Arts and Entertainment

Batucada at Byrnes Performing Arts Center

Gabriella Harding, center, in white dress, dances with her father’s band, Batucada, which features six talented musicians, from left, Tim McCormick, Ken Harris, Wayne Clark, leader Gary Harding, Joe Horsak and Janet Yoder. They will perform Saturday, April 19 in a fundraiser for Horsak’s Haller Middle School music program. - Courtesy Joe Horsak
Gabriella Harding, center, in white dress, dances with her father’s band, Batucada, which features six talented musicians, from left, Tim McCormick, Ken Harris, Wayne Clark, leader Gary Harding, Joe Horsak and Janet Yoder. They will perform Saturday, April 19 in a fundraiser for Horsak’s Haller Middle School music program.
— image credit: Courtesy Joe Horsak

An exotic musical opportunity is coming to the Byrnes Performing Arts Center, when Batucada Yemanjá do Pacifico offers a concert starting at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 19. It's a benefit concert for Haller Middle School Band's instrument fund, according to Haller's music teacher, Joe Horsak, who is a member of the band more commonly known as Batucada.

Along with Horsak, Batucada musicians include Tim McCormick, Ken Harris, Janet Yoder, Wayne Clark and Gary Harding, founder and leader.

Batucada will present Brazilian musical genres such as Partido Alto, Samba de Roda, Forro and Chorinho and other styles of music from the Caribbean.

The word, batucada, refers to the percussion-based musical groups which parade in the streets during Carnival season. The large competitive batucadas in Brazil can have thousands of musicians.

All the proceeds from the $10 tickets will benefit Haller Middle School's music program.

"Our mission is to equip students with instruments such as French horns and a bassoon for the school district's newest building," Horsak said.

Their leader, Gary Harding, founded Batucada in 1978 in Seattle.

Over the last 25 years, Batucada has played in the major ethnic festivals in the Northwest and Canada, including stage appearances with Hiroshima and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Harding has played and taught Brazilian and Cuban music for more than 40 years in Brazil, Europe, Nigeria and the USA. He is a member of Escola de Samba Ocara Clube and Ogan Alabé for Ilê Iansã de 'Ngola in São Paulo, Brazil. He is also past director of jazz and ethnic studies at Washington State University after earning his bachelor of arts in music education there.

Between the years of 1975 and 1978 he did post-graduate studies in cultural anthropology and ethnomusicology. His field studies were conducted in Abeokuta, Nigeria and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Currently he teaches at Antioch University in Seattle and is a music specialist for Seattle Public Schools. In that capacity, he has taught classes and authored numerous books in the area of ethnic music and arts inclusion.

The upcoming performance is Batucada's third in Arlington, after performing Jan. 25, 2003 as part of a concert series to benefit the new Performing Arts Center at Arlington High School and taking the stage of the new BPAC during its grand opening celebration last year.

Horsak has been performing with the group since 1993. His day job is as director of bands at Haller Middle School as well as teaching beginning band at Pioneer and Presidents elementary schools.

"I was inspired to study with Gary after reading his master's thesis at Washington State University," Horsak said.

After receiving two music degrees from W.S.U., Horsak earned his master's degree at the University of Washington.

Batucada is a non-profit organization and has supported almost 20 child projects through World Vision.

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