At 10.am on December 3rd 2015, the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral, New Zealand started to fill up with beautiful children and their families from all cultures and all walks of life. By 10.30 am the Cathedral was full to the back door. Children were singing, dancing, doing all the actions and all I could see was a sea of smiling faces. My music team worked with me to share the actions of songs, helping children, parents and teachers participate around the six rainbow rings, seven parachutes and dancing round the special Christmas tree.
All the significant people who have been part of my Musical Journey were there. The Cathedral team, my family were taking photos and participating. Louise van Tongeren who has sung on all my CDs since she was 7 years old, was there with her two children. Louise was one of the first children I taught in my Julie Wylie Musical Play classes when I left my HOD teaching position as a high school music teacher. She inspired me, challenged me to see things from a child’s perspective, delighting in the specific songs when I got them just right.
My music mentor and friend David Sell, adjunct professor of music at University of Canterbury, was standing beside me as we played with the children around one of the 7 parachutes. Janette Riley and Rose Robinson who helped me believe in my music vision and philosophy and worked with me in the early years were sitting together, smiling, supporting me every step of the way. My music team were at all vantage points of the Cathedral spreading out the rainbow rings, playing with the children, helping the parents and teachers to interact musically with the children as we bounced the rainbow rings, batted balloons to incredible heights and danced around the parachutes in time to Christmas music from my CD “Sing Merry Christmas” CD.
The wonderful trumpeters who played at the end of the interactive play part of the Musical Play programme are both graduates from my musical play classes. Thomas Eves is now Principal trumpeter in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Toby Buckner has been accepted into the 2016 Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra.
Lisa, came with her four teenagers, all former pupils of mine. She told me that my music classes helped parents and children to feel a part of a very special music community. Today her daughter Holly received her music examination results. She gained Honors with 96% in her Grade 7 singing examination. She said that Holly still sings from morning until night. She and her sisters used to go home from the music classes and sing and act out everything they had done in our music class each day. The children enticed their parents into this musical play each night and so musical play became a special part of their family life. Nine years later Holly is a natural musician. I feel so delighted that musical play is enriching the lives of so many children and as I looked around at the sea of smiling faces of people young and old, I felt so touched and blessed to be doing what I love, building music communities and sharing the gift of music.