Despite the fact that we are all locked down for the sixth time, and who-knows how many days, we seem to be getting quite good at entertaining ourselves and staying in touch. Bravo everyone. This is such a resilient group with someone always coming up with a creative idea just when we need it. All of us appreciate your positive attitudes and creativity.
Jill Thompson, Editor
One such event that took place recently was “Play Music on the Porch” which is a world-wide phenomenon and is already an annual event. Our roving reporter, Sally Baker was on the spot:
Table of Contents
- PLAY MUSIC ON THE PORCH DAY
- GETTING TO KNOW YOU - SALLY BAKER
- REPORT FROM THE LUKES COMMITTEE
- TIME TO WRITE A RONG SONG NIGHT
- HAVE YOUR SAY
|PLAY MUSIC ON THE PORCH DAY
By our reporter Sally Baker
Play Music on the Porch Day is an international day of music. It started 4 years ago with a few musicians playing in Highland Park, California and has become an international event on the last Saturday in August.
Saturday 28 August, 2021, was this year’s celebration of Music on the Porch. I’d never heard of it. Or perhaps someone told me about it last year and I wasn’t paying attention. But a few days ago an email crashed into my Inbox announcing that it was happening. Tatyana was my informant, and it wasn’t a big jump to go from that to asking how to get a local circuit going? Covid-safe of course, and within our 5k radius.
I started the ball rolling with a warm-up from 10 to 11. My porch is nearly hidden behind some vigorous shrubby things in the front garden, so after a quick prune to widen my appeal, I was ready. I survived an attack of butterflies, “OMG, there are people on the street there listening to me!” and I performed a mix of classical Spanish guitar, jolly folk songs and some of my own graffiti songs about Covid and lockdown. My audience waved and smiled, and moved along.
Then time to head down to Carolyn’s place. There she was, sitting in a sunny corner by her front gate next to a footpath leading down to the beach. Such a lovely morning, and there was a steady stream of beach bunnies, some with surfboards, some with towels, all with broad grins on their faces as they walked past and waved. Carolyn’s repertoire was tailored to her location, with an ocean theme – Octopus’s Garden and Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini were two that I heard.
Next stop was Les “the Ubiquitous Mr.Fox”. He was set up with two companions, a scantily dressed mannequin, and a completely undressed skeleton. Neither of them seemed to know any of the songs Les sang, as they didn’t join in. Les had made a great attempt in dressing himself that morning to blend into the background, at which he had not succeeded. Was I surprised? The standout number was his rendition of The Hymn of the Colorectal Surgeon. There was something about spreading of goodwill and cheeks.
On to Mandy and John. Mandy, the professional, and John, the ever-cheerful support act. Their porch seemed made for such an event. French doors opening from their living-room with white drapes providing a touch of theatre, a small but effective speaker system and a board in front announcing SONGS OF LOVE AND LOCKDOWN. Mandy’s lovely voice and Captain John’s remarkable dance made “Will I Ever See Your Face Again?” really memorable. Why has this song attracted such opprobrium? The audience, spread out all over the street, was very appreciative.
I put on another session in the afternoon which was kiddie-bombed when a friend arrived with three pre-schoolers. Ten minutes before I started I decided to download a couple of kiddy songs in case she turned up with the one I knew about. They took up position on the doorstep and sang and danced to “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” I then went back to my planned program of the morning and managed a wave and smile to my small but admiring audience.
Last gig on the day’s schedule was Tatyana. Tatyana lives in a two-storey house opposite the railway line. When I arrived she was playing to another member on the footpath outside the house. She had a commanding position on a balcony on the first floor and was decorated with flowers (and bunny ears?) in her hair. Her repertoire is always eclectic and unpredictable, and her strong voice was nearly a match for the trains roaring past every five minutes. I think the train drivers had heard about her and were timing their passage to interlink with her songs. She gave us a stirring rendition of Buffy Saint Marie’s “Los Pescadores” – wow! What a voice. Wow! What a song. Still singing and playing as I left.
What a trove of musical treasure we have around Mordialloc Creek. And some of us are already planning for next year’s Music on the Porch. How about you?
Messages to Sally from LUKES members :
Carolyn C: The true spirit of Lukes and our caring community shone out backed up by beautiful sunshine. Smiling faces and music certainly lighten the lockdown load. Pity it's only once a year.
Tatyana: Oh Sally what a wonderful piece about our local Play Music on the Porch day!!
Not only did you put in an amazing amount of time organising this local LUKES tree but you got around to so many people to cheer them on. And now summing up with this descriptive picture of people’s contributions (I really felt like I was there!) and a brilliant call to arms for next year. ?
Here's hoping by next year we can gather together on one of the local “porches” and rather than singing alone and driving we can share some food, wine + music in good company and really give those passers- by something to enjoy. ?
