What a contrast of musical culture at the 2017 Lights on the Hill Trucking Memorial held at Gatton.
Leading with country singers, followed by not sure if it was Maori/Samoan native tongue singing of ‘How Great Thou Art’, then out on the lawn the Hake, after the wreath laying Bagpipers and concluding with 20 or more prime mover truck horns. What a blast!
A brightly dressed country lady was heard to say, “there was a lot of love there today”. As the crowds withdrew from the Memorial at its conclusion.
So many people full of character are a part of this emotionally moving event. One of the three people who were holding the doves for release after the wreath laying, noticed the bird was frightened by the photographer’s clicking camera, the dove releaser held it close to his heart, and spoke reassuring to it saying, “you have a safe journey home”, the bird responding to the warmth in the tone of his voice and peaceful presence, looked up at him engaging with him at that moment. Afterward the trainer upon hearing this, confirmed the story, by testifying that when the birds are being photographed the trainer will talk to them so that they are looking at the camera.
The crowds were so packed in this year that the pipers were prevented from marching in front of the truck line-up. Piper Brian May an Irish born character, wears the Order of Saint Patrick badge on his hat and claims to have the talent of playing the Irish marching pipes, which uses the elbow windbag (apologies for incorrect terminology).
Piper Joe McGhee a Scottish born piper wears his family crest badge on his hat, written in Latin is ‘with a strong hand we serve’, pictured is a fist holding a dagger. Joes silk flag displays the ‘Aussie-Scot’, the sky blue and white cross fills the map of Australia. When exchanging business cards, with surprise at the remarkable photograph on the card, Joe reveals that following him is the last of the F1-11’s when they were decommissioned.
Walking through the receding crowd as I carry my gear back to the car, I approach a lady giving her review of the birds’ performance, “they circled twice and then flew in that direction”, I smiled and replied, “yeah, that direction is towards home”. Happy that the birds were confident and successful with their job, I too headed for home.
5 jobs in 2 days, is a big challenge.
3 jobs in 1 afternoon is ambitious.
3 days’ notice for a 3rd booking, oh Lord help me! Need more baskets, need more helpers. Need more time…
How did I do it? With help.
Picture this, I finally locate some baskets, pick them, and they’re probably over 20 years old… You can imagine what they looked like. Drop into Spotlight – buy paint, ribbon, flowers, organza. …. I’ve got this…
Late Friday afternoon, Dad’s bought in on the action to create something new from something old 20 years old, Love your work Dad, thanks … We strip the old décor, so I can clean and spray paint before leaving for my Friday evening ladies group.
Did I mention I need to train a new releaser to do the release the next day? Can’t be in 3 places over 100ks apart at the same time. I load the car with practice birds and prop gear, and take the whole lot to my ladies group where my new handler was nervously waiting, she’s a quick learner, she’s got this.
Saturday morning – the birds are exercised, fed and bathed. The newly painted basket is dressed quickly, before being loaded with birds and equipment for 2 jobs to be delivered to 2 of our dove releasers.
Jane is taking the newly renovated heart shaped dove release basket, with her teenage son and his photographer friend out to Coombabah Church at Mt Beppo, the surprise dove release for the Bride and Groom Gemma & Daniel. Meanwhile Jane’s son is developing a friendship with the birds, talking to them and reassuring them, wishing he could have the opportunity to hold them.
Jane and the boys remain out of sight and inconspicuous as the wedding ceremony proceeds. Upon announcement of Mr & Mrs, the Bride and Groom, and their guests, exit the chapel for photos. It’s not long until they realize the presence of the birds set up in their beautiful release cage. Gemma & Daniel were so awed and excited to hold the birds and release them. You can see it in their faces as young photographer Connagh has captured in his photoshoot.
While the doves begin their flight home, Jane and boys head back with Zak still wondering if he’ll get the chance to hold them. That’s another story, and so is the question they wanted answered: When will the birds they released arrive home?
Here is the testimonial, after sending Connagh’s image via email –
Thank you so much Fiona!!
That is a gorgeous photo! Please thank the photographer friend for us as well.
Yes, I did get to see the release and I am so happy I got it for them. They were completely surprised and are still talking about it.
Thank you once again for arranging it as I know it was late notice.
I will pass this photo on.
Tea to Remember SANDS fundraiser
Pomodoros on Obi Obi – Maleny
Belinda Kelly-Mandalis organised an event to help support several families whom had experienced
still birth. One had come as far as Roma and others experience had happened long ago, but were
searching for something to remember their child. Many local businesses donated generously
towards the auction to raise funds for SANDS.
Angel Bears were embroidered with names of babies who have recently passed and ones that would
even be 12yrs old by now. Some were even hat minding during the silent auction bidding.
