Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 2008

We’re into August and the year is flying by. Here’s some of the exciting stuff we’ve been doing lately….

Fiona’s Choir wins TV Show

Fiona has been singing with the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir for a year now. She joined for the challenging music they sing and the great reputation they have. Usually they sing a cappella (unaccompanied) music ranging from early church music to contemporary Australian works. This year, however, things have taken an interesting leap with their involvement in a Bernstein musical Wonderful Town and more recently in Channel 7’s national show Battle of the Choirs.

The Choir has had transform into a ‘rock choir’ as the show required more popular songs arranged for choirs, with ‘choralography’ (not a typo – it’s movement to choral music, a term coined just for BOTC). The choir has ‘battled’ it out through the series to become the Winner of the Inaugural series (yes, they plan to do more apparently). They won $100,000 for the choir and a recording contract ($20,000 for the choir and an additional $10,000 if it goes Gold). The Grand Final was shown on Sunday 3rd August.

The show has been a real experience for Fi and the whole family with filming in Sydney (2.5 hours away), meaning 3 separate trips to Sydney ranging from 1-4 days each time. BOTC did put the choristers up in a hotel and fed them, but Niall was left looking after the kids at home, while also doing his practical teaching at a High School fulltime. So, it’s been a busy few months.

If you want to see the choir’s performances (you can see Fi easily as she’s often in the front row), go to YouTube and search for “Battle of the Choirs Newcastle”. We were in 4 shows. The Final performance included Sting’s Straight to My Heart, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Bicycle. Laura got to come with us to the Grand Final screening of BOTC at the Newcastle Conservatorium.

Fi is enjoying working 2 days a week for GHD (although it’s been a squeeze with fitting in BOTC and other choir commitments). The choir's win in BOTC made the headlines of the Newcastle Operating Centre newsletter with much excitement and interest in the office. It’s all dying down now thankgoodness!

Niall has been completing his Diploma of Education part-time, broadening his expertise into Computers and Mathematics Teaching in High School. He completed his first placement at Newcastle High School over four weeks in June. The placement went well, although he’s glad to be back doing his Chaplaincy work again, which is what he enjoys best! Bible studies have been going well this year. Niall has enjoyed riding his bike, swimming and occasionally running. He’s been coaching the church Soccer Team, which has made it to the semi-finals. We’ll see if they can repeat their Grand Final win last year!

Connor turned 4 on 8 July. We had a party for him with a Thomas cake and he got lots of Thomas trains and track, which are his favourite. He just finally learnt how to swing himself (legs up, legs down…..) – hooray says mum! He loves playing trains most of the day (especially when his neighbour Mason comes and makes him track and Tidmouth Sheds!), but is starting to also get interested in soccer. Computers are high on his list of growing interests (Thomas games no. 1 of course) – he can surf the web for Thomas games himself. He always wants to help send emails. Here is some of his typing he wanted to put in this blog…..

Laura is growing so tall (they both are) and has received another glowing report from school. She’s doing really well at piano, swimming and ballet. Laura and her friend Lara performed a song and dance in the school talent show and they came runners up – it was so cute (watermelon, watermelon, I love, you love, watermelon). She also loves the computer and has her own email address now. Laura loves skipping and has been remembering to water her plants !(very important!).

Niall’s family has been travelling overseas at various times. Murray and Yvette have just returned from England after spending some time with Niall’s mum, Hilary, and Jeff. Murray has a job now in Canberra. Ross and Sophie still live in Canberra (although Ross is on prac elsewhere at present).

Fi’s sister Ange is doing well after a recent trip to Canada with her boyfriend, Chris. Fi’s step-sister, Kanella, just became engaged. Fi’s parents are all well (except for Glynis who has shingles).

That’s all for this instalment. Keep us updated with your news!

The McKays