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Top 5 Violin Showpieces

Violin showpieces are the pieces which are at the limit of violin technique. They are difficult, flashy, and impressive. Here’s my list of the top five violin showpieces.

Paganini – Caprice 24

Paganini‘s 24 Caprices are some of the most difficult for the violin, and being able to play any of them is a great accomplishment. However, the 24th Caprice is by far the most famous, and most difficult. Based upon a Theme and Variations model, this caprice employs many of the most difficult violin techniques in a musically solid base. This video is of Hillary Hahn performing this Caprice.

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Worship Songs I’m loving

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...
Image via Wikipedia

At the moment, I’m getting my head around being music director for an upcoming Chrysalis retreat. I did this last year, so a lot of my song choices have been able to be transferred, but it does mean that I can spend more time looking for other songs that might fit even better.

At my church, we’ve also started having the youth band on twice a month now, which means that I’m now choosing twice as many songs, so I can be choosing more songs. So I’m constantly on the look out for more songs that can be used. Here’s a selection of worship songs that I’m loving right now.

First off, a couple of songs from Hillsong Chapel, Saviour King, and Hosanna

I love the space in this version of Saviour King, that the instruments just get out of the way and you can just focus on the words. The chorus for me is incredibly powerful, and I think I’ll be able to use this (in some form) at Chrysalis.

As for Hosanna, I’m considering an “acoustic” set for the next Youth Meeting, and love the arrangement of this version.

Now for something a bit more uptempo – and a bit older too.

This song has been in my head for a while now, and I’m not sure where I’m going to use it, but I think that there will be something coming up that it will be just perfect for. I think I especially love the brass lines here, really makes it pop!

This is a new song by Aaron Keyes (co written by others such as Ben Smith and Graham Kendrick). It’s wonderful lyrics are backed up by a great easy to sing Hymn-esque tune. This is a wonderful praise song, and I can’t wait to use it somewhere.

So that’s what I’m listening to at the moment and what’s going through my head. What songs are getting you passionate for Christ at the moment?

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A Busy month ahead

I’ve just been thinking about how much I’ve got on over the next month, and it’s incredibly busy. I’ll be at Church for only two of the Sunday Morning meetings, and possibly only one of the Sunday night meetings.

I’ve got the Chrysalis retreat on between the 8th and 11th of September, which should be a wonderful weekend of spiritual blessings for the guys and girls that will go on there.

The weekend after that is the Uniting Church Synod weekend, which unfortunately is also my 1st wedding anniversary on the Sunday. However, I will be working all weekend – Friday afternoon with a training session, Friday night with the installation of the new moderator, Saturday all day (probably until about 9pm) and then Sunday afternoon – how nice, I get to have breakfast with my wife on our anniversary.

And it’s not like I can take the Monday off after that, because not only is work in the middle of Revive – our bi-monthly magazine – production, but there’s also a fortnightly newsletter that goes out to churches, which will be my responsibility to put together.

So the weekend after, Liesl and I are having a weekend off. Some time to relax, to catch up with each other and stuff. I’m really looking forward to that weekend.

So that’s a busy month ahead, and hopefully I’ll still be alive on the other side.

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Sunday Set List 14 August 2011

Last Sunday we held the first of a new style of meeting at my church. Normally the youth band play downstairs in a more relaxed youth-style meeting. This meeting, the youth band provided the music, while the Corps Officer preached and organised the meeting that was upstairs in our main worship hall. The whole aim of this service was to bridge the gap between the relaxed style of worship of our regular Youth Meetings, and the more “formal” style of the regular Sunday meeting.

In choosing songs for this meeting, with the message entitled “The Invention of Lying” and a general theme of Love, I picked a couple of newer songs, a couple of older songs that we often use in the morning meetings, and a couple of Youth Band regulars. I think I’ll try to stick to this mix to help encourage this mixing of the styles of worship.

Songs we used were:

  • One Day – Hillsong
  • Break Free – Hillsong
  • You are Good – Nathan Rowe
  • The Power of your Love
  • Hosanna – Hillsong
  • Jesus, lover of my Soul
  • Take it All – Hillsong

It was a great service, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else we can do in the rest of the year.

This post is part of the Sunday Setlists, run by The Worship Community. Follow the links to read more about what songs were worshiping God on Sunday.

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5 Things I don’t love about Australia

Following up on Yesterday’s post on the things I love about Australia, there are a few things I don’t like about Australia. It would be remiss of me to say the things I love without the things I don’t like.

