Our setting is Clifton Gardens, a tiny and very picturesque non-beach on Sydney's North Shore. We are here at the odd hour of 5 AM. And there are at least 5 or 6 hundred others. Everyone's here for a Sydney Festival event. The Dawn Chorus is a series of performances by the Sydney Philharmonic Choir at four of Sydney's beaches at dawn. The scene is strikingly beautiful: the crowd sits facing the water, spread out on the sand in silence; there's a hint of colour on the horizon; the harmonies drift over - they're Latin-ish and compliment the view, the sound of lapping water, barely-awake gulls etc perfectly. All is at peace. And then the dawn breaks... and it's magic... the sky is nothing if not glorious. Everyone's locked into the experience... with the possible exception of the 13 yr old in the superman tee and red pants who preferred to curl up with eyes closed and ipod fixedly excluding him from the goings-on.
Admittedly things could have been better. Not realising how popular the event was, we landed up "only" 20 mins prior to commencement. Which means we couldn't quite latch onto the subtler pieces. We could've taken a creative leaf out of some of the others' books and got into the water to gently backstroke up to where the choir was bunched up. Or row (row, row?) our boat closer to the action. But given that I own neither a boat nor any ability to swim, maybe I'll just show up earlier next year.