YELLOMUNDEE CULTURAL CAMP: YENAMA BUDGARI GUMARA – Walk with Good Spirit

Years 6 – 10 spent a wonderful day at Yellomundee last Wednesday. Stepping out of the bus after only a 35 minute drive and we already begin to breathe differently. Uncle Lex invites us to sign in to country at an ancient Kangaroo engraved initiation site. We sit amongst trees now decorated with our ochre handprints, in quietness. Breathing deepens, senses awaken, bird activity is everywhere, and even though we are a short distance from a fast travelling roadway, the resilience and presence of this place is palpable.

Later, some wade in the sun sparkling winter river, others shelter beneath casuarinas. After lunch we transform stringybark into rope. When we work together we are strong, Uncle Lex tells us, as he shows us how to twine the separate lengths together to make unbreakable string in preparation for the dance circle. Then we dance for two hours! Uncle Kyle and Aunty Corina showing us how to draw strength from the earth, how to connect inner lives to the beautiful world around us.

Uncle Lex and his crew cook us the most delicious camp dinner I have ever had, then by firelight we share songs and stories, and are entertained by the cheeky Uncle Bidgewong.  Thursday and we arrive back to school. The Kindy and Primary School learn the dances and in the afternoon the whole school shares in a celebration of culture through dance and story.

A big love thank you to Lex, Corina, Kyle, Sandy and crew for this truly special opportunity to be on country, and to John for coordinating on our behalf.  
Lynn

YELLOMUNDEE CULTURAL CAMP: YENAMA BUDGARI GUMARA – Walk with Good Spirit

Years 6 – 10 spent a wonderful day at Yellomundee last Wednesday. Stepping out of the bus after only a 35 minute drive and we already begin to breathe differently. Uncle Lex invites us to sign in to country at an ancient Kangaroo engraved initiation site. We sit amongst trees now decorated with our ochre handprints, in quietness. Breathing deepens, senses awaken, bird activity is everywhere, and even though we are a short distance from a fast travelling roadway, the resilience and presence of this place is palpable.

Later, some wade in the sun sparkling winter river, others shelter beneath casuarinas. After lunch we transform stringybark into rope. When we work together we are strong, Uncle Lex tells us, as he shows us how to twine the separate lengths together to make unbreakable string in preparation for the dance circle. Then we dance for two hours! Uncle Kyle and Aunty Corina showing us how to draw strength from the earth, how to connect inner lives to the beautiful world around us.

Uncle Lex and his crew cook us the most delicious camp dinner I have ever had, then by firelight we share songs and stories, and are entertained by the cheeky Uncle Bidgewong.  Thursday and we arrive back to school. The Kindy and Primary School learn the dances and in the afternoon the whole school shares in a celebration of culture through dance and story.

A big love thank you to Lex, Corina, Kyle, Sandy and crew for this truly special opportunity to be on country, and to John for coordinating on our behalf.  
Lynn

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL – BESTEST WORLD

Year 8 and 9 proudly present Bestest World!, a stunning new Musical Show. Set your smartphones to virtual reality and be prepared to witness a high octane performance of music, acting, choreography, singing and dance. The future of our planet might be in the balance, but a dystopian world cannot contain this younger generation of eco-warriors from confronting the big issues with energy, heart and soul! Rock Up, Get Down and Boogie your way through 8 electrified and original songs. The future might be rosier than you think or darker than you thought, but nothing is going to stop you from walking out of this show whistling your new favourite catchiest song, this side of Sydney.

