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That Noble Passion!

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That Noble Passion!
January 16, 2019 Father 3 comments

Noble Passion of a Forbidden Relation from Dymocks online bookstore. Book2: Can't a Duke Fall in Love? (Historical Romance Book). PaperBack by Robert J.

It had been a bit of a sad time, even here in the wonderful land of Oz. The imminent passing of a very close friend’s terminally ill son, and the world’s loss of some of its greatest musical brilliance had muted the colors a bit for me. Anxiety and depression have always been a part of my life and they will rear their hideous heads when they can. And they had, although understandably so.

So yesterday I was just plugging along being, “okay” when I got a text from my buddy, Philip Peel (met through Facebook- I am SO grateful).

He said, “Hey mate, Phalarope at WTP now! Meet you there lol.”

I asked, “Where?”

“T section pond 5. It’s on Facebook Vic Birders. Photos too.”

John Harris had seen it that morning while he was doing water testing for frog surveys. He said he had only picked up his binoculars for about five minutes and happened to notice the bird. Michael Ramsey had posted the sighting on the Birdline Victoria and Victorian Birders Facebook pages. I was on the computer doing planning for our upcoming travels and wasn’t watching FB. I called Philip and got more of the scoop. He was on his way and in about five minutes, so were we.

Lynn and I raced (at the speed limit, but not a smidge under) up the M1 to the WTP. We arrived at the T-section and could see some other vehicles by pond 5. I saw Philip. I saw our friend Jenny Stephens as well. But there was no Red-necked Phalarope to be seen. We kept looking. In the meantime, Lynn got her lifer Spotless Crake in the Crake Pond and other birders arrived. Still no pharaope, we left that pond and widened our search out into the other ponds of the T-section and Western Lagoons. We searched, but we did not find.

I am a firm believer in “keep checking where the bird was last seen.” So before we gave up, I wanted to return to the area of pond 5. So did Philip and his family. As Lynn was locking the gate behind us, I saw Philip by Pond 7. He was with other birders and he was looking intently. Any experienced birder can “bird birders.” That is, to know what is going on at a distance by body language and actions. I knew they were looking at the bird. Then Philip waved to us. Bingo. I was incredibly grateful.

We drove over to the pond and were soon on the lovely little bird swimming low in the water amongst the other waders. Dwarfed by the stilts, it was swimming erratically to and fro as phalaropes tend to do. Once spotted, it really stood out. It is very possible that Philip and I had seen it earlier, farther away in this pond, but it had flown before we could get the scope on it. That is not important, we did see it in the end and I am very grateful. The light was horrible for photography, but that is also not important. It is about the bird and the friends. Here are some recording shots...
Red-necked Phalarope, Pond 7 in the T Section of the Western Treatment Plant.




Dwarfed amongst the Stilts (Banded and Black-winged)

We saw other friends there, and hugs were shared as we all shared this special bird. Just before leaving we did a Lifer Selfie with our friend Michael Gooch. I wish we had thought of it whilst Philip and Jenn were still there. It would have been great to have them in it as well. These are friends that I have come to know through birding and through our Facebook connection. I am so grateful. I have heard this morning that more friends saw the phalarope after we left and quite a few went back this morning and had excellent views in Pond 5. 

   
Michael Gooch, Lynn and me in the Red-necked Phalarope Lifer Selfie (and yes, Lynn and I had Lifer Pie in the form of ice cream treats on a stick later that evening).
In closing I am going to quote our friend Jenn Stephens who we met for the first time on the pelagic out of Port Fairy. In a Facebook comment yesterday she said:

“Isn't birding a noble passion? It was great to sail the mighty seas one week ago with yourself and Lynn, only to bump into you both today. I love the fact we can all share so selflessly in this interest we all have a common belief in. Thanks all for your kindness, company and generous spirit. I 'flew' home smiling all the way.”

So did we, Jenn. So did we. I am smiling right now and I am so very grateful for that bird, and for you and the other dear friends that birds have brought us. Noble Passion indeed!


Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.

Your noble passion is your true life's mission. If you find your true passion and devote yourself to it, you'll find harmony and joy in your life. You'll be achieving.

More by N/Y Funk Shot!!

That Noble Passion!

Editor's Note: This article originally ran in Volume 23, No. 6 of Inside Indiana Magazine. For magazine subscription information please visit magazine.insideiu.com

Tim Noble paced through the empty band room, preparing for his performance. Even just warming up, his massive voice filled the spaces in the small room occupied by an old drum set, empty instrument cases and a hanger of vests.

