Students enjoy Adrenaline Drumming

Carol Roehm/Commercial-NewsKenneth D. Bailey Academy students (from left) Zach Lockhart, Nathan Sellers, Carlysia Venzant and Treasure Sims watch musician Stephen Johnson drum on a 5-gallon bucket.

DANVILLE – A group of Kenneth D. Bailey Academy students showed Friday morning that they have rhythm.

The students rhythmically hit 5-gallon buckets with drum sticks, following the lead of instructors and musicians Guido Esteves and Stephen Johnson, both of the band 90s Daughter.

As the students mimicked the patterns Esteves and Johnson played on their buckets, it grew progressively more difficult — and louder — but the students were able to keep up.

Kendra Free, Bailey Academy’s physical education teacher, applied for a grant through the Danville Public School Foundation to bring Adrenaline Drumming to her 100 PE students at the East Main Street school.

“I saw it on YouTube,” Free said. “I get a lot of ideas from there.

“We have kids who have musical talent, but being an alternative school, we don’t have a music class,” she said.

“They learned about sixteenth notes, eighth notes and half notes,” Free added.

Adrenaline Drumming not only covers musical lessons, but other disciplines as well.

Earlier in the week, students participated in a relay race in which they drummed on an exercise ball, ran, jumped on a trampoline and then drummed another pattern on a bucket.

According to Free, drumming also exercises the arms.

“It’s a good workout,” she said. “I did it, and my arms were killing me.”

Student Rykhia Townsend was all smiles when talking about the drumming activity in her class.

“It’s loud, but it’s a fun thing to do,” she said. “I don’t like PE, but when we do stuff like this, I like it better.

“I didn’t know anything about drumming before this,” the teen said.

Student Zoe Drake echoed Rykhia’s enthusiasm.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to play an instrument, especially ones who have never played before.”

Although Zoe said she played drums and cello in middle school, Adrenaline Drumming was a new experience for her.

“Drumming on a bucket? No, that’s new for me,” she said.

The grant, which covered the cost of the two instructors, was awarded in March, according to the foundation’s Executive Director Bob Richard.

Richard said the activity sounded “creative” when it was first proposed, but when he actually saw the students perform this week, he said he was “super impressed.”

“The students were very focused, and they were actively engaged and having fun,” Richard said.

Esteves said he hatched the idea for Adrenaline Drumming after teaching a music class for schoolchildren in Urbana.

“I was teaching basic rhythms, and the kids really responded to the drums,” he said.

“At a school like this, it’s all about (maintaining) focus,” Esteves said about the Bailey Academy students. “When they come in, they want to play and when we’re done, they want to keep playing.”

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