Sparkles on the sweet treats from the gloriously gorgeous high tea, were spread on and over babies
and small children.
Bubbles and birds on the viewing deck were loved by the small children – Ella, Ruby, Bodhi and
Waiting till the end of the festivities, outside on the lawn, close family stayed with the mothers who
were part of the White Dove Release.
When the birds were held in hands. The music opened the ceremony. Paul Cardall’s emotion filled
soundtrack of Gracie’s Theme stirred emotions and resonated with the moment. In the change of
tempo, the dove reading was announced, with the releasing of the doves following. The happy faces
lifted up watching the birds fly up into the sky. With the relief of the heaviness, came tears and hugs
and a white keepsake feather.
The White Wings Difference
When asked, “What makes your white dove release business different to the others?” I’m often lost
for words. This could be due to my newness to the industry or how the question is posed.
It’s not until I have begun building relationships with other dove release businesses, and having
conversations with the owners, of their failures and successes. That I have begun to realise and
appreciate my position in this industry. As this service industry is a small boutique market, one
needs to delve into it to learn what makes them unique.
The six points of difference that I’ve written about are –
- Written and Spoken Word
- Ambitious Creativity
The first focus is on the stock. I know that sounds like a boring subject, but this is not
inanimate material that sits on shelves or website shopping windows. That can be left unattended
for months and years. Our stock is living, breathing, performing. Some Dove Release businesses
have birds (stock) that are developed with bloodline characteristics of being small enough in size to
handle easily, and have enough stamina to fly short distances that are easily drivable for the dove
releaser. Our initial first couple of birds (stock) were bred from pure white racing pigeon
bloodlines. With new younger pure white racing pigeon bloodlines added later, in our breeding
program. When trained for it these birds are capable of, covering much greater distances, and have
the speed and strength to outfly and out manoeuvre attacks from falcons, hawks and other raptors.
This means more of our birds make it home safely.
The second focus is on adding the written and spoken word with the White Dove Release
Ceremony. A Dove poem reading is suggested to clients to inform guests of the reason, symbolism
and relevance the doves have to the occasion or event. Some Dove Release businesses will insist on
the releaser using their standard poem and being the speaker. This is professional, but some clients
desire to have a degree of choice in this matter. We are flexible and creative with the reading, we
encourage people to make it personal and offer help with the creative writing, by offering an E-
Book of relevant poems to help them on their way in expressing their sentiments.
The third focus is on Music for the White Dove Release. I’m not aware of any dove releasers in
Australia incorporating music into the White Dove Release Ceremony. We suggest choosing a
soundtrack to compliment the occasion, as it makes the release a little bit more grandeur. I will give
a couple of stories to bear witness to the impact that adding music to a White Dove Release has.
Grace Lutheran College Caboolture Campus provide graduating students and families a finale out
on the college oval (sports field). We display 2 white release doves in an ornamental cage, with 10
white release doves in a release display case, decorated with the school colours. A PA system is set
up for the pastoral leader to share the symbolic dove and college release reading, with their own
selected soundtrack of Que Sera by Justice Crew cued on the mobile speaker. The school captains
hold a white release dove each as the poem is read out to the students, with a third student
available to release the flock of 10 birds. When all goes according to plan, at the end of the speech,
the music begins and the school captains release their birds, these 2 doves act as the leaders circling
quickly, then the flock of 10 birds are released, the flock begin rising up as a group and collect the
leaders in the air, the students and families are surprised, awed and amazed at the event taking
place in the sky before them which also reflects the relationships that have been formed amongst
the students at the college and into their bright unknown futures.
The second story I’ll share, though there are many more. is a grown son mourning his late Mother.
This young man was very brave though vulnerable to the emotional loss of his Mother passing
away. Holding his white release dove as his mother was driven by in the hearse he and his Aunty
released their doves, while Celine Dion sang “Fly” on the PA speaker. We all stood there on the
grass looking upward watching the white release doves circling higher and higher while Celine Dion
sang her song for us. This experience brings peace and healing, which leads the mourner onwards
with hope for the future.
The music feature of a White Dove Release can come together with the various persons involved in
the event. Clients, families, official persons and our business can provide, soundtracks, mobile
devices and or speakers to air the music at an event.
The fourth focus is décor for the ornamental white dove display. This part of the service varies
greatly amongst the service providers in the industry. Varying from no decorating, to the
decorations taking centre stage for visual attention, and the amount of space it takes up. We
observe the local culture and the fashion trend at the time. Our styling leans more towards
conservative, and through our consultation process we offer to match your colour theme.
The fifth focus is Fun for a celebratory White Dove Release. We can provide a small battery
powered bubble machine. Bubbles are fun for children and keeps them entertained. Bubbles have
the power to make grown adults smile if they are not already at a happy event. The bubbles give a
lightness and magical look and feel to a wedding ceremony as the bride walks down the aisle.
