In the whirlwind of a festival it’s so easy to lose track of time. Before you know it you’re halfway through the week and at the pointy end of your own expectations. This might partly be because, like the tropical rainforests not too far north of our current location, festivals seem to exist within their own self-made micro-climate. It’s as if all of the emotions, ideas and inspirations you might have over the course of an entire year are condensed into the space of a week. It’s exciting. It’s thrilling. It’s a roller coaster, emotionally and physically.
The most exciting aspect of this, for us at least, has been the sheer number of new ideas that have been given to us by the coaches, artists and even audience members at the festival. In each coaching we have presented the music as it exists for us at that given moment and have left with a multitude of new possible directions to go in. It’s been interested to have these ideas come from different disciplines as well - be they vocal, brass or strings.
As students we have an opportunity to not only have coachings with the artists, but also to be sharing rehearsal and recreational space with them. For most of the week we are based around the Pit Building next to the Civic Theatre, in which we rehearse next to the artists and share the kitchen space. This means that we are fortunate enough to regularly bump into our coaches throughout the week and observe how they professionally approach their busy schedules. In many way this, coupled with seeing them perform each night, is as educational as the one-on-one time we get with them. We’ve found that in order to get the most out of the week, we need to treat every moment as a learning opportunity.
At this halfway point, with our own performance coming up on Saturday, it’s satisfying to hear our own works clicking together and taking on the feedback we’ve received. We’ve chosen some difficult repertoire and it’s a great feeling when it starts to take on a life of its own.
Even though it is busy, the lovely thing about being in Townsville is that a break on the beach, a nice view or a chance to just sit in the sun while you work isn’t far away. It might be one of the reasons they can pack the festival to the brim and still have everyone stay sane, generous and friendly.