on September 9, 2011 by test_author in Archive_2011, Print Articles, September, Comments Off on September 8, 2011: Samba Ottawa Thunders on in McCormick Park.

September 8, 2011: Samba Ottawa Thunders on in McCormick Park.

Samba Ottawa Thunders on in McCormick Park.
 By Tim Thibeault.
On August 17 it began, at 7:15 pm,  with a rumble in the distance – almost  the sound of a gathering storm. But  this storm has been planned in advance  and has happened here before  – ten times, in fact. Hintonburg is celebrating  its 11th annual Samba in the  Park festivities in McCormick Park.
There, with improvised drums,  plastic bottles recycled into ersatz  maracas, and wildly colourful faces,  children look anxiously toward the  intersection of Fairmont Avenue,  Wellington Street, and Carruthers  Avenue to watch the arrival of the  drummers of Samba Ottawa. The  growing thunder of drums and the  bright yellow and white outfits of the  percussion group announce without a  doubt that the fun is about to begin.
Moments later, as the group crosses  the intersection, the intense and unrelenting  vibration of bass drums can be  heard and felt by onlookers and participants  alike. The air is filled with a  palpable sense of rhythm and excitement  as dozens of drummers parade  into the park to thrill and entertain approximately  150 to 200 local residents  and friends of the community.
Under the auspices of the  Hintonburg Economic Development  Committee, Samba in the Park has for  more than a decade now, raised funds  for school lunch programs, new playground  equipment, and enhanced recreational  opportunities for citizens of  the Hintonburg community. Through  the sale of baking, snacks and tee  shirts, and with donation jars being  passed around, the HEDC has led  members of the community in reclaiming  a park that was once the site  of drug deals and prostitution and  turned it into a vibrant and vital part of  their community.
For these two and a half hours each  year, the only time you’ll see a serious  expression on a child’s face here, is  when that child is sitting very still so  that the volunteer face painters can  achieve just the effect they have in  mind. Then, the faces light up again,  the cameras flash and the kids are off  like a shot to have some popcorn, do  some sidewalk chalk art, or try out a  little drumming themselves with the  help of Samba Ottawa’s generous and  patient members who allow child  after child to grab some sticks and  demonstrate how close they are to  being ready to join the band.
Then, with a parting flourish, the  parade winds its way back up the  street, usually with a throng of excited  children in tow, like a scene  from the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Back at the park, clean up crews are  already in action and thirty minutes  later there is no evidence at all that  anything out of the ordinary has happened  except for a little residual ringing  in the ears and the happy chatter  of young and old as they recall special  moments from an evening of  particularly creative thunder in a particularly  creative community.

Small child in facepaint drums along to the beat.

Booms, jingles, clatterings.

Photo Caption:  Booms, jingles, clatterings and chants at times drowned out conversation and replaced it with delighted smiles at this year’s Samba celebration. Photo by Tim Thibeault.

2 kids in colorful summer clothes each wirh a drum amongst the adult.

Samba celebration

Frontpage Photo Inset:   Children and adults enjoyed this year’s Samba celebration on August 17. Turn to page 12 for story.  Photo by Tim Thibeault.

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