Monday, February 16, 2009

Rainy Sunday Surprise!

Attended: Sydney Opera House Concert to raise money for victims of the Victoria bushfires. 
This past Sunday morning I woke up early to attend a 6am concert performed by 100 members of the Sydney Philharmonic Choir in support of the bushfire relief effort. I was more than happy to donate some money to the fundraiser and really enjoyed the concert as well. 

The sight of the choir arranged on the steps of the opera house was mesmerizing, eclipsed only by the spectacular backdrop of the dawn sky behind the sails of the opera house roof, and the equally awe-inspiring grandeur of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The lone soloist standing atop the steps, tails of his contrasting white suit fluttering in the breeze stole the show with his haunting, perfectly-in-tune voice. An invisible cello soloist provided the only instrument to the otherwise acapella performance. I'm not sure why he was situated under the stairs, out of general sight, but he added a nice layer of depth to a fabulously cohesive performance. The musical selections were, for the most part, somber; however, the hour long set concluded with an up-beat melody- an appropriately symbolic choice; signifying hope and determination to move forward from unbelievable catastrophe. 

To watch another short video clip of the concert click here.

An unexpected bonus to the already enjoyable concert was bumping into my friend Christophe. (What are the odds that in a city of 4 million, I would chance upon one of the 3 or 4 people I know in Sydney?!) He was on his way to breakfast after the concert with 3 of the choir members, (one of whom is a work colleague,) and they kindly invited me to join in! We made the short walk to the historical Rocks District of Sydney, just next to the ferry harbour, and I was treated to some tidbits of local knowledge along the way.  Particularly, the implications of the unfortunate importation of the now very unwelcome Indian Minor bird and some interesting convict history. It amazes me that 1) so much of Sydney's vast harbourfront area was built by convict labour and 2) that the stonework and masonry is still in such good condition. I wish I'd remembered my camera to take a picture of (amongst other things,) the huge pulleys that still adorn the fronts of the former shipping warehouses. We ducked into a building with particularly nice stonework and settled into our table at the Rock Pancake House. Mindful of my pennies I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu which unbelievably was only $6.95- a short stack of buttermilk pancakes. The two sizable slabs came topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dusting of icing sugar and were de-lish! My only complaint would be that the claim of "maple syrup" was resolutely false! The sickly table syrup almost got the better of me but, as I used it only sparingly, didn't take too much away from an otherwise yummy breakie! (that means breakfast in Aussie speak)
What an unexpectedly wonderful way to start a rainy day. I love the little things in life like that. Helps to keep a smile on my face during those inevitable difficult or stressful times that occur in the early stages of a big life change, (such as oh, pulling up anchor and moving across the planet.) 

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