Meet Bill and Ken – the bass marimba building men

Meet Bill and Ken – the bass marimba building men

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Gosnells Men’s Shed’s Ken James and Bill Hughes with South Thornlie students Kaia Tairua, Jackson Perry and Riley Brisbane. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

South Thornlie Primary School music students have a new noisemaker to play with, thanks to the woodworking wizards at the Gosnells Men’s Shed, who presented them with a custom-built bass marimba last Friday.

The marimba is a wooden, percussive instrument, similar to a xylophone, that was originally found in Africa.

Many readers will be familiar with its sound from the Apple iPhone’s default ringtone.

The project to build and design the marimba was funded by the Southern Districts Rotary Club grant program, and realised by the talented men from the Gosnell’s Men’s Shed.

South Thornlie Primary music teacher Miss Mathys first approached the Gosnells Men’s Shed in term one, in the hopes of expanding the school’s marimba collection.

“We are so grateful for these wonderful community groups that have been so generous to us in being able to provide our students with new instruments to enrich and grow our music program,” Miss Mathys said.

“The introduction of a bass marimba into our lessons allows children to learn different ostinatos as well as different pitches and tones to create music.

“The Gosnells Men’s Shed did a fantastic job of making it out of the finest jarrah wood, despite not having any blueprints to go off.

“We are hoping that the new marimba will be the first of many, as we slowly expand our library of instruments.”

A special assembly was held at the school to unveil the new instrument, and was attended by special guests Bill and Ken from the men’s shed.

The pair were presented with a card signed by every student at the school, to say thank you for their hard work.

Students Jackson, Kaia and Riley had the honour of christening the marimba during the assembly, playing a small piece they had been practising, Boris the Bassman.

“The introduction of a bass marimba into our lessons allows children to learn different ostinatos as well as different pitches and tones to create music,” Miss Mathys said.

“It also allows for more children to be a part of the lesson, as two children can play on the marimba at once.”