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Concert to feature tribal sounds

Pounding on the drums and having a good time are OMS students Jade Davis, Tristan Measel, Dan DeFrain and James Davis. (click for larger version)
January 11, 2012 - Got a bad case of the post-holiday season blues?

Not looking forward to two or three months of cold weather, snow and gray skies?

(Okay, maybe not now, but it's coming.)

Then head over to the Oxford High School Fine Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 12 and enjoy some joyful music from the more tropical regions of the globe.

Talented students from Oxford Middle School's three World Music Drumming Ensembles will be performing a concert beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

"This is music from the African and Caribbean traditions," said OMS music teacher Jan Flynn, who established the program back in 2002-03 as a way to expand the general music curriculum. "We are doing drums from Ghana western Ghana specifically. And the marimbas are from the Shona tribe from Zimbabwe."

The Shona tribe is Zimbabwe's largest indigenous group with a population of around 9 million.

All three OMS groups will be performing including the Wildcat Drummers (sixth-grade beginners), Drumfire Drummers (seventh-grade intermediate) and Thunder Drummers (eighth-grade advanced).

"The students have been studying for a semester and we've been doing after-school (practices) once a week for an hour," Flynn said.

Most of the students play cylindrical-shaped tubano drums ranging in diameter from 10 to 14 inches.

The program also has a Ngoma drum that's 48 inches high with a 16-inch diameter and a Djembe drum, which is goblet-shaped and used for solo work. The Ngoma drum was donated by the Rotary Club of Oxford.

In addition to drums, the students play marimbas a type of xylophone from southern Africa and Central America along with various ethnic bells, rattles and shakers, each with its own exotic name and unique sound.

"World music is so much fun," Flynn noted.

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