Yesterday Peceli and I went up to Melbourne to a singing and dance practice as a small group of Fijian people prepared for their items at the upcoming Pako Festa in Geelong planned for Saturday 23rd February. We met at the Altona Meadows Uniting Church where a Fijian congregation meet every Sunday for worship. This continues the cultural heritage of singing in harmony, remembering the string band songs, the polotu from Lau, and the Methodist hymns. Some of the girls who were born in Australia and haven't seen the villages of their parents and grandparents are learning to perform their traditional dances. Rev Eseta Meneilly was the teacher of the set of dancers and songs.
As I listened to the full voices especially in the singing of the hymns I realized how important it is to keep up the practice of this beautiful style of singing in four voice parts. If the migrant Fijians 'assimilate' into the Australian norm (whatever that may be) the world would be a poorer place. To maintain language, music and dance for Pacific Island people makes for a rich multicultural society here in Australia.
As they sang I sketched two views this modern church - the colour purple dominating and the cross and round window suddenly became the icon for women so that was interesting. On the way to Melbourne the sky was very dark and cloudy but a rainbow was visible for about ten minutes.