My Favourite Window

October 29, 2015

Jazz on a Spring Evening

A wet day and a beautiful one at this time of year with the spring foliage drenched green - something to be treasured before summer steals away the lushness.

Yesterday began with a visit to the Ashley Church on its saints' day - and yes the apostrophe is in the right place for St Simon and St Jude. Marilyn, a new friend with an interest in old churches joined me there before coming to lunch.

She brought flowers from her garden, rich purple lilac and pink flushed rhododendrons. Marilyn's son Chris, who lives in an old church not far from here, came to lunch too.

And then it was time for jazz - and more - at a school recital in a class room at Ao Tawhiti (previously Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti).  The evening was an opportunity for music students to be assessed for performance credits for NCEA. 

With the damp day fading across the lovely treed campus of the University of Canterbury, the music flowed. 

Photographing musicians indoors is bit easier than photographing Morris dancers, but I don't use a tripod just because I don't want the photography to override my appreciation of the event.  I experimented with different settings last night and I'm pleased when a blurred shot, like the opening one for this post, also shows something of the energy and interaction between the musicians. 

Kitty sang quite a lot! Her first piece was a modern pop song Someone Like You by Adele.  

Kitty has enjoyed working this up with her pianist Oscar especially using a grand piano in the University's music suite. It's a pity that pianists are hard to photograph when they are part of an ensemble in cramped conditions.

When it was time to sing with the Jazz Band, Kitty pumped out Watermelon Man and Zoot Suit Riot... She has a good jazz voice.  But the Ao Tawhiti Senior Jazz Band wouldn't be quite what it is without teacher, Matt Davis' enthusiasm and encouragement. I enjoyed watching him move from his smoky sax to thrash heavy metal out of the drum kit for a later act.

And I remember how Jazz continues to be for me part of the character of the school - on a summer's day or a spring evening.

October 18, 2015

Spring - Better Late Than Never

Of course there has been early spring, but although I take photos around my garden, I do not find the time to make a blog post very often; especially when Life in the real World is so... engaging!

This photo of the band rotunda in Victoria Park, Rangiora, was taken during the after-party for The Wizard of Oz, when new leaves were just freshening on the trees.

Plum blossom is one of the defining features of this old country garden. Crimson King, Greengages and Coe's Golden Drop mark progressive orchard plantings, but their seedlings make themselves at home everywhere!

Another feature of the garden is the daffodils, which have flowered along the front of the Skudder House for as long as I can remember. 

My mother developed these plantings from seed - mostly jonquil varieties - that she collected every year from existing bulbs. This year most of the display seems to have recovered from earthquake shock. After five years the flowering bulbs could now be from post-earthquake seed, which might explain the prolific display. 

It has been a strange year for timing though with the daffodils blooming up to five weeks later than usual, the plum blossom around three weeks later than recent years and the ancient Kowhai by the river not flowering at all this year. On the other hand roses are showing fully formed buds and even opening before the may has even flowered - a full month before most garden varieties bloom here.

But birthday dates don't change... only the family dynamics around them! Ten minutes for three busy people to come together over a 16th birthday cake before my littlest princess left for her school ball.

Kowhai  Sophora microphylla