The Bestest World Protest Musical was awesome, and while Kindlehill has such a strong performing arts focus, so that many of our students are readily able to excel in such events, it is also good to keep in mind that every student takes part in these performances and much goes on behind the scenes. The talented and experienced students get to really hone their talents and skills, mentored by truly gifted teaching/directors, and they also have to really carry the show in regard to grounding it in supportive teamwork. Other students for whom this might be their first or second show have to find immense courage and commitment to put themselves out there in front of an audience, at a time in their lives when many teenagers are seeking a kind of invisibility or conformity to what they perceive is okay with their peers. It truly was the Bestest Musical! And it was serendipitously on the eve of the Student Strike for Climate Change which made it sharp, pointedly relevant. Congratulations to the students in year 8/9 and to Rowley, Eliza and Georgia for their direction.
Lynn

Class 4/5 Play Term 3, 2019 “Love is in the Air” a Tragic Romance or a Romantic Tragedy

Inspired by and adapted by S’haila Bernard from the Play “Persephone” written by Diane Tatum, Linden McCall, William Ward, Rosemary Vallance, Edouard Shuré, Anthony Downs and Lynn Daniel.

The story of Persephone, the sweet daughter of earth goddess Demeter and lord of all zeus, who was enchanted by Hades and later became the Queen of the Underworld, is a deeply rich story of the eternal cycle of love, death and rebirth.
Demeter deeply loved her precious maiden daughter. Persephone was looking for her own to love. Hades, desperately romantic, fell in love with Persephone and with a narcissis flower charmed her away.
A distraught and heart broken Demeter wandered the earth in grief, searching searching. The earth began to dry up, harvests failed, famine spread until zeus finally intervened and sent Hermes to hades requesting Persephone’s release.
Persephone, not to be torn from her lover or her mother, recognises her place in the world and chooses both. from that day forward she spent half the year in the earthly realm; Spring and Summer and half the year in the underworld; autumn and winter
her story was represented in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the great private and secret celebrations of ancient Greece.

HIGH SCHOOL YEAR 8/9 MUSICAL 18TH AND 19TH SEPTEMBER

Our focus last term was Devising Theatre and Script Writing. This unit of work was run in conjunction with Music, to create an original musical for rehearsal and performance in Term 3.

The unit took place in two phases. We began with The Political Circus as our starting point, and our focus for the first 5 weeks of term was exploration – finding different ways to approach this concept in order to create a world that could be wrapped around the protest songs being written concurrently in Music. Each lesson we investigated a new angle – generating material, distilling ideas and creating possible worlds that could support the songs. 

After much consideration, Rowley and I settled on the idea we thought could work in relationship with the songs and be feasible to construct a script by the end of term, and we brought this to the students for discussion. That’s where things got interesting… the students were almost unanimously settled on another, darker and more complex idea. Tackling this one was only going to be possible if everyone stepped up and really worked both in class and between lessons. The students passion for the idea and willingness to do the work to make it happen were admirable, and they have come through in spades! In 4 weeks, we have devised and scripted 9 complex, interesting and challenging scenes and crafted a narrative that packs one hell of a punch!

I have been thrilled with the work that was put in. Everyone stepped up and delivered. There were a few slips with homework, but overall input was excellent and more than one dropped the clutch and worked harder than I’ve seen them work before.

So, now we have a script. And this coming term, it will be rehearsed, bringing two worlds to life – a colourful and lively Utopia, and its dark and dystopian underside.   
Georgia (Drama Teacher)

GIVE A DAM – BUILDING WALLS

Sharing here a beautiful and passionate poem written by Lucy Bell, Year 9 as part of her Geography investigation into the raising of Warragamba Dam wall. It speaks to the specific issue of raising the dam wall but also of raising walls that dam the flow in all of aspects of our lives. Pretty complex little poem here Lucy.   
Lynn

Raising the Warragamba Dam Wall

by Lucy Bell.

There was flow; then there were walls.
In life, there is a natural flow.
It is the flow of people on streets.
The flow of the sun, radiating down on earth.
The flow of water in the rivers and seas.
The flow of the seasons, changing annually.
The flow is everywhere, critical, essential and fundamental to life, love, and liberty.
 
In life, there are walls.
These are the walls like a sore throat, stopping you from singing.
Dam walls stopping the waters from wading.
Walls separating families, stopping the flow of so many lives.
Walls like being stuck in a job, because you have to feed you family.
Walls are everywhere, they create distress, death and destruction.
 
