Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Over and out

It’s done. The 2010 World Youth Convention has come to a sizzling conclusion and what an amazing conference it was for everyone involved.

I am writing this entry from Singapore Airport as we’ve just conquered the mammoth 12 hour flight from London to Singapore. Soon we’ll come back to reality and touch back down in Melbourne- something that we all have mixed emotions about.

It was such an intense week and we barely stopped during our time there. For most days we left our hotel between seven and eight in the morning and would return close to midnight. So it will be nice to rest and recuperate in the comfort of our own homes over the coming days.

However we can’t help but feel a tad sad about leaving Sweden because it was such an inspiring, uplifting and fun week to be a part of and a week that all of us will never forget.

The Big Band’s final two days in Stockholm were jam-packed full of action. The Salvation Army went public and set themselves up in the middle of a square in Stockholm to try and spread the gospel to the general public. This was a brave step for the Swedish to take because only around one per cent of the country’s population attend a church at all.

We kicked off the afternoon/evening with a 40 minute program on stage and we were received fantastically by the public. It’s probably safe to say that we saved our best performance for the most important one of the trip and we were really proud of the way we played. We were tight, focused and extremely aware of why we were there. Not to mention that there were some sensational solos from Davey George, Scotty Mangos and Cal Barry as well.

We did a lot of playing on the final day of the convention. Two 20 minute sets on the outside stage and a 25 minute program before the farewell meeting. We also led worship at the beginning of the service too. Once again the Aula Magna went nuts during ‘You Are Good’ and it was mind-blowing to stand out the front and see how excited people were to worship.

After the final song and the retirement of the WYC flags, it was as if everyone was still super hyper and that there was plenty of partying left in a few. So a few of the Big Band big boys, including yours truly, and two lovely girls from the Norwegian Dance Troup, hit the town in the early hours of the morning. And I tell you what, Stockholm found out on Monday morning just how sleek Australian males are at dancing up a storm.

A very special thank you must go to Sandra- our Swedish host for the week. It’s fair to say it took her a while to adapt to our sarcastic sense of humour, but once she did it was as if she was touring with us. Sandra was always on the ball in terms of organisation and was even able to teach a few of the boys a few flirting phrases in Swedish! She should be reading this as well as she has become a fna of us on Facebook, so tack Sandra!

Also thanks to Brian and Emma for their efforts before and during the trip because without them this trip wouldn’t have been possible.

From a personal perspective, the past week has been one of – if not the – best experience of my life so far. To be with close to 1000 young Salvationists from across the world really put into perspective how big this church really is and how much potential the Army has to grow.

So the question on everyone’s lips is what next for the Australian Southern Territory Big Band?

To be honest, not even we know. We will take a break over the next few weeks to let the enormity of what we’ve just been a part of soak in. Then we’ll sit down and talk about the possibilities that this Band has to offer.

One thing for certain is that we have incredible potential to witness if we continue on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first-class Nine News-style coverage over the past few weeks. We have had an absolute ball together as a group and it was a privilege updating you all about our adventure.

But for now- Hej Da!

P.S. Just a quick shout out to Tyler Webb. Some very fine work was done by him on the flight from London to Singapore as he exchanged conversation with a beautiful, young, Norwegian girl whose name I cannot pronounce or remember.

P.P.S. Check out the Facebook photos of everyone in the Band wearing newspaper hats - espeically made by Scott Mangos - in the coming days. The word is that there is only a limited edition of 17, so unfortunately none will be for sale.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hej Hej from Em

Wow, so sorry there hasn't been a post before now, but life here in Sweden is full on.  We have been up and out of the hotel by 8am each day and we have just got back from the after glow worship about 5minutes ago, so very very full and long days, but definitely worth it.

This is an amazing experience for all of us... we have met so many amazing people, heard and learnt from some incredible teaching, and we are getting out praise on like no ones business!

So while Ben has given you a bit more of a comprehensive run down... I have come up with some highlights of my own....

1. The african's spontaneous singing and dancing, anywhere, anytime...

2. Scott Mangos and his Carrot chopping...

3. Fisky... and his fishing... what out Ladies of Latvia.

4. The Jason Jelly Fish (dance move) being incorporated by the Jesus Gang... a dance crew of Brasil... and a little more subtly by the Korean Mission Singers

5. Miriam and Emma's badge collecting

6. Fun Dave getting his dance on for the screen... and the world to see

7. Praising, worshiping and praying literally with every nation, every tribe and in every tongue... the International Salvation Army

8. Seeing a fraction of the potential for the army's future... you better hold on to your hats!

9. Learning and leaning and leaning

10. Being able to lead 1000+ delegates from every corner of the globe in worship!

So there you go... Em's Highlights so far...

Oh and make sure you check out the website... http://www.raisedup.org/  and watch some of the videos so that you can tap into this amazing convention too.

Hej Hej fran Sverige (Hello from Sweden)!

Wow! That is all I can say.

What an incredible past few days it has been here at the WYC in Stockholm. So much has happened in such little time- but it has all been truly memorable.

The Big Band have done a couple of outside concerts in 'Tent Town' and we have gained a great following because of those. Some even wanted an encore at one stage- but there was a Q&A session with the General starting in a few minutes. I know where I'd rather be!

Probably the most amazing experience for us though was when the we led worship on Thursday night. Personally, I've never had so much fun and never felt so empowered during a praise and worship segment. To be leading hundreds of passionate people through song was simply spectacular and a memory that I will certainly take to my grave.

We to were received really well and numerous people came up to us afterwards and asked when we were going to play next. In fact two blonde girls from Sweden have officially become out biggest fans- but don't ask me to repeat their names!

What has been the most overwhelming thing here in Stockholm has been the positive vibe around the convention. Everyone is happy to be here, everyone wants to make friends and everyone is there for the same purpose.

