A Hampshire County Council’s Music Service ensemble has just won a national prize and a sought-after place at this year’s Music for Youth Primary Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Oku Nojo Daiko, the North East Hampshire Area Schools Taiko drumming ensemble from Aldershot, has not only won the ‘Student Composition Award’ (external link to YouTube) at this year’s Music for Youth National Festival, but has also been invited to perform the piece, entitled ‘A New Dawn’, at the high profile Primary Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on 12th October 2011. From an original field of over 3,000 music ensembles they will be one of only six groups to perform in front of 7,000 children later this year.
The Taiko ensemble (Taiko is Japanese for ‘fat drum’) wrote the composition ‘A New Dawn’ specially for the performance at the National Festival, and only completed it in June 2011. The piece starts quietly but builds to a huge crescendo as each new rhythm is introduced and developed. It will now form part of their new festival programme along with two other pieces, Kenka (Fight) and Matsuri (Festival).
Oku Nojo Daiko (Japanese for Oak Farm Drums) started in 1998 at Oak Farm Community School before relocating to The Connaught School. The members, who come from the Farnborough, Fleet and Aldershot area, are aged ten years old and above, and still include three ex-Oak Farm pupils. The pieces are all taught by rote and then memorised, and this develops great team-working skills, commitment and self-confidence. Most members leave the group to go to college or university, and ex-members have pursued careers in fields as diverse as medicine, IT, forensic science, psychology and media.
Carol West, the Hampshire Music Service director who is the driving force behind the ensemble says, I’m very proud of this extremely dedicated group, how well they work together and how superbly they support each other during rehearsals and events to produce their performances.” She continues, They are an absolute pleasure to work with and deserve the national recognition they have been given. A fantastic team effort – well done!”