Saturday, June 11, 2005


Saturday afternoon saw the first appearance of the Australian Federation Tattoo in Hobart. This is the seventh year of the Tattoo but their first performance in Tasmania I think.

Most of the audience were well into the older age group and probably saw nothing strange about being told to stand for the national anthem.

The Massed Pipes and Drums were amazing. Even if you're not Scottish there's something deeply thrilling about the skirl of the bagpipes.

We were sitting in really good seats - only three rows back in the centre - and could count the medals on the chests of the Australian Army Band as they marched by us.

It wasn't all bagpipe music. The Royal New Zealand Navy Band were real showmen, and the Copenhagen Police Band presented a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

1960s pop icon Judy Stone took part in an "Entertaining The Troops" set-piece which even included a couple of go-go girls in fringed outfits -- I assume they must have shown them a video of what this involved since neither of them were old enough to remember!

There was even a comedy group The Windy Kilts who cheerfully plunged in and out of the audience during their routine.

I didn't do so badly today considering that I'd taken a header when I was unloading duck food over at Julie's house that morning.

It was so wet and slippery that I'd just reached the driveway gate with the trolley when my foot went out from under me and I wound up on my back in the mud.

I didn't seem to have hurt myself; what absorbed my attention was a twig from the blackberry plant that had insinuated itself between my right eye and my glasses.

For a moment I lay there, thinking "OK, how can I get out of this position and not put an eye out?"

At this stage Julie came rushing around from the chicken run, having heard me go down with a thump. She helped me up and I didn't seem to have suffered any ill-effects aside from a numbness in the fingertips of my left hand and an almost imperceptible scratch next to my right eye (whew!).

However when I went home I had to change everything except my socks. Everything I had on was either wet or muddy, through to the skin.

One of the CDs played by Alan Rider on his show on 92 FM was by Chris Powell who had performed at Linmor Hall on Wednesday night.

I was in the audience and thoroughly enjoyed his lively performance on the fully restored Wurlitzer that belongs to the Collegiate School. Mostly show tunes, with a few light classical pieces and a couple of modern pieces.

Listening to these, I was reminded again how thin a lot of modern music sounds when you put it in this setting. Playing Elton John's "Can you feel the love tonight?" just before a My Fair Lady medley just emphasises this.

An innovation since I was at one of these concerts is the projection of slides onto the rear wall of the stage, showing sets of organ pipes. (The pipes of the Wurlitzer are completely hidden from the audience; only the console is actually sitting out in the middle of the hall.)

During intermission, after refreshments and the drawing of the door prize, I wandered across to the console of the Wurlitzer and was amazed (as I always am) by the complexity and choices available to the organist.

Congratulations to the Theatre Organ Society for another entertaining evening.


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