A piece of our hearts

30 September 2020

Have you ever had a piece of music written about you? Junior reviewer Eddy Greentree reports back with Rosalind Appleby on the thrill of this unique AWESOME Festival show.

A Piece of You, Greg Sinclair and AWESOME Festival ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 29 September ·
Review by Rosalind Appleby ·

The Perth Cultural Centre is buzzing with colour and life this week as children and families explore AWESOME Festival. Throngs of people are overflowing from pop-up marquees and sold-out theatre venues, capitalising on our (relative) freedom within COVID restrictions and soaking up as much live, tactile experiences as possible.

Attending the intimate show A Piece of You, however was a flashback to lockdown days. The show involves a performance by Edinburgh cellist Greg Sinclair, who interacts with audience members (maximum three children per performance) over Zoom. As my kids wriggled impatiently on their chairs and pulled faces at themselves on Zoom it started to bring back bad memories…

The expertise of Greg Sinclair takes audience members deeper into their own story.

Fortunately we were in the hands a highly skilled artist. Sinclair is an award-winning performance artist and composer and has been performing this show with adults and children since 2012, both live and over Zoom. The simple premise behind the self-devised show – answer a few questions and he will write and perform our story on his cello – belies the immense expertise required of the performer. In just a few moments Sinclair had gained our trust, displayed impressive listening skills, artful pacing, and the ability to translate ideas into a vivid graphic score that he then interpreted on the spot. All this done in such a way that we felt cared for in our vulnerability.

His pictorial score managed to convey geography, pets, our fears and humour, all drawn from our (not particularly articulate) responses. The short session culminated in a performance of our story, captured in music so we could follow it (and chair dance along!)

There is something about music that captures what words and pictures can’t, taking the story from our heads and embedding it deep in our hearts.

I am guessing that psychologists could make a lot of money from the self-reflection and release that Sinclair gently enabled in just 15 minutes. And the delight continues; we wait with anticipation for the recording and copy of the score that is being sent to us, so we can try playing it ourselves.


A Piece of You, Greg Sinclair and AWESOME Festival ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 29 September ·
Junior review by Eddy Greentree, age 8 ·

A Piece of You is a music piece written especially for you.  We went into a room which we thought would have a big screen with the musician, Greg, but it only had a laptop in it.  We used Zoom to connect with Greg and talk to him about myself. 

He asked “How are you today?” and other simple questions, but then they got harder like “What is your worst fear?”.  He didn’t write notes for music, but he drew pictures about my answers to his questions. In the end, the whole page was full of colourful pictures (not very realistic, but colourful). 

Then he played things on his cello about my answers to the questions, using the pictures to guide him. He had a special speaker for his cello to do the recording and we couldn’t hear his voice that well but we could hear the cello. The music was really good because he had to make it up very quickly and played it very quickly. My favourite part was when he played really fast notes. 

We could only see the top of the cello on the laptop screen. I think it would have been better if Greg had been in the same room with us and not on the laptop.  The screen froze a few times and there was a delay in some of our talking.  Greg is going to send the pictures and the recording of his music so we can have a copy. My sister and I plan to make a game with the picture sheet when we get it.

I really enjoyed meeting Greg and having a special piece of music written for me, and he is a really good cello player. Kids who have learned music, and even those who haven’t, will enjoy this talk and music. 

A Piece of You continues until 2 October 2020, session times 12.00pm – 6.00pm.

Pictured top: Greg Sinclair performs ‘A Piece of You’ live with an adult audience. Photo supplied

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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