Introducing Callum!

Hi everyone,

I’ve got some fabulous news! I’m proud to announce that one of my students is going to make his debut performance with me at Meraki Management‘s UNLOCKED gig Thursday 25th August at The Waratah Hotel in Hobart.

Callum is a really great guy who is working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award through OAK Tasmania. For those who aren’t familiar, the DofE is open to young people under 25 and comprises four areas the participant has to complete – service, physical recreation, skills and an adventurous journey. We identified that learning to play the guitar is a skill and performing in front of an audience in a public place would certainly be an adventurous journey. It takes a lot to get up in front of a group of strangers for the first time but this man loves music and is determined to do well. And it’s that level of passion and commitment that makes it all worthwhile from my perspective as a teacher.

Both Callum and I are indebted to the wonderful Amy Fogarty from Meraki Management who has been so supportive, everyone at OAK but especially Teena who has guided both of us through the process.

It’s been a lot of really hard work but Callum is a great student and a natural performer. I’m really looking forward to it 🙂 If you’re in Hobart Thursday 25th please come down and support us. We’re on at 7pm ❤

Rock star in the making!

Rock star in the making!

PS: The Superstars have been making a video! More about that next post 🙂

 

Debut! – The Superstars

Well, we did it!

On Friday The Superstars had their debut performance outside of OAK Tasmania – and it was a HUGE success!

Final Rehearsal L-R: Tim, Sally, Kelly [back], Megan and Kathryn

Final Rehearsal L-R: Tim, Sally, Kelly [back], Megan and Kathryn

We were asked to come and play at the Ability to Create exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion, Mawson Place down at the docks in Hobart. It was a very grey, showery day but we had a great time – and I think the audience did too!

An example of the beautiful art work we helped to open

An example of the beautiful art work we helped to open

I cannot begin to tell you all how proud I am of this group. I’ve been away, trying to recover from a really nasty virus – but even without me cracking the whip, they’ve still been rehearsing and honing their performance skills. And all their hard work and talent shone through ❤

Kelly singing up a storm! [Photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

Kelly singing up a storm! [Photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

And of course there was dancing! [Photo courtesy Chris Rules]

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that a lot goes on behind the scenes to make The Superstars happen that most people don’t see. None of this would happen without the support of OAK and their fabulous staff. Giving their best for the clients is their job and they do that brilliantly – but the support and encouragement they give me as a contract tutor cannot be overstated. You know who you are – thank you ❤

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Introducing – The Superstars!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks but life got in the way as it tends to. Nevertheless, here it is!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends around the world,

Let me introduce you to The Superstars 😀

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The Superstars [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

From left to right: Megan, Kelli-Lee, Kathryn, Sally, me, Jacqui, Brendon and Tim.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get a weekly gig, playing music every Monday at OAK Tasmania. OAK do a lot of things but where I work, they provide recreational services to people with disabilities. My job was basically to be a human jukebox for an hour and a half every week to a discerning and quite demanding audience!

As time progressed, I started to make some really strong friendships with some of the folks I was playing for and I eventually started doing a separate session, tutoring a group that performed at the in-house end of year parties.

Since the start of this year I’ve been working one morning a week with a smaller crew and we’re playing our first show later this month. I’m unbelievably proud of these people and how hard they work – and I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we have together!

We talked a lot about a name and Kathryn (our newest member) came up with The Superstars! We all agreed it was the best description of everyone in the group, who all bring something special to the songs we perform.

In particular, I’ve been working a lot with Jacqui, who was very uncertain about crowds, doesn’t like lots of noise and tends to be quite shy. Now, she joins in the general silliness, even dances sometimes and she sings – wow does she sing! We’ve become quite close and I treasure her kind, gentle, loving friendship.

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Jacqui and me [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

I believe everyone has talents and abilities that you might not see at first glance and these wonderful people are no different. I’m privileged to work with them ❤

Hobart folks, The Superstars will be performing at the Ability to Create art exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion Friday May 27th at 1 pm. Come down and celebrate with us 😀

A Day of Quiet Bliss – Day 29 NaBloPoMo 2015

It was very overcast and quite humid in Hobart most of today. Although I was supposed to go to an event nearby, I decided to stay home and potter around the garden. The girls were very pleased because this meant lots of extra treats for them and they rewarded me with eggs as usual. Boudica Bunny is also eating enormous amounts at the moment and all the babies are out and starting to get the hang of this eating solid food caper.

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I potted up more basil, chillies and Green Shiso (Perilla fruitescans var. crispa), a wonderful Japanese annual herb, which I primarily use in stir fries and salads. I’ve grown it in the past but never had such a fabulous strike rate as I did with this year’s seed supply. It’s looking wonderful and already has that unmistakable flavour and aroma. I find it likes a rich potting mix and lots of warmth for quick growth, similar to basil.

