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Walnut Hill 2017

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Convocation at SUNY Brockport

Before the first day of school starts at the State University of New York at Brockport, Convocation is held at the Serc for the incoming freshman.  This building is only a few years old and provides a perfect space for large gatherings.
For a very long time, members of Sankofa (an African Drumming and Dance Ensemble) have performed at this event.  I am not a member of Sankofa, but have been drumming with Khalid Saleem for quite awhile, and this is the third time I have participated.  A few members of our Saturday drumming group are official members and the rest of us are able to join them.
Before going there, the drummers and dancers met at the Strasser Studio around noon to get organized.  There was a brief rehearsal for about an hour as it's the first time this group had worked together this semester.  The kids were up and so talented.

video

It  was good to see Khalid, who spent the summer working in North Carolina.
We practiced with the shakers and bells for a short time and sounded great.
By 1:15 we were over at the SERC with all our gear.
Here's the drill.  After all the students are seated, we lead a processional into the space, followed by the college faculty and administration in full regalia.  It is an amazing experience as we sound like an explosion entering the room.  (I'm sure the new president was very impressed).

After we practiced our entrance the stage was set up and we had a run through with the dancers.


 While we were waiting in the dressing room, the dancers practiced once again.
video

We still had an hour and a half to go before things got started.

Khalid (on the right) is the musical director for Sankofa, and Wayne has been part of the group for years (he also plays with us on Saturdays).
These are the dancers who performed today.  On the far right is Oli, the new choreographer for Sankofa...who is going to be doing a fabulous job.  I was so impressed with her today.  Have known her for several years as she was a graduate student here in the Dance Department.
What amazes me, is the fact that there are no rehearsals before today.  These dancers are aware of what is expected, and put it together in a very short period of time.  They have all done this before and the drummers already knew the appropriate patterns.
It's just a matter of running through it a couple of times to get the kinks out.

This is the group of people I drum with.  An offshoot group was started called Umoja and we drum for various activities (cancer walks/runs, half-marathons, farm markets, summer serenades, special events, school and hospital visits etc.).  Later in September we will be drumming for a full marathon in Rochester and will probably finish the season with another cancer walk/run in October that attracts thousands of participants.  I have posted pictures in the past.  Such fun.  Many stop and dance in front of us.
This man is the most community minded person I have ever met.  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to work with him.

Unfortunately, I can't drum and take pictures at the same time.
We really rocked the house.
You had to be there.....
So much for today.
Night all.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! You really do so much and get so involved with different things, it is very impressive!

    ReplyDelete

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