The sixth focus is ambitious creativity in the delivery of our White Dove Release. We
appreciate clients’ unique ideas and are willing to invest the time and effort to accomplish those
- Such as the doves flying out of a limousine for a grand red carpet entrance.
- Or a flock release from behind the bridal couple, with the doves flying around the couple and over the guests.
- Another idea was a studio photoshoot for a fundraising promotion campaign.
- A Dove release on a boat off the coast for the scattering of ashes.
Sharing this beautiful story from the British Isles
Lambert’s White Dove Release – Brighton
December 8 at 8:45am ·
Last month something truly beautiful happened at a funeral we attended with four of our doves.
It was a small group of just four people (hence the four doves) and the funeral director had explained to us that the daughter, only child of the deceased, was very distressed at the thought of letting go of her mother and had found organizing the burial very difficult. He wanted to make sure everything went very smoothly for her and thought a dove release may help her to settle with her mother’s onward journey.
The day arrived, sunny and crisp, a beautiful autumn day. At the Natural Burial Ground, surrounded by woodland and gorgeous views of the South Downs, we set up our flower-decked basket and waited patiently graveside for the chapel service to complete. Finally, we saw the doors open and at the very point a beautiful willow casket was carried gently outside, the heavens opened. The grass-covered footpath leading to the grave was no more than 50 yards but by the time bearers and family arrived everyone was soaked to the skin, drenched by icy rain and hailstones! As the coffin was lowered and the minister said the final blessing, droplets of water dripped from his nose and his carefully written notes were turned into a sodden, ink-splattered mess. Then as suddenly as it had started the deluge stopped and our sorry little gathering was instantly bathed in bright sunlight. Relieved, we carefully explained the process of the release and handed out our much-loved birds, feeling the mood change as we did so. As the final family member gently cradled his dove and we turned to move away, a gasp went up: there close to our right the most magnificent rainbow draped the trees.
The family said their goodbyes and raised their arms and the doves flew, up and away – all four of them directly toward the rainbow. At that point I think everyone’s eye’s became as wet as the rest of their bodies – it was perfect.
For the family, tears flowed amidst awestruck smiles and the message was silently received. ‘Mum’ had said her beautiful goodbye, all was well, she would watch over them forever.
For us the message was a reminder that the most memorable and freeing gifts often come after great heartache. As we keep focused and do what has to be done, blessings will arrive quite unexpectedly.
NB: while we guarantee our doves will make your event magical and memorable, we can’t promise the rainbow will turn up on cue! 😉
Viv Lambert is the owner of Lambert’s Dove Release and has given permission for sharing her story.
Limousine Dove Release Photo Shoot
With clients and wedding industry professionals requesting a unique service, prompted by the comedy movie ’21 Jump Street’, I jumped at the chance of creating and providing such a unique service.
Bridal Car Entrance
Formal Party Entrance
A number of classic car hire companies from the Sunshine Coast showed interest in the project and business idea.
All very different in style, model, and design. We needed something that would be suitable for a Grade 12 formal party entrance and a bridal car entrance.
On the day we were generously provided with the French rebuilt 1952 Citroen, named ‘The Princess’, supplied by Chauffeured Elegance. A unique feature about this vehicle is the door folds back flat against the body of the vehicle, which gave maximum viewing exposure of the birds.
But before we could do the release, the birds needed new training methods, and equipment purchased. After 3 failed attempts at buying carriers suitable for releasing from inside a vehicle, we sourced a single training crate that could hold up to 7 doves, (the white plastic on the left in the image below) and commenced training from the owners sedan.
This proved comical, as the birds have been only transported while inside a vehicle. Patience was exercised as the birds learned to trust, and realise their freedom with the open car door.
The day before the photo shoot, some new airline approved soft pet carriers arrived, and were trialled. These can be seen in the image above (on the right), but proved unsuitable to house the birds for a length of time.
It rained all day at the location, but everyone involved was faithful in their commitment to the project, and the photo shoot went ahead minus the video equipment.
We imported 2 strong wicker pet carriers through Willow Souvenir, who made them attractive by painting them silver. Fitting them out with a floor liner to keep vehicles clean, a raised floor to keep birds clean and absorbent filling for hygiene purposes. These arrived well after the photo shoot date.
Many thanks go to Valentina Pintus (Makeup Artist),
the Grade 12 families,
Bride Model supplied by Luke Ballard (Photographer), and the photographer assistants.
Sue from Simply Formal with last minute fittings.
Eric & Narelle Greentree – Chauffeured Elegance.
BEST WESTERN PLUS Oceanside Kawana Hotel for the use of a private room for model prep.
Newest Release Baskets
Below is a video filmed on my digital camera, trialing the basket at home.