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Walking to the beat of a different drum

Updated: 2023-09-11 08:18 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Tony Webb (right) teaches children at an art summer camp in Beijing in July.CHINA DAILY

Pioneering couple are dedicated to enriching the lives of others, especially children, through the musical art of percussion, Li Yingxue reports.

Two decades ago, against the backdrop of the Edinburgh Music Festival, a pivotal moment unfolded for British entrepreneur Tony Webb and his wife Wang Xuezhang, affectionately known as Ningning. Amid the festival's melodic tapestry, an electrifying West African percussion performance ignited an unquenchable spark within their hearts and minds.

The resonance of rhythm, the surging energy and the unbridled force emanating from the drummers created an indelible imprint. Upon their return to China, they brought with them a determination to kindle the flames of percussion and music, and to share the profound delight they had experienced.

Over the ensuing two decades, their journey transcended mere performance, as they traversed the nation, leaving trails of rhythmic wonder in their wake. Amid this creative expedition, they conjured forth their brainchild — Toning Drum — a brand name that is a harmonious fusion of their own names.

Beyond the stage, their commitment blossomed into the realm of education, culminating in the inception of a tailored curriculum. This curriculum was meticulously crafted, nurturing the musical spirits of young children, fostering a profound connection to the world of melody.

Wang also observed that Latin-style percussion has been increasingly embraced by domestic pop singers in the music industry. "I believe we did something truly joyful," she says.

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