Education: West Rowan percussion group performs for Rockingham schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recently the West Rowan High School Percussion Ensemble traveled to Reidsville to perform for three elementary schools in Rockingham County.
The performances were sponsored by the Junior Service League of Reidsville. The high school students, led by West Rowan band director Daniel Trivette, performed on non-traditional, “found” instruments in the style of the group STOMP.
Trivette began the concert by having the students describe a percussion instrument, leading them to discover that a percussion instrument is something that makes a sound when you hit it. He told them anything could be a percussion instrument, including the human body. After the students echoed several body percussion patterns, the ensemble performed a body percussion piece, “Me Tarzan.”
Encouraging the students to explore their kitchens at home, the ensemble used pots, pans, lids, spoons, milk jugs, a hand mixer and bowl and even a box of spaghetti to perform “Cucina Bella.”
Trash became the next instrument. Digging through a shiny metal trash can, the high school students discovered telephone books, boxes, cans, plastic bags, newspapers and foam cups with lids and straws which they used in “Pulp Friction.”
Near the end, the members of the ensemble improvised patterns for the audience to imitate. Ensemble members mingled with the children, passing out some of the “found” instruments and leading rhythm patterns for the students to echo using body percussion and instruments.
The final piece of the concert used nine upturned garbage cans for a drumline-style routine.
Using the high school students as role models, the principals at South End, Lawsonville Avenue and Monroeton elementary schools asked students how they thought the performers were able to play such precise music. Each location answered with the same thoughts: perseverance, practice, trying. Students left the assembly dancing and using their bodies as percussion instruments as the Percussion Ensemble played along.
As a follow-up, students at Lawsonville Avenue Elementary and members of the West Rowan Percussion Ensemble will correspond with each other about the experience.
Band parents Jane Brittain, Diane Day and Glenn Langford accompanied the group.
Pfeiffer joins Relay
Pfeiffer University will again join the fight against cancer by hosting its annual 12-hour Relay for Life event, from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday, April 24-25.
Individuals can share their stories about how the disease has affected them or someone they know. Dozens of these stories will be celebrated during Pfeiffer’s Relay for Life. Teams of people will lace up their sneakers and spend an overnight experience walking or running laps around the circular drive on the front campus adjacent to the Administration Building. This year’s goal is $13,000.
The activities begin at 5 p.m. on April 24 with a cancer survivors’ lap. The evening will feature entertainment including music, mechanical bull rides, food, games, dancing and more. A balloon release and Lighting of the Luminaria ceremony will begin after nightfall. During the ceremony, candles will be lit around the track in memory and in honor of individuals who have had cancer or are cancer survivors. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Relay for Life is an international event that raises money to aid the American Cancer Society. The event also promotes cancer awareness, education and other programs.
“Cancer is a killer that knows no boundaries,” said Pfeiffer student Najja Moon, chair of this year’s event.
“Gender, race, age, religion รณ none of these are factors when this disease strikes,” said Moon, a senior communications and art major from Durham. “During this walk, we will celebrate our survivors, remember our loved ones lost, and fight back against cancer.”
For additional information, contact Dr. Tim Coley at or 704-463-3401.