  1. Racist. As much as I hate to admit it, Australia is a little bit racist. This has come across more in the last few years, with fears about Refugees and Middle Eastern immigrants. It’s such a shame, as Australia has such a rich multi-cultural heritage, stretching back to the Chinese in the Gold Rush. I think this issue is mostly pushed by my second point.
  2. Sensationalist Media. From our “Current Affairs” shows such as Today Tonight and A Current Affair, to our tabloid-esque newspapers, Australia’s media has a love of the blow-out story. From stories about Australia introducing sharia law (which the Federal Attorney General stated clearly that there was no place for in Australia), to scare campaigns about the number of “boat people” it is Australia’s media which effectively scares the population into submission.
  3. “Un-Australian” and Australian Values. One of the arguments that is used to shoot down anything that the population (read: Media) doesn’t like is the idea that it is un-Australian. A Carbon Tax? Un-Australian. Having Daylight Savings? Un-Australian. Not having Daylight Savings? Un-Australian. Participating in the Cronulla Riots? Un-Australian. Not participating in the Cronulla… I think you get the point. The thing is that this idea that something is Un-Australian is just used when people think the whole nation should get behind the idea, but have no real reason why.
  4. “She’ll be right” mentality. This is something that I suffer from as well, and I think it’s a good thing as well as a bad thing. The good thing about this is that we’re not worried about what happens, and whatever happens we’ll make a way through. That’s great. However, it sometimes means that we fail to plan for the inevitable. For example, Australia is currently living in the midst of a resources boom, where mining companies are reaping rich profits, and the Australian Government is reaping rich taxes from these companies. However, there doesn’t appear to be the planning for what happens once we’ve mined all the minerals out of the ground. Yes, we’re in a good position now, but what next?
  5. Homelessness and Poverty. I’ve currently started reading “In Darkest England” by William Booth, where he highlights the poverty and homelessness situation in England in the late 1800’s. It absolutely broke my heart reading the stories of these people, and knowing that nothing has changed, over 100 years later and in a different continent. Australia is a rich country, yet we still have excessive homelessness and poverty.

So that’s what I don’t like about Australia. Areas for Improvement I guess you could call them. I hope that some of these things will change over time.

What don’t you like about your culture?

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Five things I love about Australia

Flag of Australia
Image via Wikipedia

This prompt, List five things you love about your culture, is provided by Plinky.

I love Australia, and there is no-where else on earth that I would rather live. Sure, there are places I would love to visit, but as the song says:

no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home

So here are five things about Australian culture that I think makes Australia great.

  1. Sporting. Australia loves their sport, and for a long time we have been successful in that sport. Around the turn of the century, Australia was experiencing a golden age in sport, being successful in Cricket, Rugby Union, Netball, swimming and more. While we are in a bit of a dip in cricket and rugby at the moment, we are still strong in Netball, and have added cycling (thanks to Cadel Evans), Soccer (well, the most successful that we’ve ever been) and golf (thanks to guys like Adam Scott and Jason Day). What I love particularly is that Australians are generally good sports, and while we will give the loser a bit of a ribbing, we have never seen scenes like is sometimes seen in English or European football, or like the Vancouver riots after they lost the Stanley Cup.
  2. Relaxed. Personally, I could never see anything like what is happening in England happening in Australia, because we’re so relaxed. I’m not going to say that it will never happen, particularly because it has happened in the past (I’m thinking the Cronulla Race Riots), however, for the most part Australians are relaxed and would rather click “Like” on Facebook or write a letter than actually step out the door to go and Protest.
  3. Peaceful. Australia is one of the few countries in the world that can say we have never had a civil war. And apart from a few attacks on northern cities (Broome and Darwin) during World War 2, we have never experienced War on our land. While that does make us incredibly lucky, it is something that is reflected in our nation and our culture.
  4. Prosperous. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but Australia is relatively rich. Sure, it’s not up there with the likes of the US, or with the “old money” of Europe, but Australians by and large are better off than many other people. While that does come with trappings, as more people are earning more money, it does mean there is more money around to help those less fortunate, and the “luxuries” are often cheaper as well.
  5. Forward Thinking. Australia is an inventive nation, and generally forward thinking in many area. For example, great Australian inventions include WiFi – such a vital part of laptops, Tablets, and now even phones – and the Refrigerator. In 1838 an Australian came up with the first Pre-Paid postal system. In 1902 an Australian invented the notepad, and in 1906 saw Australia produce the world’s first Feature Film, Ned Kelly. Staying on the film idea, it was also an Australian who invented the “Clapperboard” in 1930. Australian’s also invented the Black Box flight recorder, the Ultrasound, Race Cam (for motor sports broadcasting), Bionic Ear, and more. Because we’ve had this history of innovation, it means that as a nation we are constantly looking forward (with a respect for our history) to find better ways to do things.

