Chester Arthur Elementary Drum Club

Most Philadelphians are well aware of the recent and quite devastating "Doomsday" budget cuts to the public school system, which essentially made any arts and music programs a thing of the past. Not so fast, a group of pretty remarkable, forward-thinking parents and teachers of Chester Arthur Elementary recently formed a non-profit to help offset the lack of funding and keep vital school programs intact for the city's kids.

I learned more about their efforts and have volunteered my Friday afternoons to design and implement our version of a music program for the 5th and 6th grade class: precisely the age I when I was introduced to playing music. So we've formed the Chester Arthur Drum Club! The school is equipped with an old piano, and that's about it. So we've gathered dozens of 5 gallon plastic buckets - essentially, they make great drums. Donations have been helpful in getting drum sticks, other noisemakers, and we even managed to piece together a full drum set, via community donations, to provide a rhythmic anchor to our newly formed percussion ensemble. I was amazed by the community's helpful response: Below is a little recent press:

I feel the kids are at the perfect age not only to release a little physical energy, but to learn to express and create through a group based, teamwork-driven musical experience. I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned about music, it's rewards and it's challenges, but I also can't wait to learn something new from these new musicians. Thank you for your consideration.

Funded by Philadelphia, PA (October 2013)