Here's to a future of good health and safety that allows us to gather and share music together once again!
Well done everyone! ?
P.S. Thank you to the lovely people who swung by my balcony (Carolyn, Joanne, Mandy, Sally) to support me even though I was unable to get to yours. It was greatly appreciated.
And I had a gift from a lady 2 doors down who was so chuffed listening to the music as she did her gardening that she ran up with a bottle of Lemon lime + bitters saying it would have been wine if she had any. I didn’t realise we had a Scottish lady living a couple of doors down. What a great way to meet your neighbours. I'm just glad none of them threw things and yelled out “shut up!.” Perhaps they were quietly thinking it... ?
Mandy: Wow Sally,
A natural journalist if ever I read one! Thanks for the report. It was a fun thing to be a part of on such a beautiful day.
Lockdown #6 is definitely wearing people down, so it was a good to be able to spread a little joy and to visit all the porches you’ve mentioned.
Hopefully next year we will leave lockdowns far behind us and be able to perform together on a porch.
I first became aware of Play on Your Porch day during a lockdown ( don’t ask which #number) last August. I’d been for a walk along Main St and someone had stuck a flyer on the wall next to the Post Office. I took a photo of it and thought Why Not? John was convinced to put on his Captain’s costume and perform. He is the drawcard.. I’m just the backing singer.
I told Tatyana, and she participated too, like Juliet, from her balcony.
So, next year will be our 3rd year of Porch playing. And hopefully will be a LUKES event.
In the words of the great Jeff Fenech.. luvs ya all
Shirley: Oh what a joyful day ‘twas for participants expected and surprised.. I wish I had got to your 2 story tower house Tatyana, and to Les's and Mandys... however do hope we can do some delightful music sharing same time next year
Maggie: Fabulous report, Sally! We all loved your show!
Liz: Your playing was great Sally - wish I could have stayed longer. Some great musicians playing on Bay Street also.
|GETTING TO KNOW YOU - SALLY BAKER
For those of you who do not know Sally Baker (or even those who do), we have asked her to take part in our popular Getting to Know You segment. Sally recently conducted a Spicks and Speckish Quiz Party on Zoom for us, which was a great success. She is a terrific wordsmith and creative talent, known for her parody or “graffiti” songs.
Q: Tell us a bit about where you grew up
A: Wimbledon Park in South London, not far from the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. In the fifties when I was in my teens we used to go straight from school to the courts. In those days you could walk straight in the main gates, up to the Centre Court and hang around for the American tourists to come out after the main event finished and they would us give us their tickets and in we would go. I saw Maureen Connolly (Little Mo), Vic Seixas, Ken Rosewall and Lew Hoad playing right there in front of my eyes. Always loved tennis, it’s the only sport I was ever interested in or any good at.
Q: When I was a kid I wanted to be…
A: a fairy queen, a ballet dancer, an actor, a writer, a theatre designer, a journalist, a teacher, famous, grown-up. I managed some of them.
Q: What has been your greatest adventure?
A: coming to Australia in 1967. What an excitement, leaving what even then seemed a stifled and stifling country, to a new young wide-open and promising land. I rarely get homesick although it was a seriously painful reality for a few years after we arrived. You don’t tear yourself away from your family and friends and everything you have ever known and loved without it hurting sometimes. But now, I am so grateful that we had the courage as a young family to make the decision.
Q: Who or what has inspired you?
A: My Spanish grandmother who gave her life for her ideals.
Q: Who living or dead would you most like to invite to dinner?
A: My three teen-age grandsons who live in Beaumaris but we haven’t seen since Christmas. There are serious health issues in the family which have made this lockdown a real struggle for them. I miss their boisterous energy, intelligence and wit.
Q: What would you like to invent?
A: A system where all the great classic books ever written were freely available to be read by anybody who wanted to on their computer. What’s that? Gutenberg Project? What’s that?
Q: What do you wish had never been invented?
A: The ukulele, because it has successfully seduced me away from the guitar. I don’t think anyone would claim that the ukulele has a beautiful sound, but it is a wonderful way for complete beginners to be able to make music with others.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: A really smelly Gorgonzola Dolce, a glass of port and a gripping psychological thriller.
Q: What makes you laugh?
A: Sharp wild imagery like Malcolm Tucker’s unbelievable insults in The Thick of It, just one example, and there is not one which doesn’t need a language warning: “The guy is an epic f***-up. He’s so dense that light bends around him.”
Q: What is your favourite music?
A: Faure’s Requiem. Yesterday it was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Q: What is your favourite Movie?
A: Baghdad Café. 1987 comedy-drama set in a remote truck stop and motel in the Mojave. Characters and narrative wildly improbable, a fantasy with a twist.
Q: What is your favourite Book?
A: Middlemarch, by George Eliot. Published in 1872, it is a glorious rambling epic of a novel, a real soap opera with memorable characters and absorbing real-life conflicts, tensions and dilemmas.
