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Carnival Atmosphere for Samba Presentation

Monday, 27 January 2014

Seventy Year 2 pupils from Beaumont Primary School and Eccleston St Mary’s Primary School took over the Arts Centre today for a Samba Presentation. They enjoyed a short concert, featuring percussion music from around the world, followed by an interactive music-making session.

The Senior Percussion Ensemble, led by Mr Forgrieve, began the morning by showing off all the different kinds of percussion instruments that are available. They opened with a group performance of African drumming, which introduced the children to the type of music that can be produced from rhythm alone and the different sounds that the drums are capable of making. It was clear that the visiting pupils were enjoying themselves as they tapped their feet and bounced in their chairs in time with the beat.

This was followed by solos and duets on the glockenspiel and xylophone, including a tune which was intended to announce the arrival of a queen! The children were asked to use their imagination to picture the scene as the music played. The Ensemble even performed a piece called ‘Samba’ to get everyone in the carnival spirit!

The concert ended with an unusual instrument: Boomwhackers. These large plastic tubes are each tuned to one note and are played by tapping them against the musician’s leg. In order to create a tune using the Boomwhackers, the Ensemble must keep in time and work together - both of which are key principles of Samba music.

By this time, the children were itching to begin the interactive portion of the morning and have a go at playing some percussion music themselves.

The Samba instruments were distributed, with much excitement from the visitors! One row of children played Agogo bells; several rows were given ganzas, a type of shaker; and two rows were given three types of drum between them: large surdos, medium-sized snare drums, and tiny tamborims. Mr Forgrieve gave each group a different rhythm to play on their instrument, with a word to help them remember, such as “caterpillar” for the shakers. The Senior Percussion Ensemble took the lead to give the children an example to watch, and the playing started with the shrill sound of a whistle. Despite the children’s young age, they picked up the rhythms and had a great time playing Samba – and making a lot of noise with their drums, shakers and bells!

At the end of the session when the children chorused a loud ‘thank you’, there was no doubt that they had a wonderful time throughout the morning.

The event was organised by Mr Bleasdale as part of the school’s Community Music projects. The Senior Percussion Ensemble, which is made up of Boys’ Division pupils from Years 11 and 12, regularly travels out to local primary schools in the community to give a similar Samba Presentation to the whole school. This is the second year that pupils have been invited to visit Bolton School to learn more about percussion and Samba music.

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The children had a great time playing the percussion instruments

The children had a great time playing the percussion instruments

The Senior Percussion Ensemble

The Senior Percussion Ensemble's performances captivated the primary school pupils

A whistle signals the start and end of any Samba piece

A whistle signals the start and end of any Samba piece