I reckon there's few better ways to learn the ropes than a baptism of fire. And that's exactly what this project was..!
A quartet of plastic bags, throwing books in a tantrum, playing wine glasses, music with a video by @ilovebigfeet69? This is what we have today!
Last Friday, This Is What We Have Today took place at the Gorman Arts Centre in Canberra, and it was a real success and a vindication of all our hard work ('ours' being mine and my friend, Lynden Bassett).
This started as a conversation that Lynden had with me, about getting works that both of us had written. Coming off the back of finishing our composition studies in the second ACT lockdown, we were pretty starved for performance opportunities.
And so we bounced back and forth for about 12 months - but really picking up in the last 4 months as we started applying for funding and curating a program of 6 works from local Canberrans, 2 from more established interstate musicians, and in a collective model where those who wrote played and those who played wrote!
Take a look:
Honestly, it was a hard slog. Everything from booking and organising the venue, applying for funding, organising rehearsals and musicians, devising marketing and programs, and the litany of small tasks that always pop up as you trudge along. WOW was it a lot of work...and something that you only really learn by jumping in the deep.
But I am so glad we persevered with this project. Lynden is not only a really deeply-felt and -thought musician and artist, but so great to work with throughout this process. I am so grateful for our perseverance because this is an important project - a learning experience for everyone involved (not just Lynden and I, but for everyone in how to work in this new music space with each other).
[all our core performers in Lynden Basset's Fold in Sifted Flour, Ginger, Bicarb - from L to R: Ronan Apcar, Lynden Bassett, Joel Dreezer, Lily Folwer, Brad Tham (obscured), Anika Chan, Eleanor Bladon, Yona Su]
And seriously, it was a crazy gig. I mean I don't know if this is overegging the pudding, but what we did isn't happening in Canberra. That space for new music that spreads across into interdisciplinary practices, for musicians to really experiment and do something fucked up, and for our emerging friends and colleagues to get some incredible (paid!) opportunities and beef up their portfolio. Hopefully, this gig gives all of us involved a stepping stone to wherever we next go.
[still from my performance of Kate Neal and Sal Cooper's A Novel Instrument]
[Lynden and I at the Ralph Wilson Theatre after the gig]
And on this note, a big thank you to Friends of the School of Music and artsACT for funding our project. We couldn't believe it and we are immensely grateful! And for me personally, I couldn't have chosen a better gig to end my time in Canberra with. I WILL MISS THIS!