Q: Tell us about a moment that changed your life.
A: The phone call from my mum in September 2004 about the truth of my birth.
Q: The best place on earth is…
A: Right here.
Q: How did you come to join LUKES?
A: Brought along by Don and Meredith East, came for the music, stayed for the people.
Q: What are your hopes for the future Lukes group?
A: That it will continue to nurture new members in their learning and to cherish old members in our forgetting.
Q: What do you most value in people?
Q: What do you dislike?
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: The end of lockdown so that after all these weeks of practice via Zoom I can meet with the Pluckers of Parkdale and hear how our three-part harmonies sound together.
Sally has also created a wonderful Song Book index for us, indexing the five books we frequently use, and in which you will find songs by name in alphabetical order so you don’t have to go rummaging through all the books to track down the location of a particular song or key words in song titles.
Simply login to the Members section of the website, click on Song Library and then click on the first line of the library “Lukes Song Books Index”.
Thanks Sally for your unbounded enthusiasm and gifts to the LUKES community.
|REPORT FROM THE LUKES COMMITTEE
The Committee consists of : Carolyn Coxhead (President), Bradley Croft (Vice-President), Les West (Treasurer) and Jill Thompson (Secretary and Editor of this Newsletter).
We met on 10 September and have a few things to report.
We reviewed sessions that have been held on Zoom on both Tuesdays and Thursdays during Lockdown #6. Anecdotal feedback has been very positive for both session times.
- Review of Zoom sessions during Lockdown #6
Tuesdays from 7 – 9pm have included a variety of programs curated by Tatyana and led by a willing group of volunteers, from informal jam, through TryOutOpenMic (TOOM) and special themed sessions, including the Spicks and Speckish Quiz Party spectacular. These have involved different leaders and allowed for a lot of creativity.
Thursdays from 3.45 – 5.45 pm have been a mixture of inventive and fun theme sessions led by Alison and Brad, with very helpful skill-building sessions led by Brad and Fran. These have taught us how to use virtual rooms on Zoom and provided very valuable learning experiences to help improve our skills and knowledge of music and ukulele playing.
Suggestions for what members would like more or less of in these Zoom sessions, would be much appreciated. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org It looks as if we will still be meeting on Zoom for some time yet.
This will take place on Zoom on Tuesday 19th October at 7pm. Formal notification will be coming your way in the next day or two.
- Annual General Meeting
Pop this date in your diary for our Christmas Party. We are hoping it might be held in person at Mentone for dinner and Covid-Safe frolics. If not, we will Zoom it. Planning is still in the preliminary stages.
- Christmas Party Thursday 16th December from 6.30 to 10.00pm
Meanwhile we are looking for a small sub-committee of volunteers to take on the task of creating and running the Christmas party. The bar was set high last year. If you would be willing to take on this task, please make yourself known to any of the Committee members.
And now for something completely different…….. A message from Bradley Croft
|TIME TO WRITE A RONG SONG NIGHT
Time to Write a
Rong Song Night
Ever thought of being a super hero??
Ever thought you could write the next great Australian novel?
Whispered - (What about writing your own song)
Well, tune up your pencils and unclog the brain-box
It’s time to get started!
Just putting the feelers out at the moment, to see if there’s any interest in having the:
Great Lukeses Song Writing Competition.
I know some of us have already had a giant swing at writing a Blues Song this year, with, I might say, a burgeoning swag of success and talent previously untapped in the greater Bayside area of Melbourne. So here’s your chance to let everyone know what’s been going on in your life, good, bad, indifferent, tumultuous, extravagant, eclectic, static, rhomboid or otherwise.
So if this idea of writing a song, tickles your interest or fancy, let me know this Thursday night. I would propose that we maybe have a workshop night to get your compositional and linguistic, poetical juices flowing. Work on some structures, rhyming ideas, thematic postulations and cordially harmonic musical sequences that embody your muse.
We will probably do the song structure night in the first week or two of October, then perform the songs in early November. So give your noggin a tap, find out if there’s any intelligent life forms going on in there and let me know if “Great Lukeses Song Writing Competition” is of interest to enough people to make it a thing.
Research call for Australian women born before 1946
Monash University researchers want to interview women who have taken up a new endeavour later in life, such as a new job, business, sport, musical instrument, study, leadership position or volunteering role.
The researchers want to document these women's lives, including what inspired them to take up the new pursuit when they did and why they didn't do it earlier.
If you’re interested, or know somebody who might be, please contact Dr Maggie Kirkman via 03 9903 0295 or email@example.com or visit the Monash website: https://www.monash.edu/medicine/sphpm/units/global-and-womens-health/current-projects
NOTE: Dr Maggie Kirkman is a friend of Jill Thompson's but this article was in the latest Senior Magazine.