So there you go, five things I love about Australia. What are do you love about your culture? Stay tuned for tomorrow when I write about the things I don’t like about Australia.

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A dream day

A Proms concert.
Can you see where I would be, enjoying a wonderful Proms concert? (Image via Wikipedia)

This topic suggestion, If you could spend a day doing anything, what would you do?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

There are a whole heap of things that I would love to spend a day on. And I think it very much depends on the situation that you’re in when you’re asked the question.

For example, a couple of years ago, while I was still focussing on music, a dream day for me would have been to spend a day in England during the Proms, and to spend the day going to concerts. I even took this dream to the point of planning a two-week holiday to England during the proms season, even budgeting it for me to go in 2012. Things went a different way, so this plan didn’t happen, but it is still something that I would love to do for an entire day. Maybe one day.

But you ask me right now, and the there are two things that I would absolutely love to be spending an entire day on right now.

Firstly, due to my knee being injured, there’s nothing that makes me salivate more right now than the thought of playing golf all day at a great golf course. Liesl and I were driving back from York on Sunday, and we drove past Burswood Public Golf Course, and I really wanted to get out there. It didn’t help that it was such a beautiful day. Unfortunately, it’s probably another couple of months before I can get out on the course, but I will certainly enjoy it when I do eventually get out there.

Secondly, something I would very much like to do is have a whole day jam session with a whole heap of my mates. Spending a day playing, having fun, making music. It would be awesome.

So that’s some of the things that I would love to spend a day doing. What would you like to spend an entire day doing?

Postaday2011 links

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Coffee, the luxury I choose not to live without

French Press
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This topic suggestion, What one luxury do you refuse to live without?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

Coffee is one of the wonderful luxuries that I enjoy. However, my wife often jokes about trying to make me give it up. She doesn’t like the smell or taste, especially the taste it leaves in my mouth.

However, it is very much a luxury for me. I enjoy the taste, and I enjoy the process of making coffee. Having a good blend (that is sustainably grown) that smells really nice, the rich coloured crema, the patience in waiting for the coffee to brew (my preferred style is French Press), and then enjoying the brewed coffee.

What’s one luxury you refuse to live without?

Postaday2011 links

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Why “Top Left Hand Page”?

This topic suggestion, Explain the name of your blog and why you chose it., is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

The title of my blog comes from an expression I heard when I was studying music. When referring to playing from the very beginning of the piece, the conductor often referred to the “Top Left hand page” as that is where the beginning of the music is. As I was just starting out on my music career when I started my blog, it seemed like a nice title for my blog.

Now however, I am starting again, this time starting out as a minister (an officer in the Salvation Army), and I think that the title still fits, as it reminds me that every day is a new day, an opportunity we have to start anew with Christ, who wipes our slate clean and allows us to start new each day.

Have you got a blog? Why is it called what it is?

Postaday2011 links

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A Star Trek Devotional: Code of Honor

PICARD: You’re right, Data. It does sound like a joke. With the power of the Enterprise, we could overwhelm this place easily. Take what we want.
DATA: I may not understand human humor, sir, but I am a Starfleet Academy graduate.
PICARD: Which means, of course…
DATA: … understanding the Prime Directive, sir.
PICARD: Which is, unfortunately, what this is about. By our standards, the customs here and code of honor are the same kind of pompous, strutting charades that endangered our own species a few centuries ago. We evolved out of it because no one else imposed their own… (stops; shakes head ruefully) Sorry, that became a speech.

Lt. Yar and Yareena battle to the death for the position of Lutan's "First One"

In Code of Honor, the Enterprise crew visit a planet to open trade negotiations to obtain a vaccine. When the leader of that world, Lutan, abducts security chief, Lt. Tasha Yar, and his wife challenges Yar to a fight to the death, Captain Picard orders Data and Geordi La Forge to analyse the weapons with the aim of evaluating their use in a battle to the death between Yar and Lutan’s wife. Continue reading A Star Trek Devotional: Code of Honor