Noble, a large man with a laugh as piercing and hearty as his baritone voice, has performed all over the world. Getting his current opportunity, he said, meant more to him than performing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, one of the world’s most renowned opera houses in which he has performed nearly 100 times.

As a result of this gig, Indiana natives recognize him in restaurants. For this performance, he doesn’t play a character, and he sings the lyrics not of Verdi or Puccini, but those of Francis Scott Key.

“Oh, say, can you see, by—“

He paused, dissatisfied with the last note.

“BY,” he bellowed, then mumbling, “there we go.”

Noble, clad in a red-and-white checkered collared shirt, a brown vest and black slacks (he refuses to wear jeans when he sings), needs just four minutes to prepare.

Twenty-six minutes before the IU basketball team was set to take on the Evansville Purple Aces on Nov. 26, Noble strutted his way onto Branch McCracken Court at Assembly Hall, which was soon to be his stage.

*****

Though Assembly Hall has not always been Noble’s stage, it has been a constant in his life. Growing up in Peru, Ind., he would watch games on television, and like any Indiana-raised child, he played basketball whenever he could.

When he wasn’t dreaming of playing basketball as a child, he would think about the men singing the National Anthem before the games. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, longtime Jacobs School of Music professor Ralph Appelman sang the anthem, and a young Noble imagined himself in Appelman’s shoes.

“I saw that,” Noble said, “and I thought, ‘Boy, I’d really love to be able to do that someday.’”

Nearly half a century later, after living out of a suitcase and playing characters for decades, Noble finally found his chance to perform as himself in a dream role.

By the late 1990s, Noble had reached a point in his life where he was looking to settle down, and was fortunate enough to be offered a position teaching at IU. During the past 15 years, Noble has worked primarily one-on-one with graduate opera students looking to find success similar to his. Noble has performed in more than 50 leading roles in opera houses from San Francisco to Venice, including four world premiers. Prior to the Big Red Basketball Band backing him up, he sang with the London Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and others.

At the Metropolitan Opera alone, Noble performed at least 99 times between 1988 and 1997, singing in “La Bohème,” “Don Giovanni,” “Rigoletto” and other legendary operas, according to the Metropolitan’s archives.

After he returned to IU, Noble received the opportunity to take over as the anthem singer. Noble started in 2001 and has sung the majority of Big Ten games since then as well as numerous nonconference games.

His one small disappointment about taking the role of singing the anthem was that it was after his acquaintance Bob Knight was no longer the head coach of the team.

*****

Noble met Knight not at Assembly Hall or even on IU’s campus but at the Third Base Lounge on South Walnut Street in Bloomington. Knight often went to lunch there with his coaching staff, and one afternoon Noble was seated nearby.

As Knight spoke loudly to his staff, Noble realized that he and Knight had more in common than he expected. Knight, a military history enthusiast, was telling his staff about the Battle of Little Bighorn, and Noble is also a student of military and Native American history.

Noble noticed that a few of Knight’s facts were wrong about the 1876 battle, so he made his way to Knight’s table and got Knight’s attention. He firmly told Knight that his facts about the tactics and details of the battle were wrong.

Knight retorted asking Noble to tell him of the inaccuracies. Noble invited him over to his table, and after a few minutes, Knight acquiesced, agreeing that he was mistaken on some points. The conversation spawned a casual friendship that resulted in Noble — or “Caruso,” as Knight called him — being invited to some practices and lunch with the coach. It also led to the two of them playing golf a handful of times.

On one such occasion, Knight and Noble were out at the IU Golf Course, and Noble again tried to offer advice to Knight. Many of Knight’s shots were slicing, and Noble was convinced it was because Knight was leaning too far back, opening up the club face and spinning the ball away from him. Noble pointed it out to Knight, and Knight again was quick to retort.

“Listen, Caruso,” Knight said. “I don’t f--- with your singing voice, you don’t f--- with my golf swing.”

Noble laughed it off, knowing that he would beat Knight and collect the small sum they bet on the round at the end of the day.

The two haven’t stayed in contact much since Knight’s exit from the school in 2000, and the fact that Noble was never able to sing the anthem during Knight’s time as head coach is a bit of a disappointment.

“I never did it when Knight was here, which is kind of a pity,” Noble said, “because I would have loved to have been able to throw a chair across the room or something.”

