Let me tell you about the Community Project, one of the seven different programs within the Cultural Education Program (CEP) at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). In this program athletes will have the opportunity to interact with not only the athletes, but other members of the community. Participating in things such as Community Drumming or Circus Activities will ensure a fun experience for all.
During the Young Ambassador Seminar we had the opportunity to test drive the different CEP activities. Within the Community Project we participated in the Community Drumming. Follow with me as I take you through the experience...
Imagine sitting on the floor in a room, surrounded by people you may have known prior to today, some you have met for the first time, and some you have yet to meet. Splitting the room in half is an open pathway, yearning to be utilized in some way. A moderator talks to you about the Community Project and why it is important. What is community? How can you have more interaction within your community? What does it mean to be a part of it all? As the moderator wraps up, in the faint distance you hear a beat...a drum...a sound...
You turn your head to the side of the room and you see a small group of people with instruments fill the open pathway in the middle of the room. Within this group there are drums, there are bells, there are instruments you may have never seen before. All of these instruments come together and play in harmony at the direction of one man with a whistle. This band is a Samba band. This band is what you will be at the end of this project.
Let's talk about the instruments within the band and how you play them (I apologize I do not remember the exact names of the instruments):
1. Bim and Bom Drums - you play them to two beats: Bim, Bom, Bim, Bom
2. Other Drum - you play them to the beats of: "Have you got a dog, great, big, dog..."
3. Agogo Bells - you play these to the beats of: "1, 2, 3, Ba-na-nas..."
4. Tambourims - these go along with: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Ba-na-nas..."
5. Shakers (Maracas and Tamborines) - played to the beats of: 1, and 2, and 3, and 4...
6. Cow Bells (I got a fever!) - played to the beat of: Dance, Dance, I like, to Dance...
Of course, it is difficult to explain this via text, but bringing all of these sounds together will make a Samba band. The conductor used his hands and a whistle to direct the band and add in breaks, variations, changes in speed, etc. By the end of the session you will be making beautiful music together and I promise that "1, 2, 3, Ba-na-nas" will stick in your head until the end of time (If not then prepared to be tapping your foot to, "Dance, Dance, I like, to Dance...").
What I like about the Community Drumming project is the underlying message. What did I take away from it? Well, here we are at a seminar that has people from around the world, over 30 countries. Each one of us has a different culture, a different story - we come together as pieces of a puzzle, not one of us is alike. We are all at this seminar and we are working together for a common goal, a common purpose: the Youth Olympic Games. Together, no matter how different we are, we will be successful in achieving one goal. This concept is exactly the same as a Samba band: six instruments, one sound.
A Samba Band takes different sounds made from different instruments and blends them to make one beautiful product. No matter where you live or what you do, you will always encounter others that are different from you. Even within your own cultures, you will find differences, and yet you live in harmony. Whether you are an athlete on a field or court, a student in a classroom, a professional in an office, or a member of a family - you play an important role in the final sound. That team, family, company, or class is not complete without you - make your sound heard.
Today we have billions of lives and millions of cultures on planet earth - together we make one world.
So I challenge you today - play your part, but don't forget about the band: one sound.