Hudson -- The steady beat of drums from a student percussion group which has performed around Hudson for six years are now silent.
The final performance for One Beat, the percussion ensemble led by Ellsworth Hill music teacher Hong Le, was at the March 2 PTO Pancake breakfast at Hudson High School.
The reason for the final performance is a shoulder injury suffered by Le more than a year ago. Doctors are not sure of the cause, but drumming is one of the activities which aggravates the shoulder and does not allow it enough time to heal, Le said.
"Though I do not play the drums from my shoulder joint, the muscles that surround the shoulder engage in a way that ensures that I have correct playing position for the types of drums that we play," Le said. "Because of this, drumming highly aggravates my shoulder and I have finally decided to heed doctor's orders and take a break from the One Beat drumming ensemble so that my rehab work can produce results without me re-injuring it."
If Le's shoulder heals and she regains strength and normal movement, the group could start back up then. But, for now, the group, which was made up of 68 third-grade students, is silent.
Le, who has taught music in Hudson for seven years, started the group six years ago "to enhance my students' educational experiences so that they not only learn to be a model citizen of the United States, but to be a model citizen of the world.
"For example, when I teach my students to sing a song in another language, they are able to experience the mental difficulty of doing so," Le said. "Having experienced that, when they encounter someone whose English is not fluent … Because English is not the person's native language, rather than shunning that person, my students would have empathy for the complexities of learning a new language and would help them."
One Beat's music revolved around the drumming traditions of Ghana and Latin America, Le said.
"Depending on the origin of the piece we are playing, you will see different sizes and different types of drums, shekeres, gankoguis, a type of double-bell, gourds, cymbals, gongs, and xylophones," Le said.
Another reason the group was formed was to provide more musical opportunities for students who demonstrated a strong grasp of the drumming genre and to have a performing group that could go out into the community to share the music of other cultures, Le said.
Le, who has played the bassoon since junior high school, learned how to play drums when she became interested in forming the group, she said. Le wants students to be able to move on from her class, to the group, if they would like to continue with the drums.
"I have learned through experience that I am the glass ceiling for my students in terms of what they are able to learn in the music classroom," Le said. "They are capable of learning and performing anything."
Le enjoys the physical and mental training she gets from playing drums, she said.
"The mental and physical coordination and rigor that it takes to be able to perform this type of music well challenges my brain in a way that other areas of life do not," Le said. "I enjoy the musical challenge, and even more importantly, I enjoy the music itself."
Le's students were disappointed to learn the group would end.
Peter Campanelli, 12, was a member of One Beat for four years. After the group, he began helping Le, acting as her assistant, he said.
"It's sad, but it's really for the best," Peter said. "Because her injury is hurting her very badly."
Peter was also a student of Le's for two years.
"I've known her for a while," Peter said "She is really an awesome person and has inspired a love of music in a lot of her students and me too. She's the best music teacher I've ever had and one of my favorite teachers I've had throughout my school history."
Peter is a member of the middle school concert band.
"Her drumming has helped get me to this place," Peter said.
Peter's sister, Claire, 9, was a member of Le's group and played at the final performance.
The night before the final performance, Claire said the thought of the group ending made her "a bit sad."
"But I'm going to try my best," Claire said.