And then there was the completion of half the “corner of shame”. This is a classic before and after situation.

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Before

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After

Admittedly, we’re only half way there but that’s a lot further than we were a few weeks ago!

After removing the worst of the perennial weeds, I put some dolomite limestone over the area and covered it with several layers of cardboard.  Then we laid some cotton mats, donated by family members, that were old and worn and heading for the rubbish tip. (I think half our garden is recycled!)

A thick layer of coarse sand went over that and it was topped with some well composted native bark mulch, which I’ve found considerably less acidic than pine bark mulch. We did the same thing behind the chicken house and I’ve planted two Australian Tea-Trees (Leptospermum sp.) there to provide some extra wind protection for the ladies who lay.

The weeds will grow back – but not as quickly or as vigorously as they have in the past. I want to plant a couple of English Lavender here in the next few days and I’m planning to put netting or shade cloth above the fence to give a little more height for growing climbers in tubs and privacy both for and from our neighbours. Next spring, this is the likely spot for my beehive, angled in towards the garden.

I also finished the garlic crop, which has been curing inside the last two weeks. It’s now cleaned up, the tails have been clipped and it’s in three plaits, hanging off the laundry/kitchen door. It’s quite a decent amount this season, considering I’ve used and given away at least half a dozen or so heads already – and there’s more in the ground that needs pulling!

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Tomorrow is back to music work and teaching, the beginning of my birthday week, first day of my next university semester and the last day of NaBloPoMo – and I’m picking up my birthday present to myself tomorrow too 😀

 

 

ASA Update

ASA July 2015 Poster

ASA July 2015 Poster

Hello friends,
I’m pleased to announce the Australian Songwriters Association Tasmania are returning at a new venue – The Homestead in Elizabeth Street on Tuesday July 21st.
I’m incredibly honored to be the feature artist that night – which also means I’ll be under examination by MC Matt Dean prior to my set. If you want to hear me rabbit on about my craft, performing and mentoring please come along. As with all ASA Wax Lyrical nights, this is a free show.
At the moment, I’m trying to find out if we can film the interview so those of you who are interested but don’t live here can get an opportunity to see and hear what I’m about.
Meanwhile, there’s more gigs to talk about soon!
Take care,
Debra ❤

Back on the Line! Playing Catch-up with a Virtual Life

After six months with just my trusty mobile phone, I’m extremely happy to announce that I’ve got a home broadband connection again. Despite having the WordPress app on my phone, it’s just not the same as this interface on my laptop.

It’s good to be back – but now the big job of catching up begins! So much has been happening this southern summer, and as always, some of it’s been good and some of it’s been really bad.

On the “utterly brilliant” end of the spectrum, I’ve finished my first fully online unit through Griffith University. Despite only having my mobile for connection, I managed a surprising high distinction and I have to thank some beautiful friends in Hobart for letting me leach their net regularly to stay on top of things. Thank you Lauren and Patsi ❤ you two are wonderful! I’m well into my second unit now and starting to really enjoy the challenge of study again.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalising digital stuff for my most recent recording and playing catch up with getting cd’s out and about. And for those of you in southern Tasmania, I’m playing at the next ASA show on Wednesday, 9th April. Once again, we’re at The Night Owl in Liverpool Street, Hobart.

ASA 9th April poster

I’ll also have details to reveal soon about a new songwriting/recording/documentary project, plus a live, all-girl punk band I’m playing with called Straddlepuss.

And finally, being back online with a fibre connection means I can at long last offer Skype music lessons to you all. I can’t believe it was October last year when I first wrote about this and it’s taken until now to get it off the ground! If you’re interested, fill out the contact form – and the first lesson is free 😉

There’s been sadness too but I’m not dwelling on that today.

Today is a day for cheering!

Take care friends,

Debra ❤

Seasons Greetings – A Wonderful Christmas Present!

The Gorgeous Jax

The Gorgeous Jax

To begin with, irrespective of what you believe (or don’t believe) I wish you all a peaceful, relaxed holiday season. I’ve been having a great time, taking some time off with family and friends. But I’ve been pretty lax with keeping up with my blog – sorry!

Probably one of the best presents I’ve ever had was dumped in my lap recently. As a mentor and music teacher, you always wish the best for your charges but this is just outstanding 🙂

I’m very proud and pleased that JAX has made it to Number 6 on the Triple J Unearthed Pop charts.

For those of you outside of Australia, this is something to truly celebrate, I really can’t begin to describe how proud I am of this up and coming artist! The song she’s uploaded “Swallow” is a really excellent pop song with quite a mature, dark lyric. This young woman is an inspiration to us all, to stick at it and follow your dreams!

I encourage you all to go to the site and have a listen – “Swallow” is available for free download.

Meanwhile, play nicely, stay safe and have a great end to 2013!

Debra xx

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