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Yesterday was the second last day of school for the end of year and we visited Meridan State College in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. We were providing the school with 3 x 1 hour workshops for Year 8 and 9’s. The school had some other activities on for the day and the groups rotated. We had appx 80 children in each session.

The Space

It was a hot day but we were undercover outside with a big space so there was a breeze and heaps of room to set up the drums and also have a dancing space.

The Incursion

For the workshops we were working on the rhythm, Djole are we taught them a warm up and then a dance which had a couple of funky djole breaks. The group then moved over to the drums and learnt the same rhythm and breaks of the African Djembe. They performed for one another and then swapped over!

All of the groups got into both the drumming and the dancing. The second group in particular was extremely excited which had a mix of year 8’s and 9’s seem to love all of the different aspects of the workshop.

We started each session with a song in Susu as an introduction to West African culture. The song was Sorsornet and we played the parts with djembe and shekere.

Once we got started with the dancing, we included some vocals that we wanted the group to call with their dance moves. The calls got particularly high in volume when we mentioned that the staff room was above us and the teachers might be trying to get some work done! 😉 It’s the little things you mention in workshops that can have such a memorable effect on the workshop as a whole.  The power behind 80 voices and dancing feet is incredibly powerful and always such a joy to witness!

Highlights

There were a couple of students dressed up like Santa’s in the second workshop. Unfortunately they didn’t bring us any presents, but they did stand up the front and were definitely the dancing and drumming leaders. They also busted out some very cool freestyle moves whilst the other half of the group were doing the drumming call and response fast paced section of the workshop.

Call and response with all of the groups with the drumming was so powerful with 45 drums pumping it out with super enthusiastic kids ready to finish school up for the year!

The Finale

Quite a few kids came up to us at the end and explained that they loved the workshop and that their parents were from South Africa and they had been there.

There were lots of teachers from the college passing by our sessions and looked very impressed with their wonderful drumming and dancing students! It’s hard to not smile and tap your foot in these sessions as an audience. We even attracted some outside pedestrian who was drawn to the sound of the pounding of the drums. A lovely old man who stood at the gate and distracted the students from their next lots of instructions from the teachers! hahahahaha! 

36 degrees on the lime green djembe machine thermometer as were were driving out. It was great to start the workshops early on and finish up by 1.30pm. The groups of course were great. They helped us set up and pack down. We met two awesome music teachers that were with us the whole day. Super helpful and accommodating.

Really lovely college, great kids and super involved teachers at Meridan State College. It was an absolute pleasure sharing drum and dance with the school. What a great way to break up for the end of year! 

Setting Up!!

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