In life, there is a drug called money.
I have pity for the people addicted to this drug.
Money corrupts people to destroy their land, their ancestors’ land. This ancient, sacred soil
air and water.
Money, the drug that causes human’s so much craziness, corruption and confusion
 
Lungs. Lungs and tongues and teeth and lips.
These are Our weapons to speak our mind; to Change the world and fight for tomorrow.
Let’s use them for good. Without the corruption of money.
Let’s stand in unity as a nation, as people, as citizens of earth.
Let’s stand, and break through the walls!
We need to fight, to stop the raising of a wall at Warragamba Dam!

GEOGRAPHY ON THE ROAD – 7/8 CLASS TRIP 2018

On this round trip of some of NSW’s most iconic places, we tuned our individual heartbeats to the larger rhythms of life and landscapes. In each place we visited, the stories of that place unfolded. We went respectfully, acknowledging country, and opening our senses through quiet contemplative drawing and writing, seeking connectedness to each unique place.

This was Geography on the Road. On the south coast we explored coastal lagoons, rivers that begin in the escarpment and outlet into the sea, sacred mountains and initiation sites, and land use such as the dairy, forestry and whaling activity of past and present. In the South East forest, we visited a remnant Gondwana rainforest and beautiful inland creeks set amongst forest preserved from logging in the nick of time. We travelled to Kosciuszko, crossing the Great Dividing Range and noting the changes in the water cycle and vegetation. We stopped by at Kiandra, an historic gold rush town, and learned about the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme and the proposed plan for Snowy 2 (including discussing the political jostling around renewable energy targets). We then toured a cave in Yarangobilly, swam in a thermal pool  and followed the Tumut River to a caravan park for our first opportunity during the camp to shower and use facilities. In Hay we swam in the mighty Murrumbidgee River, and camped beside it under the stars. En-route to Lake Mungo we observed the productive industrial scale farming of the Riverina dependent on irrigation from the Murrumbidgee. And later, on the way home, we saw the top soils from some of these exposed fields lifting up and whirling east – the source of the dust storms experienced in Sydney and surrounds. This was an opportune time to discuss and think critically about the conventional farming practices we take so much for granted. Then we went on to Lake Mungo, a unique landscape of cultural significance to the world, it was a place where we all experienced the spiritual presence of land and ancestors.

We swam, snorkelled, surfed, clamboured alongside creeks and waterfalls, and walked respectfully on ancient lands. We met Aboriginal teachers along the way who shared culture and wisdom related to place. We took some of these teachings into our reflective circle times; exploring ways to apply three things to live by: spiritual connection to place (where place makes you part of its story), social connectedness  (a sense of belonging as well as of roles and responsibilities), and generosity (asking what we can do for others rather than what we can gain for ourselves). The descriptive writing from our explorations was vibrant, alive with the voice of authentic experience. We also talked about initiation of young people, what it might look like in our time and place. John and I share a sense that camps such as these with a teaching and experiential focus, carry many elements of what underlies initiation for young people. – the path toward independence, freedoms balanced with responsibilities, courage, resilience, ethical choices, learning from country, caring for community and for each other, and tuning your heart in to the larger  rhythm of regenerative life.

You can seed and talk about all of this in a classroom (and we have)…but you can actually experience it and bring it into a lived experience in a two week on the road geography trip! Landscapes and the people connected to them were our primary teachers. Each student identified their special teaching place, the one they felt most connected to and articulating the elements of this experience.  They also identified what they would take away as a thought, feeling and intention for their future lives.

Lynn

Theseus And The Minotaur

MUSICAL NOTE FROM THE MUSICAL DIRECTOR

I am very proud to have collaborated with year 9 and 10, developing their music composition skills, confidence and fostering a new appreciation for musical theatre. The idea to do a Musical was encouraged by the students and the ancient myth Theseus and the Minotaur proved a superb dramatic vehicle in which to develop the songs. Exploring the ancient Minotaur myth with a modern musical approach was a bold move. Each and every student bravely offered their unique ideas and talents. The result..a singing, acting and dancing bull, supported by a delightful cast, a host of catchy songs; we believe it is a new legend in the making. 

