By Odalis A. SUAREZ
It was all about music appreciation as kids from the La Crescenta Presbyterian Church day camp enjoyed a special visit from music enthusiasts Pete Ellison and Debbie Keith.
The music duo are from One World Rhythm, a business that travels from city to city providing groups with an opportunity to make music.
The business, which was established in 2004, works with all age groups and provides services for schools, birthdays, and other event types. Ellison and Keith had on their calendar plans to visit Camp Summersault, a cancer camp sponsored by the American Cancer Society. They have even planned 80-year-old birthday parties.
Shakers, drums, and tambourines were just some of the instruments that kids used at La Crescenta Pres. Both Ellis and Keith had a series of activities and games, which incorporated the use of music. The kids were not only participating in a fun-filled event, but were also learning about music making.
“It’s teaching them rhythm, [it is] teaching them to play in unison,” said LCPC Behavior Specialist Desiree Rudulph, who also has a BA in music education. “The kids see if they play all [at] one time it’s totally different than if they play by themselves. It makes a different sound.”
LCPC first grade teacher Leslie Harlan appreciated the educational applications in Ellison and Keith’s visit as well. “The kids get a chance to bang on drums and learn rhythm at the same time,” she said. “I know in school they learn music and rhythm, but this is just [a way] to keep it going.”
One game, called “Robo Ball,” taught the children the concept of playing music in unison. Each person was provided a sound shape, a Frisbee looking drum that is hit with a marching drumstick. Each time that Ellison and Keith bounced the ball to the ground the group was asked to hit their drums. As the kids got used to the idea, Ellison changed the rules. In addition to hitting the drum when the ball bounced, anyone with a shaker was told to shake every time the ball was tossed up in the air. When the ball was not moving there had to be silence.
Ellison also taught the kids rhythm and beat playing a mimicking game. By using a cowbell he played a specific beat and then pointed to the group to copy it.
“Our program concentrates not on the technique, but the creative expression of creative music making,” said Ellison. “Each group we work with is unique. They each have some contribution.”