This October, our Lower School was proud to host Kevin Martin of Rockcreek Steel Drums for our 2019 Elizabeth Wegner Musician in Residence program. For four days, Kevin worked with kindergarten through fifth-grade students to prepare for a group performance on Friday. Chesapeake Campus buzzed with melodic, percussive energy for a week of learning, performing and fun!
Dynamic Sound With Deep History
To kick off the week, Kevin performed for the entire Lower School accompanied by bass player Larry Melton. He played reggae and calypso tunes on the steel drum and guitar while encouraging our students and faculty to join in and sing along.Throughout his performance, Kevin spoke about the history of the steel drum from the early, tunable sticks of bamboo called "tamboo-bamboo" to the instrument we see today made from large steel oil drums. A popular instrument to march with during Carnival celebrations, the steel drum was first created by young children in Trinidad. It is now played all over the world. One of the only manufacturers of steel drums in the United States, Kevin is committed to sharing the history of this instrument by encouraging younger generations to carry its legacy forward.
Building the Band
Working closely with music teacher Ms. Mary Gaylord throughout the entire week, Kevin held workshops for our kindergarten through fifth-grade students. They explored a range of musical concepts and performance techniques as they practiced songs including Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of my Life” for our 5th graders and “Baby Shark” for our littlest drummers. He chose individual students to lead the band through warm-ups, demonstrating the role of the conductor in a large band setting. And he challenged every player to improve while giving them the support they needed to do so.
Each day, Kevin worked to foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the groups. He emphasized the joys of playing music with others over the importance of getting every note right. He revealed tricks of the trade to build confidence when playing for a large crowd and how to keep a positive mindset when working together. Kevin reiterated that as members of the Severn Steel Drum Band, our young musicians should look out for and support each other, both in and outside the music room.
Take a peek at our week of music in action!
Crazy Socks and the Big Performance
On the last day of the residency, Kevin performed a song on the guitar for our parent and faculty audience before leading each grade through their songs on the steel drums.Our preschool and prekindergarten students joined the fun with a colorful dance set to steel drum tunes, led by music and drama teacher Ms. Holly Florian.In honor of Elizabeth Wegner, for whom this memorial program was created, our students and faculty wore crazy socks to the performance. Mrs. Wegner often wore colorful socks as a simple way to bring joy to our students' lives. Our community will always remember her love of music...and silly footwear!
About the Elizabeth Wegner Musician in Residence Program
The Elizabeth Wegner Memorial Fund was created to continue Mrs. Wegner’s legacy by providing unique musical opportunities for our Lower School students. Mrs. Wegner taught music in our community for 14 years before her passing in 2014. She sought to provide a nurturing setting in which children of any age can joyfully develop their own talents in making, composing and performing music.