Something from last month’s performance with the Sinfonia of St Andrew’s (footage featuring QUMS and soloists will be up a little later) at “Completely Classical”. My thanks to the members of the orchestra, for receiving me so kindly during my first performance conducting them.
October 29th, 2016Comments Off on Beethoven: Symphony 1, 1st Movement, News, by adrianhead72.
October 16th, 2016Comments Off on Completely Classical: Music by Mozart, Haydn, & Beethoven, News, by adrianhead72.
It gives me great delight to announce that I will be conducting this concert next weekend.
The Sinfonia of St Andrew’s and the Queensland University Music Society (QUMS), are performing at St Andrew’s Uniting Church next Sunday, the 23rd of October. The programme includes Mozart’s Overture to “Cosi fan Tutte”, Beethoven’s 1st Symphony, and the Harmoniemesse of Haydn. It’s been a real pleasure working with both the Sinfonia and QUMS for this performance, and I’d like to thank QUMS for their initial invitation to work with them, and for the Sinfonia to join forces with them.
For more information please have a look at the flyer displayed on this post, or you can go to this concert’s events page on FaceBook.
This is my sixth conducting commitment over the last eight months, and although challenging at times it has been a rewarding time, and also a humbling time to make music with so many fine musicians, both here and abroad.
See you at St Andrew’s next weekend!
I’ve been meaning to write this article for some time, and I’d like to dedicate it to the professionals- particularly Gary and his matron (whose name I think was Mavis)- who I not only had the pleasure of meeting and being comforted by during the journey of which you’re about to read, but who also brought comfort to my family personally also.
Some people sign off with, “Regards”, “Warmest Regards”, “Your Sincerely”, “Best” (which I assume is short for “Best Regards”, or “Best Wishes”), or more the more casual, “Cheers”. But for myself, I’ve been using “All the best” for some time now. I’m not sure exactly when I started using it, but I do know the reasons and the source of where my use of it came from.
In 1997, I had the misfortune, bordering between a scene from the Theatre of the Absurd and a Marx Brothers sketch, of having a wisdom tooth taken out whilst I was in a dental surgery chair, and with only a local anaesthetic. The dentist, who on a later occasion when he was examining my teeth let his nose dribble all over the front of my naval uniform, had to get his foot up onto the footrest to pull the wretched thing out. It had been growing at approximately 45 degrees to the vertical, and had started to cause me some pain. It was suggested during a later appointment that I consult a dental surgeon, to have more of my wisdom teeth removed. This started a journey that would go on for about five years, and a legacy that is still with me today.
To cut a long story short, I was sent off to get a CT scan, as there were some things coming up on the dental x-rays which were unusual. After a year or so, I was able to get a follow up consultation with the dental surgeon, which resulted in the possibility that what the CT scan had found was cancer. As you can guess, as a 25 year old living on their own and in another city to their immediate family, I went completely to pieces. Although the feeling of being completely lost was terrifying, I was one of the more fortunate, as it only lasted for about twenty hours (and not much sleep).
Luckily I was able to get in to see an oncologist the very next day. I had to travel, from Coogee in Sydney, out to Westmead in peak hour traffic: a two hour journey in a taxi- the first taxi that I had ever been in that had its own television on the dashboard. I can’t remember how much I handed over to the cabbie, but it was easily three figures.
Once out at the Westmead General Hospital Oncology Clinic, I was sat in the foyer for about an hour, before being directed into a small, cold and dimly lit consultation room, where for the next hour a different person would come in every twenty minutes, and examine me before closing the door behind them without any comment. This was, as I would say in my understated way, mildly harrowing.
Finally a man with a well-trimmed beard entered, wearing a hound’s-tooth single-breasted suit- the likes of which I’d never seen before or have never seen since. Such an ostentatious garment would not suit many, but on him it was killer (not that we would have said “killer” in the mid to late 90s- more likely “fully sick”, although this would have been a bit OTT). I’ll never forget his first relaxed, drawled words.
“G’day. Gary Morgan,” was uttered, as a hand was thrust out to me, which I grasped at desperately. Another drawl, accompanied by a slow shaking of the head: “It’s not cancer. In fact it’s rather more interesting. Come with me and I’ll show you.” I was then led into a room where, wall to wall, was my skull was lit up, with about half a dozen people peering at a variety of my head scans, prodding at the scans with the encased ends of biros as they intensely discussed the insides of my face. It was spellbinding and creepy all at the same time. And in the middle of this presided the ringmaster himself: Gary Morgan- Head and Neck Specialist. I’d never met a demi-god before- and not again until I met my polymath boss at the RNCM library. It was easily apparent how highly respected he was by those around him.
Gary turned out to be what I’ve been informed is an anomaly in his profession: a specialist with a personality. We got to know each other over the next five years. I would routinely make the pilgrimage out to Westmead (by train: the cheaper- although slower- alternative) every three or so months for a CT scan, followed up soon after with a consultation with Gary.
Those consultations would result in me spending roughly an hour or so each time in the oncology waiting room. I count myself lucky that I wasn’t there for reasons as severe as my fellow waiting room visitors, and although I’d have rather been somewhere more reassuring, I’m grateful for each time that I had to sit there, because it was impossible for your heart not to go out to these poor, and often helpless, people. I find myself shedding tears as I recall these moments. What saddens me is that many of them are most likely not with us anymore. However, there is some reassurance that if that is true, then the people that were entrusted to them could not have been any more sympathetic or caring than the staff that were in that ward.