A heartfelt thank you to all the students for their dedication, perseverance and their commitment to each other to develop a truly musical ensemble.   

Rowley

CO-DIRECTOR’S NOTES

Welcome to the labyrinth, and Kindlehill’s original musical, Theseus and the Minotaur.

Our young hero heads out into the world alone, seeking identity, connection and little bit of glory and excitement; his travels take him down a few dark alleys, see him making promises he might not be able to keep, and he ends up lost in a confusing maze out of which insight, friendship and compassion are the only guides. Gee, things really haven’t changed much through the ages, have they?

This quest has been a wonderful way to explore some very relevant themes for our students as they move into the final phase of their schooling. It is the second original musical that the school has produced under the very assured guidance of Music teacher Rowley Holmes and it has been an exciting and challenging process that has resulted in some incredible music and performances.  

Every student has stepped well out of their comfort zone and found themselves doing things they didn’t know they could at the beginning of this process. It’s been an absolute joy to watch them embrace these new capacities and spread their creative wings. They’ve managed the production process too, designing costume and creating props.

Huge thanks and congratulations to Rowley for the work he has done with the students, I’ve found myself walking down the street humming these tunes on more than one occasion and am sure you will too in the coming days. And bravo to our brave and talented students!

Georgia x

Rehearsals

WINTER’S NIGHT

Thank you to all who joined us to celebrate our Winter’s Night with such warmth and a true sense of community.

As we came together at dusk down by the lake, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation as families chatted on their journey to our school on the hill. The hum soon quietened as we entered the Performance Space with the gentle calling of the didgeridoo, followed by the children singing with the High School choir and parent’s choir. Uncle Lex shared a song in the Darug language and the whole audience was captured. At times the mood was one of stillness and reverence, while in another there was a joyous call for the whole community to participate and rejoice the new sun. S’haila and John certainly had the whole audience filling the space with their Big Warm Hearts!

To follow this beautiful singing, a circle of commitment to the Uluru Statement of the Heart was created under the stars. Under a starry, smoky sky, Mai Lynn called in the ancestors with a call that I am sure was heard throughout the stars, Flinn accompanied her on the didgeridoo, while Uncle Lex lead a smoking ceremony. And all was still…

To end our evening, children collected their lanterns and journeyed back to the lake. We had arrived in darkness, but left with light on this magical Winter’s Night.

We would especially like to thank and acknowledge Mai Lynn, Flinn, Uncle Lex and parents who joined our choir for helping to make this night such a special one. Thank you to Miranda and her team of star lantern makers. How beautiful to have these stars to light our space. Thank you to Issi in year 8, who made the origami banksia candle at the centre of the spiral.
Kirsty

Autumn Fair-Connecting to Place

What an awesome Fair, beginning with a very heartfelt Welcome to Country by Aunty Carol and lovely musical items from our students. The wonderful performances by the students continued on under Steve G’s smooth coordination at the Music Tent. The Flying Fox was extremely popular and all of the activities led by parents brought a richness to the theme of connecting to nature and to community. The food was a gourmet treat and the coffee shop just gets better every year.

Thank you to Erica and her coordinators, especially to Rebecca, Wayne, Mai-Lynn and her foodie team, Gilo, Dylan, Kylie, Miranda, Amy, Trent and all of the parents who jumped in on the day to make it a fun and nourishing community day for all. Thank you to the Kindlehill staff and to the music tutors who bring in so much love and creativity to make this day a success. There were plenty of visitors, with enquiries for enrolments as well as people who come year after year just because they enjoy being part of the extended Kindlehill community.

In my opening speech I spoke of harmony arising out of making a circle and listening to one another, finding each other and working out how we can make something beautiful together that respects our individuality but serves the whole. I was speaking in the context of our once a week high school singing. Yet the Fair as a whole left me with an impression very much like this, of Harmony. This is a gift to our children and young people, a gift to our community and to our world.  
Lynn