Blogger’s note: It is a privilege to introduce Stuart, who is our choir mascot and who has been asked to write a guest blog post about his recent trip to Melbourne.
It’s not an easy life, being a choir mascot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic. I think I’m the luckiest minion out there to get to be mascot to such a lovely, caring, quirky choir (and, there’s always chocolate in the vestry. The fact that the choristers regularly have to buy more has nothing to do with me.). But, we’ve just had Holy Week and Easter, and if choristers and the Director of Music work hard — you can imagine the emotional energy that goes into preparing and singing such beautiful music — so does the choir mascot. It’s not an easy job!
So I decided to take a long weekend before the rush of Holy Week and go on holiday. Pretty awesome that the choir librarian was also planning a trip to Melbourne — free ride! You may know that Melbourne is a cafe city — that was certainly my experience since the first stop was brunch at a trendy French cafe! Note the wine and chips on the table — a hard-working mascot has to spoil himself sometimes! And I must say, it was good food. I didn’t need dinner that first night! But all of that food gave me energy for an old-fashioned Easter Egg Hunt!
(Back in Newcastle, the choir was hard at work rehearsing for Palm Sunday and Holy Week while I was Easter egg hunting…I did think of them while I was having fun!)
Then, the next day, it was very exciting because I got to meet lots and lots of new friends! So many bears…each with a name and a story…all kinds of shapes and colours and sizes — there was even a punk bear with a pierced — actually, don’t worry about that. But it got me to thinking, about the choir and how strong all the relationships are. You can get a group of choristers together who have nothing in common, who have all sorts of different experiences and values and world views, and the only thing they really have to bind them together is the music, but they somehow become a family. If you’re a bear (or a choir mascot) then you’ll never be without friends, and I think that if you’re a chorister you’ll never be without friends either. It’s the best thing in the world, to be a mascot for this choir!
Day three of my mini-break — well, that was super exciting! Because you can’t travel with a choir librarian without going to — wait for it — a bookshop! It was HUGE, a whole basement of a city building, and there were so many books! We spent a lot of time there. It’s very important for a mascot to keep pushing himself and learning, and there’ll be lots of opportunity for that when we go to England! But when the choristers’ vestry is not full of people working super hard and having lots of fun, it’s a peaceful place for a mascot to sit and read.
And then was the highlight — some culture — I got to see the Australian Ballet perform in the Arts Centre! Such costumes and dancing, but the music — well, the music inspired me to go back to Newcastle and work even harder at being a choir mascot, because we made some incredible music over Holy Week and Easter! I needed another week off to recover!! Just as well the vestry was quiet this week — until everyone came back for another weekend of fantastic music.
Also, I needed the week to write up this blog post. Pretty cool being a guest blogger! And all this travelling I’m getting to do — it’s just whetting my appetite even further for the England tour coming up! It’s just around the corner now…and who knows, maybe you’ll hear from me again all the way from England…