The way to an orchestra’s heart is through percussion

Sithembiso Xoki beats out a rhythm on an outdoor table. Photo: Amy Ingram

Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company Symphonic Wind Band percussionist, Sithembiso Xoki, (17) was not always interested in music.

His father first encouraged him to learn an instrument and although he did try, it was not the correct time for him as he was more interested in soccer. When he grew older he took up drama and was advised to broaden his talents by taking up an instrument. For the past four years, Sithembiso has been working on learning several percussion instruments and has worked his way through a few ranks in the company. He is able to play the drums, bongos, cymbals and other auxiliary percussion instruments.

He has played at various festivals and even in the opera, La Bohéme, where he played as a soldier with a snare drum. One of his greatest achievements has been his acceptance into the company’s Symphonic Wind Band, which was announced end of July.

Although the Allen Glen High School learner said that at first it was intimidating as he felt he was not as experienced as the rest of the orchestra, he enjoys being part of the band. Sithembiso is interested in having a career in music, especially since doors have opened in the way he has wanted them to. It may be challenging to balance his school work and the wind band next year, as he will be in his Grade 12 year, but he is passionate enough to face those obstacles head on.

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Amy Ingram

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