We are in this together

Today is the last day of March, 2020 and the changes we have seen in our lives over the past few weeks hardly seem possible. Togetherness has taken on a whole new meaning and the ways in which we interact have had to change.

This is hard. (there’s no pretending it isn’t)

We still need each other and the world still needs music, so we kept going. You can trace this project through our earlier posts Play on! The song continues and Ku’u Pua I Paokalani. The good news is we did it. πŸ™‚

21 individual tracks were sent to me and compiled into our first virtual song.

Now, I know this is not quite the chart-topping viral version of some songs you have heard, but this is honest real playing by real people – by doctors, architects, photographers, midwives, game designers, PhD students, parents, neighbours, – by the community. (and yes, you’ll see from the image above, that it took a little fiddling around to make all the separate parts fit together- but heck, even my university students have to learn how to do studio recording sessions – all these people did it on their own, at home, without help)

These people are dedicated, and honestly pretty special. Thank you to everyone who played, and who encouraged us to do this.

Please enjoy our lockdown song: Ku’u Pua I Paokalani, Written by the Queen of Hawaii, from a time of her own isolation, from us to you Aloha.

next up on our list of projects is to start virtual rehearsals… watch this space! You will be welcome to join us. πŸ™‚

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Ku’u Pua I Paokalani

Here is our virtual piece! (for the intro to the project, please see my earlier post HERE)

I love that it was written by Queen Liliuokalani (from Hawaii) and as an orchestra we are very grateful to Duane Padilla for making the string quartet arrangement, and for letting me arrange the parts for you!

Here is the LINK TO THE PARTS on dropbox.

I know everyone has different access to online facilities at home. You can record via a phone, and I am very happy to have either video or audio. I would LOVE to have everyone be a part of this, and you DO NOT need to feel pressured to play everything perfectly. πŸ™‚ If you can set up a metronome to flash at 90 that will help us all to stay together.

If you do not want to be ‘seen’ in the recording, you can send an audio, but could everyone send a picture of themselves or of your instrument?

My plan is to print and put up all the pictures and to conduct you! πŸ™‚ Then I can video me, and ‘drop’ in various images or videos of you playing to create a dynamic performance. …that’s the idea anyhow! I’ll mix all the sound together.

If you have a phone, you shouldn’t need a fancy microphone. Most modern phones/tablets actually have pretty good mics!

Below is the video from Duane for Dorothy about how to do the percussion. I can’t wait to make this happen!

Please can you send me your contributions by FRIDAY 27 March.

(nothing like some homework!?) πŸ˜€

Laura x

and here’s a picture of an Ipu (traditional gourd)

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Play On! The song continues

Oh Lovely Orchestra!


Of course this is a very serious time and my last formal communication was to end all face-to-face meetings until this health crisis is over. As you know, and can each attest to, we love our music and I am very strongly of the #YesICan attitude. This does NOT mean ignoring rules or being reckless, but instead it means thinking wider.

I was touched by some of the informal chat messages suggesting how you would like to learn something at a distance. Your messages came just after a dear friend of mine posted this gorgeous piece:


View this post on Instagram


A beautiful song by Queen Liliuokalani β€œKu’u Pua I Paokalani”

A post shared by Duane Padilla (@duanepictures) on

I wrote to him and asked if we could play it. He not only sent me the parts and score, but has made instructional videos about the traditional percussion (for Dorothy our percussionist!)

Also it is SO FITTING that we play this as he said:

Interesting history of the song. The song was written when the queen was imprisoned under house arrest for 8 months after the fall of the monarchy at the turn of the century. They tried to isolate her but she was allowed to receive flowers from her garden picked by an 11 year old boy, who secretly wrapped them in newspapers so she could at least hear about what was going on in Hawaii. The lyrics talk about the beautiful flowers

Regarding percussion, I think something inspired by the percussion used in traditional chanting and dance would be appropriate and sound good. There are a few basic Rhythm patterns that are traditionally played on β€œipu” which are gourds played like drums that are easy, I’ll make a video and send. Would be nice in the middle from mm 18-40. The middle section has a bit of the hula dance feel. The beginning and end are in the style of part singing.

Our plan is to learn it, record it, and I will present it at the #OER20 conference on April 1-2- where we were already invited to present, but with the turn of events, the conference has moved online and this is just so cool- we will ALL have a voice.

So instructions…

  1. Listen to Duane’s playing
  2. Download your part (I have to type them out for the instruments first – so give me a day please!)
  3. Learn your part with Duane’s recording, for timing
  4. Record yourself (we will all need to be exactly together – I’ll send instructions!)
  5. Send it to me!
  6. Send me a PHOTO of you playing your instrument (or just of the instrument if you would not like to be ‘seen’)

Everyone has the option of recording either audio (can use the voice recorder on your phone) or video (can use video on phone) My current plan is to tile people’s contributions together (mixing the sound nicely!) and either compile the video, or make a collage of your pictures and conduct the audio with you all in front of me πŸ™‚

It will be grand!

Parts to follow!



COVID-19 an enforced break from rehearsals…

Dear Wonderful Orchestra,

I realise that I am jumping the curve slightly, as the NHS advice is not yet to cancel anything, but I have a duty of care to you all and am cancelling rehearsals at least until after Easter.

As an ensemble we are all in quite close proximity to one another, breathing down our instruments, and there is just too much risk. I will (pinky promise) post some of the audio from our rehearsals on this website, and both here and on the chat groups I am sure we can keep in touch with one another! This is not goodbye, just a bit of sensible social distancing to keep us all safe. (the picture is how much distance we should have between people πŸ˜‰ )

I admit to feeling more than a few pangs of ‘oh I wish we didn’t have to’ as I write this, but really we do have to.

I’m always on the end of an email.


(ECCO Conductor)