*****

Before arriving at Assembly Hall and before he had his moment alone in the empty band room prior to IU’s game against Evansville, he was sure to have his pregame Diet Coke.

“And when I get back to my seat, I get my popcorn,” he said with a smile and a wink just after arriving at Assembly Hall.

He arrived on the court, daughter Callie at his side, about 40 minutes prior to the 8 p.m. tipoff to greet Woodley and spend time around the team and the court.

“Ready for another year of this craziness?” he asked an usher.

At 7:30, Noble checked his watch and headed to the next phase of his pregame routine, which was his moment alone in the empty band room. As the team warmed up with layup drills, Noble did what he calls “vocal layups,” prepping his voice for the main event. When he came back out, he made his way around the court, greeting old friends and making new ones.

As he stood alongside the court, person after person stopped to shake his hand. He knew some of them, but many were IU fans who recognize him. Two young men with courtside seats turned and immediately knew who he was.

“You singing tonight?” one of them, wearing a blue sweater, asked.

“What are you talking about?” his friend, sporting a white IU shirt and red hat said before Noble had a chance to respond. “He’s always singing.”

About 13 minutes before tipoff, Noble said goodbye to Callie and walked to a spot under the basket as the band played “Sweet Caroline.” Microphone in hand, he awaited his cue to step onto the stage.

*****

Fans recognize him both inside and outside Assembly Hall, sometimes by name but mostly as simply the guy who sings the anthem.

At a Wendy’s in Bedford, Ind., he stopped for a Coke and heard a woman whisper, “That’s the National Anthem guy.”

At a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Ireland, Ind., called The Chicken Place, his server recognized him as “a younger version of the guy on TV that does the National Anthem.” Noble laughed, not knowing whether to take it as a compliment or an insult.

“It’s funny,” Noble said. “Nobody knows my name, but they know I’m the National Anthem guy.”

The moniker fits even better than his server in Ireland or the customer in Bedford knows. Noble’s version of the Star-Spangled Banner is not confined to Assembly Hall. He has sung the anthem all over the country at various levels and at various sporting events.

Decades ago, he sang the anthem on national television with the University of Alabama band during legendary football coach Bear Bryant’s tenure. Just last year, Noble sang at Bankers Life Arena before a Pacers game. When his daughter Callie was the head volleyball coach at Tulane University, he also sang the anthem there.

Noble has sung so many times that he compared it to brushing his teeth, but some performances stand out to him and his wife Donna. One of his first appearances came in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and the intensity of the performance and the moment consumed the crowd at Assembly Hall, which Donna still remembers clearly.

Each of the past two seasons has produced memorable performances of the anthem for Noble. On Dec. 10, 2011, Noble arrived at Assembly Hall with Donna and his son to the most intense atmosphere that he could remember. Top-ranked Kentucky was visiting, and the building was alive.

“It was electric,” Noble said. “I could have forgotten every word and fallen on my face, and they’d have still cheered for me.”

Though he has not forgotten the words to the song after all these years, one performance during the 2012-13 season nearly fell apart. Prior to IU’s matchup with Coppin State on Dec. 1, 2012, Noble walked onto Branch McCracken Court as usual. As he began singing, however, his microphone went out.

Rather than stop and ask for a new microphone, Noble took the microphone away from his mouth and sang louder.

David Woodley, the director of the Big Red Basketball Band that plays at games and provides backing music for Noble, immediately reacted. He saw Noble put the microphone to his side and turned to his band, instructing it to play as quietly as possible.

Noble, usually very physically active during his performances, emphatically gestured to the crowd to sing along. The student section needed no such encouragement, as the front few rows often sing with him regardless of the microphone.

While the situation itself was far from typical, the enthusiasm of Noble’s performance is a staple. Woodley, who has been at IU the whole time Noble has, said he directs the band differently for Noble, as he knows the anthem will usually be a bit faster and more energetic.

After being paid to sing his whole life, Noble isn’t too concerned with money when it comes to singing the anthem. He has just two requirements whenever and wherever he sings at sporting events.

All he needs is a Diet Coke and a bag of popcorn.

“Give me a Diet Coke, and I’ll show up anywhere,” Noble said with a laugh.

*****

Even though Noble is singing in front of an audience in a famed venue, he said singing the anthem is completely unlike an opera performance. In many ways, it is more genuine, he says.

On stage, he often plays villains such as Iago in Verdi’s “Otello,” his favorite opera. He always liked playing villains but still can’t articulate why exactly.

