55 Drumrolls Please . . .

Thanks to the Chicago Tribune, Glen Ellyn Sun and Daily Herald for their coverage of this event sponsored by First Church of Glen Ellyn, a United Methodist Congregation.

Last Sunday, the street in front of 424 Forest Avenue in downtown Glen Ellyn was barricaded. In Glen Ellyn, there are only two ways to do that: throw a block party or dig up a street.

In this case, it was neither. Now while getting a village to agree to close off a block for an hour or two might seem like NBD, it is here – especially on a Sunday.

For approximately 32 minutes, a group of youngsters from the wrong side of town made quite a ruckus right outside of a sanctuary.

And, we proudly let them.

After all, many of the Claremont Academy students had never ever been outside of their own noisy neighborhood, called Engelwood - one of the most dangerous places to grow up in Chicago.

Families filled the parkways, surrounding Claremont Academy’s drum line with expectant spectators. Fifty-five students in grades 3-8 make up the school's drum line.

As the school group set up their formation, I must admit I wasn't expecting too much. With at least three professional drummers in the family and mega hours of marching myself, I know a good snare line when I hear one.

What I heard surprised me - the repertoire went on for seven songs with flags and dancers adding visual accents fitting every piece. Clearly, these kids have talent. Their part-time director is their visionary.

I couldn't resist talking to the kids after their performance. Here's what I found out: they practice 3 hours every day, they absolutely love what they do. Yes, they are bursting with pride. What they didn’t tell me [but I already knew] is that their school needs new uniforms and gently used instruments to continue their program.

Contact me at connect@corywestmedia.com if you’d like to contribute cash, an instrument or school supplies.

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