Toronto Chinese Orchestra 多倫多中樂團

2018-06-24: Introduction – Bobby Ho

I first met Bobby some years ago. I happened to see him and his team of young drummers perform with great energy and precision – and I thought: I must invite him to join TCO! He has been a wonderful addition to our family ever since. He is always eager to try new challenges, pushing himself and his team further in performance. This upcoming concert has Bobby working with 3 teams – TCO percussion, Apex Drumming Team, and Inner Truth Taiko! Hope you can join us on June 24th and hear the powerful drums! ~Patty Chan

Emperor Qin Musters Army and Soaring Dragon Leaping Tiger were the first two that I heard that featured Chinese percussion. I stumbled upon these pieces when I was invited to compose and arrange percussion music for the TCO. While looking for inspiration, I found a version of Soaring Dragon Leaping Tiger that was arranged solely for Chinese percussion ensemble, and this became my main inspiration for my first Chinese percussion composition, Legend of Jade Dragon, which the TCO percussion ensemble debuted in 2013. I wanted to make Chinese percussion music more regular in TCO concerts, and this request was granted. Later that year, the percussion ensemble performed an abridged version of Emperor Qin Musters Army at the TCO Mini Concert.

At the time the TCO percussion ensemble was only 3 to 4 members. I realized that if we were going to go for bigger sound, we would need more percussionists. This is when I started introducing Chinese percussion music to the Apex Drumming Team, which was a group of youth drummers that originally specialized in lion dance style drumming. The Apex Drumming Team was introduced to Emperor Qin Musters Army last year, and began learning Soaring Dragon Leaping Tiger in February of this year. It has also been a privilege for me to get to work with the Inner Truth Taiko Group.

To my knowledge, this would be the only performance of Soaring Dragon Leaping Tiger that will feature the traditional Chinese orchestral percussion instruments along with lion dance drums and Japanese Taiko drums. We didn’t want these additional drums to mimic or replace any of the percussion that was originally used in the song, but we selected these instruments because they possess something unique in their sound and how they are played that makes the fight between the dragon and tiger much more dramatic and theatrical.

~Bobby Ho