The Underground Orchestra Challenge

Saturday 1435 – 26th January 2013

The Undergound Orchestra

Last week I wrote about what makes me happy in my post called Happiness Is – at the end of that post I told you about 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge.   A reminder of what I wrote  “On 1st January 2012, Shaun Buswell started a musical challenge to create an orchestra made up of musicians he met as strangers whilst travelling on the London Underground. Clearly he was absolutely as mad as a box of frogs but he’s doing it to raise money for charity. The charity Daytrippers who help “children with disabilities, life limiting or terminal illnesses enjoy amazing experiences that might otherwise not be available to them”   Click on the names to read more about the challenge.

Well it HAPPENED today and I was there to witness it. Shaun alias Contrabuffoon ( his words in the programme!) pretty much gave up a year of his life to do this. Why did he do it…. because he could and did!

The evening started with a documentary of Shaun’s efforts to meet musicians on the underground and persuade them to come on board; to give up their spare time for this. The video was full of pathos and hilarity; a potent mix, as Shaun struggled _636to keep going at times ( it was only finally confirmed a week or so ago. Phew! )  but weathered the storm in his ever bushier-growing beard.

There followed an introduction of each member of the orchestra and where on the underground he’d met them, no mean feat in itself!_642 

He even managed a set of twins; each met separately on the underground but 3 months apart!

The orchestra,very ably conducted by the lovely Ellie Ververk played 3 pieces, by Grieg, Holst and Dvorak respectively, which I found hugely emotional. 4 people who were ticket holders for the event brought instruments and joined in and one of the members of the orchestra only met Shaun the day before.. Amazing and the whole orchestra was brilliant.

_632……_631

There was a brilliant medley of music from films that feature the London Underground… admittedly some rather tenuously but I loved it and so did the rest of the audience, if the clapping and “whooping” were anything to go by !

_640

Shaun performed with members of his band Buswell and the orchestra. The extraordinary part of this is that Shaun wrote the parts for different instruments which is pretty good considering he can’t actually read music!  _635

_634You can see from Shaun’s face in the little photo left how pleased he was when a line of musicians stood up from their balcony seats and played a little piece in the middle of one of his songs, again arranged at the last minute.

He has a sort of warm contented look on his face

It was a great moment.

_638

My favourite songs of Buswell’s were It’s You, , It will Pass, For the Family and The Road.. all beautiful . You can read more about Buswell the band here  and listen to some of the music here

You can see the concentration and passion for the music when Shaun performs.. 2 things that served him well on this challenge… and he jumps around a lot, hence the blurring in the first one 🙂  

_637

.

_641

You got a sense that everyone in the audience felt a part of the challenge and were rejoicing in the completion of it which added enormously to the enjoyment of the whole event. I had never met Shaun before this event but I felt as though I did because of being following the challenge since the beginning. He started his orchestra challenge a few days after I started my 366 photography blog which seems really easy now in comparison with what Shaun has achieved.

_633

So what was the point ? What has it proved? 

That if you set yourself a challenge as long as you are committed enough to it, are prepared to work through the problems and never give-up, you can achieve almost anything. Self-belief can carry a person a very long way, that and a charming and very persuasive manner!!   Connections between human beings that develop trust and friendship, as seems evident in this challenge, can be so life-enhancing for everyone concerned can’t they?

So hearty congratulations to Shaun Buswell ( not so much a contrabuffoon after all, eh Shaun!), to the musicians, to the workers from the charity Daytrippers ( personal thanks to the lovely Leila) and all the others who made it possible for Shaun to make this dream come true. 

It was a Triumph and he’s undertaken challenges before this one.  I wonder what he’ll be up to next ??

If you weren’t able to be there you can still help. Take a look at the page on the link below which “features amazing goodies and an exclusive reward in return for pledges, ensuring as much money as possible is raised for the charity”

http://wefund.com/project/underground-orchestra-challenge-help-the-one-off-event-and-documentary-happen/p56487/

There is also going to be an auction for some lovely things, like a Spa day for two and Lush goodies, I don’t have details of that yet but will put them in a future posting when I do have them.