The Big Band is fitting in really well with the other delegates. We have mixed with Salvationists from all around the world and it makes you realise how big our movement is!

We have a great bond especially with the 'Jesus Gang'- a group of fit and attractive Brazilian boys who put our dancing to real shame.

We are getting in amongst all the cultural dancing too. Whether it's with the Indians, Brazilians or even the folk from Ghana, everyone is more than happy for us to join in and dance the night away- even though we look like total tools. But it's all in good fun!

The days are long though. We leave the hotel at around 7.30 in the morning and return home at 11.30 at night. So by the time we all arrive back at the hotel, everyone just wants to sleep because we're all stuffed!

Tomorrow, we head out to the city squares in Stockholm for some outside concerts. We have a big 40 minute set, so hopefully we will get a good crowd and give our Territory a good name.

I really must get some sleep now though. It's 12.30am and we all have to leave the hotel by 7.30 tomorrow morning.

Remember you can follow us on Facebook as well- there are heaps more photos for you to look at. You can also watch replays of some of our playing at the offical Raised Up website!

Tack for lasning! Hej da!

P.S. A few boys are on the prowl for a few female specimens. There are plenty to choose from here too. But the word going around is that one has landed one. More details to come...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Välkommen till Stockholm!

We’re here! We’ve finally made it to the beautiful city of Stockholm after close to 23 hours of flying. But it was all worth it in the end!

Surprisingly we’ve settled into the European time zone pretty well. However we are all extremely tired and very slow to move. It’s probably due to the unexpected heat here in Sweden. The temperature hovers around 30 degrees for the majority of the day and the sun sets for a short amount of time. So it’s completely different to Melbourne weather at the moment.

Our trip began on Sunday night where we all arrived at Melbourne Airport for a 10.50pm departure. We had a slight scare early on when we were checking in our luggage due to an excess baggage problem, but we got there in the end.

We arrived in Hong Kong for a quick re fuel and then flew to London. The two trips added up to around 21 hours, so you can understand that we were already very tired by the time we hit Heathrow.

After waiting in London for a few hours we flew over to Stockholm and were greeted by Sandra, our blonde Swedish tour guide. And it’s fair to say that a few of the big boys were more than happy to be greeted by her.

After a good night’s rest, the band undertook a day of sightseeing. Stockholm is a beautiful city surrounded by attractive rivers and, more importantly, attractive people. The combination of old style buildings along with modern-day shopping precincts is just incredible. A lot of the band went on boat tours and explored the royal palace.

Then a few of the big boys spotted up the gym in our hotel for an iron pumping session. And as you can tell by the photos, we were in fine form!

We’ve just come back from a meet and greet dinner with all the other creative arts groups for the World Youth Convention (WYC). There are people here from every continent and a few of us have already made friends with members of Brazil’s own ‘Jesus Gang’. They don’t speak a word of English, but it’s like we’re family already.

Tomorrow we have a full day of sound checks and then the four day conference starts on Thursday.

Will keep you posted. Be good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Round the Band with em - part 4

So here we are in transit at Heathrow Airport... all a little worse for the wear, but still excited about finally getting to Sweden in just a few short hours. 

So while we sit and wait... I thought it was time to introduce the last instrumental section of the band... the rhythm section...

On Keys we have Nathan Glenn... aka Biff

What could you not live without?Tuna

How Long have you been playing?
Since I was 4

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Going overseas and going to the country of my ancestors.

On Bass... Radspank,,, aka Nath Radford

What could you not live without?
My Car

How Long have you been playing?
13 Years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Getting to play music in a foreign country instead of going to work

And keeping us all together on the Drums is Benni Knop

What could you not live without?
My Mac

How Long have you been playing?
Probably 15 years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Seeing if the rumours are true

 So there you go... as we are about to board the next flight... the rhythm section

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Round the Band with Em - Part 3

Well it's time to meet the next section of the band... the saxophones... and might I just say that this particular section is my favourite... but of course I may be just a little bit biased.

Anyway, our first saxophonist, on lead alto is none other than David George

What could you not live without?
My fiancé, I am watching you Waterworth!

How long have you been playing?
16 years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
A pre-wedding holiday with Em

On second alto we have Miriam Pho

What could you not live without?
Family and friends

How long have you been playing?
10 years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Pretty much what Perri said (see below)... and meeting the in-laws

On first tenor is Cal Barry

What could you not live without?

How long have you been playing?
Flute since grade 1 and sax since year 7

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
All of it

Then we have Perri Winter

What could you not live without?

How long have you been playing?
12 years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Experiencing the international Salvation Army

And last but not least on the big band bari is Tyler Webb

What could you not live without?
How long have you been playing?

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Being the world's most annoying tourist

So there you have it... the Saxophone Section....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Round The Band With Em- Round 2

Em here again!

Well you met the trumpet section, but now it's time to meet the extremely attractive trombone section...

On 1st Trombone we have Ben Waterworth:

What could you not live without?
Emma Lewis

How long have you been playing for?
Over six years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
The blonde bombshells!

Up next- Caleb Webb

What could you not live without?
Trombone and my Mrs.

How long have you been playing for?
Six years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
The experiences (Jesus) and meeting other people in uniform

On 3rd Trombone- Clinton 'Clunk/Frisky' Fisk

What could you not live without?
Caleb Webb's Trombone Sound

How long have you been playing for?
11 years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
Frequent Flyer Points

And with the low tones on Bass Trombone- Werribee's own Jon Marsh

What could you not live without?

How long have you been playing for?
Nine years

What are you most looking forward to about Sweden?
My trip to Germany afterwards!  

So there you go... here is one more look at Benny Waterworth and his manly troms...