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Thurrock played host to a very special guest this week as the Indonesian Minister for Education and Culture visited one of the borough’s leading schools in music.

Woodside Primary Academy in Grays recently welcomed visitors including Professor Dr. H. Muhadjir Effendy, Minister of Education and Culture; Dr. Hilmar Farid, Director of Cultural Affairs and Professor E. Aminudin Aziz Ph.D., Education and Culture Attache of the Indonesian Embassy to the U.K., to a special event. Taking place on Tuesday 18 June, the event showcased the school’s Gamelan Music of Indonesia project which has brought to life the culture of Indonesia through fun, interactive music workshops using Gamelan instruments.

The Minister and his team spoke to students about the workshops and how using these instruments has enhanced their understanding and appreciation of music from different cultures.

The special Gamelan music project, led by Sarah Stuchfield, this year involves four local schools with pupils at Deneholm Primary School, Woodside Academy, Kenningtons Primary Academy and Stanford-Le-Hope Primary School taking part.

The Gamelan will feature in performances at the Thurrock International Celebration of Culture on 6 July in Grays, and at the Junior Music Festivals at the Civic Hall on 9 to 11 July.

Culture

Principal of Woodside Academy, Edward Caines, said: “We have been pleased to add Gamelan to the musical and cultural experience of our pupils and very grateful to the Indonesian Embassy for supporting this.

“The Gamelan percussion have a beautiful sound that everyone can relate to and we hope more children will get this opportunity.”

Cllr James Halden, Portfolio Holder for Education, said: “It’s very exciting to welcome the Indonesian Minister and for him to witness some of the great learning taking place in our schools.

“Thanks to the work of Thurrock Music Services and the generous sponsorship of the Indonesian Embassy, we have been able to teach our children about how cultures express themselves through music by helping them play this music themselves. True learning in action!”

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