You can also read about the charity, and donate directly to them if you are inspired by what they do by visiting them here

This year will be the 10th Anniversary of the founding of Daytrippers and they said this on the 12.12.12 website “Daytrippers were inspired by this huge undertaking as the disabled children and their families that we work with also face many of their own challenges daily. We loved the similarity and wanted to celebrate it.”Leila Talmage, Daytrippers Children’s Charity

The message of never, never give up seems a good place to leave this Saturday’s post.  I like writing about happy things. Must do more of it!

Saturday Girl signing off now. Have a joyful week and be inspired to challenge yourself.

.

You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already

.

Happiness is ?

Saturday 1436 – 19th January 2013

Lao tse sayingWell what is it?  Happiness that is. I posted the saying to the left and below on Facebook today  ( I’ve written it below because I know I have followers who are blind and visually impaired)

“Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.”
― Lao Tzu

I guess I like it because it speaks to me about the most likely way for me to be happy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially in the bath, now don’t laugh I do a lot of thinking in the bath, don’t you?   It’s certainly a place where I have lots of moments of happiness 😉 and as it happens I got out of a lovely, hot, perfumed bath just before I started writing this! ( tut, tut giving in to my desires!.. read on)

John lennon happiness statement

I digress, back to why I like the Lao Tzu quote. It is evident to me just from observation and experience that happiness is not attained by selfishness and having lots of possessions. We want something, we buy it, we want something else, we buy it but our desires never seem to be satisfied. Why is that? 

Well I’ve been reading quite a lot of the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh’s work in recent weeks, he talks about original fear and original desire; about us being born with original fear because we are thrust from the wet, warm, dark womb into the dry,noisy, brightness of  life and it’s at that moment that desire is also born. The desire to have care, food, comfort etc from someone who will help us survive.  To me this makes a lot of sense. We seem to be largely at the mercy of our desires and because of this life has become complex as capitalism strives to make money out of this, through the power of advertising.

I believe it’s impossible to be happy this way as there is always something new to tempt us. It’s not so much having the possession as the emotional attachment we seem to have to it that causes problems.The more possessions we have the more time we use up looking after them; getting them fixed, cleaned etc instead of actually living our lives, engaging with people, reading books, having experiences and so on ( makes me wonder what I’m doing on here !! ) 

I return once more to Lao Tzu’s quote: I know I am happiest when I am living more simply in a more mindful way, with less striving, more nature, being compassionate to others and not completely at the mercy of my desires!!

Wouldn’t you agree that seems like a more satisfactory way to live ? ( by the way I am wide of the mark on managing this but aspire to it )

( Though some desires are good you understand 😉  )

______________________________________________________________

121212 logoFinally I just want to add something about what I’m going to be doing next Saturday in London.  I’ll be attending the finale of the 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge.  On 1st January 2012, Shaun Buswell started a musical challenge to create an orchestra made up of musicians he met as strangers whilst travelling on the London Underground. Clearly he was absolutely as mad as a box of frogs but he’s doing it to raise money for charity. The charity Daytrippers who help “children with disabilities, life limiting or terminal illnesses enjoy amazing experiences that might otherwise not be available to them”   Click on the names to read more about the challenge.

It nearly didn’t happen and after all the work Shaun and others have put in that would have been a great pity. We only knew on Friday it was definitely going ahead. Phew ! but now bums are needed on seats to make this a success and make money for the charity.. So if you live in or near London it’s on Saturday 26th at 7pm in the O2 Empire in Shepherds Bush in London and you can buy tickets here http://www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk/  You’d be helping make history ! and you might meet me ! ( now don’t let that put you off ) or if you cannot be there you can help raise the money to cover putting on the event and get yourself a video or other memorabilia here http://wefund.com/project/underground-orchestra-challenge-help-the-one-off-event-and-documentary-happen/p56487/ 

Every little helps, even a pound or two.  You would make Shaun, the orchestra and Daytrippers VERY, VERY, VERY HAPPY !

Oh and if you know anyone in London ( Like Chris Evans) who could advertise this on their radio show or better still on TV that would be great too 😉

Needless to say I’ll be telling you all about it next week.

Saturday Girl signing off now. Have an uncomplicated week

.

You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already

.