How do you get 900 teenagers to come together as one community? I bet you never thought the answer could be giving them each a hollow plastic tube otherwise known as a boomwacker. That’s what happened last evening at CLAY, the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth Gathering that’s happing at the London Convention Centre over the next few days.
As we entered the large group gathering room, we were each handed a boomwacker. They come in a variety of colours and lengths. As you might recall from your high school physics, the sound emitted when a hollow tube is struck on another surface will vary depending on its length. Well, as you might imagine placed in the hands of 900 teenagers given no direction, the initial result was one reminisent of the deafening drone of those vuvuzelas we became familiar with during the World Cup matches in South Africa.
But then Soul Drums took the stage,a six member drumming ensemble, and the transformation began. The Soul Drums leader was the conductor and we were a drumming orchestra. First, we learned to follow the leader repeating rhythm patterns. Then we moved onto scales playing only when he raised the colour of boomwacker we held in our hand. And then we started to mix different rhythm patterns together as if we the red, orange, blue, purple and green boomwackers formed different sections of an orchestra. The end result was truly amzaing. We had moved from being in discord to a community working together to make a joyful sound. Even more amazing was how Soul Drums weaved a story into the teaching process around the themes of courage, truth, service and love.
As we filed out of the room at the end of the program, I couldn’t help but think how what we had just experienced linked so well to the values underlying CLWR’s community development work – being in service to others by teaching them how to be stronger, more sustainable communities.
Posted by Brian Lorch