Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stomp & Holler

Oh I'm having fun with this one...

With the miraculous PS22 Chorus as my model, I'm running a new program at Redeemer this fall. It's called Stomp & Holler, and it's a blast.

It's a pretty simple idea... a community rhythm ("stomp") and vocal music ("holler") program for 1st-6th graders. Kids are divided into two groups based on their ages/grades. I work with all the kids, singing pop songs like Katy Perry's "Firework" and P!nk's "Perfect." These songs have no overt religious content, but they are positive and family-friendly.

My wife, Luanne, leads the 1st-2nd grade "stomp" program, doing simple rhythm exercises and games. The older stomp kids are led by Jeff Porter, whose bio is pretty impressive:

Tulsa-based percussionist Jeff Porter has been playing and studying African music for 14 years. He studied in Cuba in 2000 and has spent a total of 8 months studying in Brazil.

He has studied with many teachers including Michael Spiro and Alex Acuna of Weather Report.He has recorded on an album with the horn players from Paul Simon's band from Graceland and legendary vocalist Emmylou Harris, and he has performed with many different bands including The String Cheese Incident, The Motet, Tea Leaf Green and many more.

His goal is to bring the spirit of the music to as many people as possible because it is really fun!

He teaches mostly by using paint buckets, body percussion, and singing, but if people get super nerdy about learning all of the traditional instruments, he teaches Congas, Bata, Pandeiro, Djembe, Shekere, and Cajon!

Jeff's a great guy, and I'm really glad he's on board for this project. Check out some of his work with his percussion ensemble, The Claptet:

Jeff and I kind of did a "test run" of this program back in the summer up at Mark Twain Elementary School, where Redeemer was doing "Dreambuilders" - a rhythm and arts camp for that community. I guess this is the next step in the progression! Who knows where this will take us. I have a dream of taking these kids to see the touring production of STOMP when it comes to Tulsa in the Spring. In the meantime, we're getting the word out, running a good program and seeing what happens!

Here's the flyer that's been put up in stores and coffeeshops all around - and even distributed through all the local elementary schools:

And here's the amazing group that got me excited about this in the first place...

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