Exactly 53 performers, one representing each Commonwealth nation, helped kick off the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) with a bang – literally – thanks to Rotary in London.
The days when the CHOGM were an exclusive event for Heads of State are long gone.
These days, the Forums have an equally central role, and at this year’s event in London, the Youth, Women’s People’s and Business Forums kicked off the Commonwealth summit, discussing topics from sustainability and trade to education and climate change.
But it was a musical twist full of colour, vibrancy and energy which personified the diversity of the Commonwealth with a Drumming for Peace performance, an idea which sees drumming as a common language, promoting community and harmony.
Sree Vallipuram, a member of Westminster West Rotary Club, working in collaboration with Commonwealth Resounds, a leading Commonwealth accredited musical organisation and the Purcell School of Music, really did bring this idea to life.
ICYMI: #CHOGM2018 That was the week that was.
4 key priorities
3 days of forums
2.4 billion people
1 common future#ourCommonwealth@RoyalFamily @commonwealthsec @theRCSLondon @CWEICofficial @bycLIVE @commonwealthorg @ComSecYouth @edencommunities pic.twitter.com/wla8UvygG0
— CHOGM London 2018 (@Commonwealth18) April 22, 2018
With the assistance of the renowned percussionist Kevin Hathway, the students of the Purcell School composed the music and choreographed the performance.
To ensure wider Commonwealth representation, Sree wrote to all the High Commissioners in London to seek their assistance in identifying talented drummers from their country.
The support was overwhelming. There were drummers from India, Ghana, Botswana and the West Indies, alongside five volunteer Rotary members and 24 Purcell School students giving a total of 53 performers, one representing each Commonwealth country.
After weeks of rehearsals, the performers wowed the 2,000-strong audience with rhythms and beats from around the four Commonwealth regions, played on a variety of percussion instruments which reverberated around the room, offering the perfect opening to the day’s events.
Catch up with more from the meeting and forums on the CHOGM 2018 website.