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CALENDAR 2 - 20 MARCH 2011

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Updates from the 2011 Artistic DirectorElisabeth EastherSchools Review CompetitionReviews
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Tooting Fruity and a Trip into Space

By Elisabeth Easther - 15 Mar 2011
It was another great weekend of culture for Theo and me. On Saturday we had the pleasure of seeing Passing Wind with Linsey Pollak a man who can make tuneful instruments out of anything – carrots, hoses, pipes, feather dusters. Add a clarinet reed - or indeed the top of a balloon which makes a fine double reed - blow and music is made. Simple as that. Just add air.

Linsey Pollak is a lovely, unassuming fellow who has learnt you can create instruments out of virtually anything and not just to make strange noises but beautiful, funky tunes too.

The audience was transfixed by his skills and tricks and when I took Theo and his mate Jemma home, much of their play that afternoon was informed by Linsey's music, as they attempted to toot the vacuum, the hose and the straws they drunk from. And when I tried to insert one of my oboe reeds into a badly hollowed-out courgette, they thought that was hilarious. Am still working on the courgette, and if it goes well, I might start a vegetable orchestra. Visit Linsey's website at for more information and also watch his instructions for making instruments on youtube. A totally tooty fruity guy.

I would love to have done Linsey's masterclass on Sunday, it would have been a treat, but I was busy reading stories in the Speigeltent which was loads of fun. The young audience were so well behaved, and the parents were too, although Theo wasn't entirely convinced that sharing his mum with a room full of strangers was a good idea, but he allowed me to read some of our favourite books for 30 minutes without too much of a problem.

After story time, Theo and cousin James (8) who is visiting from America, tootled off to the Town Hall through Aotea Square where there was so much going on being Family Day. The Kiwileles played their ukuleles and their hearts out. I do that little instrument, it's so endearing. And thanks to Abe's bagels for giving away little bags of bagel crisps, their choc flavour rocked and kept the wolves from the door, giving us enough energy to get us through an hour of orchestral manoeuvres in space, courtesy of the NZSO.

I do love our symphony orchestra, they look so happy, probably because it's fabulous to have a job playing music. I really have started looking more seriously at my oboe. Perhaps if I dust it off and find a teacher, I might be able to join the symphony.

Their conductor, James Judd, is exactly as a conductor should act and look. His wild mop of salt and pepper hair fluffed out impressively as the pace picked up. The pipe organ caused us all to gasp, what an organ and Dan, the French horn player who is on the original sound track of Star Wars was playing - although he must have been a child prodigy as he didn't look any older than me and Star Wars came out when I was seven.
The theme from ET transported us, oh just so sublime, took me back a decade or three. 2001 A Space Odyssey was massive, although apparently Strauss wrote it first.  Who knew? And Holst's planets, Mercury and Mars were stirring stellar pieces.

One single weekend - a tooting good time with Linsey and a trip into space with the NZSO, it's tempting to take it easy this week, but with only one week of the fest to go, and still so much to see and do, there'll be no rest for this astro-cadet.



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