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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute cash, an instrument or school supplies.