To cut a long story short, my first operation, in August 1998, involved the removal of a tooth that wasn’t in my mouth, and the opening and emptying of a cyst- the largest that Gary had ever seen- in my right sinus, which was allowed to drain into my mouth over the next four years (it was too big to remove). If you had told me the year before that all of this was going to happen to me- someone who’d never been under a general anaesthetic- I would have looked at you sideways. Fate is a strange thing.
The second operation, three years later at the beginning of September, 2001, involved removing the rest of the cyst, and attempting to close the hole that was created between the right sinus and my mouth. Unfortunately that hole has never really closed (which, at times, can be an interesting party trick), and I’m left with a reminder of that time in my life, some fifteen years later.
My last consultation with Gary was in early 2002. By this stage I had moved back to Brisbane, and so I had to get a CT scan done in Brisbane before flying to Sydney, to see Gary for what we hoped would be my final consultation.
I saw Gary, who knew that I was keen to travel overseas, and that I needed to find out from him whether this was a safe thing to do. After giving me a clean bill of health- reassuring me that the oral-antral fistula would close- we shook hands one last time, before I walked out of Westmead General for the last time. I found a grassy patch of land outside and of course fell completely to bits: the relief that a tense time in my life was finally over. A chapter in my life had come to an end, and another one was about to start. My travels after this day are another story.
…but when I went, in Brisbane, to get that last CT scan done, I had to wait afterwards for the images to be developed and for the specialists to write their report. Eventually, one of the radiographers came out with the large envelope that contained my final scans, handed it over to me, and then held out their hand to shake mine. At that point I knew what was coming, and instinctively- as if reciting a familiar daily ritual- we both said the same closing comment to one another.
“All the best.”
It was at that point that I realised that this had been a common thread during my last five years as an outpatient. It had been the standard farewell from each medical professional that I had come into contact with. Using “good luck”, “have a nice day”, “take care”, or “have a good one” really weren’t appropriate in this environment: an environment where these people would have had to break heartbreaking news to less fortunate people than myself on a daily basis. In some ways it was the safest thing for them to say, yet at the same time the most sincere thing also.
When I use this in my signature block on emails, it never loses its lustre; it never loses for me its poignancy, its symbolic meaning, or its original context. Whenever I use it- and I use it daily- it reminds me of the people that I saw that were less fortunate than me, and how fragile life is. I have used it subconsciously as a quiet and private mark of respect to these people- both the professionals and their patients- without really knowing it. Because it has this sense of deep sincerity about it, it allows me to remind myself how important it is to wish everyone, everyday, the very best in their life.
All the best,
April 25th, 2015Comments Off on 100 years of the ANZACS, Blog, News, Uncategorized, by adrianhead72.
[This was something that I wrote and posted on Facebook on ANZAC Day in 2013. I’ve updated it to bring it in line with this year’s ANZAC Day, which is exactly 100 years since those sad events occurred. In instances where I’ve alluded to more current events in 2013 I’ve found it unnecessarry for anything to be updated, despite the fact that the events alluded to have changed. That in itself has provoked feelings both ironic and tragic.]
After running in the light of a full moon recently, I was reminded that the Earth was hit by a large planetesimal approximately four and a half billion years ago. The debris thrown off from this impact formed the large, lifeless satellite that has orbited the Earth ever since, and controls against what would be the Sun’s catastrophic tidal affect on Earth’s oceans. The planetesimal also provided additional iron to the Earth’s core, resulting in a magnetic field that moderates Earth’s surface temperatures.
It also has allowed the Earth’s axis to remain steady enough to have allowed organic material, most of it deposits from the Kuiper Belt’s asteroids, to have the right sort of conditions to produce a multitude of life upon the Earth. The fragility of this complex setup is demonstrated by the fact that, so far, a similar incubation system within the Solar System, let alone this galaxy or the rest of the universe, has not been found. It would appear to be a rare (and a perhaps unique) anomaly.
December 31st, 2013Comments Off on Time for a yearly post, Blog, by adrianhead72.
Normally I do a six monthly wrap up of things, but this year has been hectic, and the chance to write something mid-year didn’t avail itself. So this is a one yearly wrap up, rather than the normal six monthly post. More
As the Ady Ensemble starts to establish itself, it seemed like a good time for us to give it a proper home online. I’ll still be jotting away here (especially now that the renovations are finally almost complete), but if you’d like to keep an eye on what Ady (i.e. the ensemble) is up to, then to www.ady.net.au, where you’ll find the latest news, and details on events.
See you there!
December 20th, 2012Comments Off on Time for a six-monthly reflective message…, Blog, by adrianhead72.
With the end of the year looming, not to mention Christmas, it’s time for one of my six-monthly reflective messages. Usually I do these in the form of a status message on FB, or leave these for one of my private journals. But this one is going to be a little bit longer than is suitable for a mere status message, and which I feel is worthy of sharing with those of you who care for both Paula and myself, and not just for my own private, reflective, gestation, at a time far in the distant future.
I was on the late train home last night after a rehearsal. I’d started to settle down in my seat to do some journal writing, which I was required to stop due to what was going on around me. More
It’s been just over a year since I started the blog, and it is showing no signs of finishing off in the near future. We’ve had some sad news- Panda’s father just passed away a couple of days ago. I won’t talk about this too much just now, suffice to say that he had been a stroke sufferer for some time. I’ve just discovered in the last hour or so that one of my oldest friends is back in town after a a six year absence. I’ve only seen him a handful of times over the last fourteen years, and it’s amazing that we’ve stayed in touch over this time.
Stay tuned later in the month as I will probably do some sort of retrospective on what have certainly been a year of events- mostly good ones.
October 15th, 2006Comments Off on 15th of October- Scary quote, Blog, by adrianhead72.
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same in any country.”
-Hermann Goering (1893-1946)
Second in command of the Third Reich, Nazi Germany