming of the Shrew.
Friend: Is that like the book that's based on the movie Ten Things I Hate About You?
Girl: Not quite. It's by William Shakespeare.
Friend: Didn't he do Romeo and Juliet?
Girl: That's the one.
Friend: So he writes books about movies?
Girl: Have you ever been to English class?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Opposite rhymes

My daughter Ella, who is not yet four, has invented a new word game called "opposite rhymes".

You know how the word game "opposite pairs" works: Name pairs of words that are opposites. For example:
  • Big - little
  • Black - white
  • Hot - cold
And "rhyming pairs":
  • Fiddle - middle
  • Hot - cot
  • Head - said
But in opposite rhymes (also known as rhyming opposites) you have to do both at once, making it considerably harder:
  1. Ella: Tall - small
  2. Andi: Happy - crappy
  3. Andi: Sad - glad
  4. Dan: Familiar - unfamiliar (deemed unacceptable)
So I'm pretty impressed with my little girl for inventing this new form of wordplay and finding the first one.

Can you find of any others? It ain't easy.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Which religion should I follow?

Gone are the days when one simply followed the religion of one's forefathers and foremothers. For those who find themselves confused by all the different choices on the market, here's a handy visual guide:

Click for a larger and clearer version

Hopefully people of all faiths and non-faiths are equally offended and amused.