He portrays these characters to an audience that sits in the dark, one that he can’t even see. At Assembly Hall, he can clearly see his audience, and what the audience sees is him, not Iago or any other characters.

“I like to pride myself in trying to find the truth in singing and music and art,” Noble said. “I think that’s what’s really important, and so when I’m down there doing it and look like I’m having a ball and really raising Cain with my voice, that’s exactly what I’m thinking about.”

*****

With his vocal layups finished and his Diet Coke long gone, Noble walked out from his spot under the basket with microphone in hand, standing just outside the paint near the south basket.

The 16,255 at Assembly Hall stood, including Donna from her seat about 23 rows back in section K. Silence filled the arena, awaiting Noble’s boisterous baritone voice.

Woodley and Noble locked eyes as they have done dozens of times. Woodley counted two beats for Noble, and Noble launched into the opening line of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with exactly nine minutes on the scoreboard’s clock counting down to tipoff.

He hit the note accompanying the lyric “by” that he wasn’t happy with before the performance and went on to hit the rest of them. He took a step back on his right as he sang, “and the rockets’…” and thrust himself forward on his left foot, lifting himself up on his toes with each of the words “red” and “glare.” As he finished the stanza, singing of bombs bursting in air, he dramatically straightened his back leg and his back while glancing quickly to his right as if he were back on stage trying to accentuate a pivotal lyric.

These movements, he said afterward, are done mostly unconsciously, as he is focusing not on his body, but on the powerful and patriotic lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As he has always done, Noble tries to make his performances not about the singing of Noble but the words of Verdi, Puccini or Key, in this case.

Noble did the same shifting of his weight back on his right foot as he came to the final stanza, launching himself forward and up on his toes again for “of the free.” He rocked back again, preparing to finish with fervor.

Cheers were already starting as he began the final line, and he lifted himself one last time on his left leg as he held the last word, “brave,” for a full three seconds before he dropped back down to end the note.

The entire performance lasted just 69 seconds, shorter than most others make it. Noble smiled as he waved to the crowd before giving Woodley a hearty handshake and slap on the back.

The man with an affinity for playing villains was as amiable as could be as he shook hands on the way to his seat next to Donna. Ten minutes post-anthem, Noble was off the stage once again, watching IU basketball as he had all his life, box of popcorn in hand.

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That Noble Passion!

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Noble Night of Passion

That Noble Passion!

Kimberley became a captive in the nest of the pirates and over their boat. And after saving her from death, they decided that she was very beautiful and would bring them a lot of money if they would sell her as a slave. Kimberley regretted leaving the duke because she found out that she was really in love with him. But she had no way to escape and she found herself enclosed in a small rusty room. The duke was dying out of anxiety and nightmares started to haunt him until he was no more able to sleep. Duke Chester tried many days to forget about his nightmares but Kimberley's photo was carved in his mind and he found himself bound to her. He was thinking of her every night and one day he woke up and decided to put an end to his agony and suffering by looking for Kimberley. His marriage was supposed to occur few days later but he postponed everything and went to look for his beloved. Meanwhile, Kimberly found a small wounded boy in the same room she was imprisoned inside and she offered him help and took care of his wound, she reminded him of his mother and he related for her his sad story and told her he was abducted by pirates as well few years ago and was obliged to wear their clothes and be like them but he decided to help Kimberley escape. While Duke Chester rode his carriage and drove it on his own to the village where he saw slaves being sold, among those slaves was a small strong boy. The duke felt for that small boy and wanted to buy him just in order to free him from slavery. The boy was very grateful and wanted to work for the duke but the latter refused saying that he wanted him to live freely. But the boy insisted saying that he would be sold again if they would catch him and he related for the duke the story of the pirates who would come very soon for a new slave deal. At that moment, an idea crossed the duke's mind who decided that the only way to reach Kimberley was to disguise as a slave and get to the pirates. But during his life as a slave, the duke understood the suffering and hardships the slaves were living and he made a promise to free all the slaves in his proprieties when he would find Kimberley. Lady Persley, the bride to be was very desperate and tried to commit suicide drinking poison but she failed to and her father wanted to take her revenge and sent his men to bring the duke. Meanwhile Kimberley managed to escape with the young boy and she met the duke again. The latter decided to fight against slavery and rebel against it until it would be abolished but the father of his bride to be put him in prison and sent him for execution but at last Kimberley gathered all the slaves and villagers to save him.

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That Noble Passion!
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