Some of the music industry’s top drummers are putting their collective weight behind Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds, an attempt at setting a world record for the largest drum circle, which will bring together 7,600 local sixth- and seventh-graders and thousands of community members Friday, May 18, at College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium.
With the participation of legendary musicians Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), John Densmore (The Doors) and Remo Belli, founder of REMO Inc., Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds has been designed to both entertain and raise awareness of the value of arts education as a vital component in the development of ‘The Whole Child.’
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This week it was announced that four more of the industry’s top drummers have signed on to appear at the event. Joining Hart and Densmore live on stage May 18, will be:
Gorden Campbell — drummer for Jessica Simpson and George Duke
Teddy Campbell — drummer for “American Idol” and The Tonight Show Band
Eric “E-Panda” Hernandez — drummer for Bruno Mars and Taio Cruz
Mike Phillips — drummer for Janelle Monáe
As the culminating event of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program’s year-long hybrid music education program, it’s hoped that Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds will cast a national spotlight on the Santa Clarita Valley and show what can happen when a community comes together to make a difference in the lives of students.
“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from College of the Canyons, the participating school districts, the City of Santa Clarita, this community and the many talented artists that are getting behind this tremendous effort,” said Adam Philipson, PAC managing director.
Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds is being produced by the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program, with generous support from Remo Inc., the City of Santa Clarita and several other local businesses, organizations and community members.
From the event’s beginnings as a casual conversation with Rita Garasi, longtime friend of the college and chair of the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach advisory committee, to an historic communitywide event attended by residents of all ages, Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds reflects the evolution of Santa Clarita’s response to a growing need for prioritizing arts education in its schools, and the critical importance of an entire community’s participation and conversation in that mission.
As part of the project, every sixth- and seventh-grader in the Santa Clarita Valley has received percussion-based music and rhythm instruction, designed to maximize each student’s creative expression, build social and emotional skills and emphasize the process of learning over performance.
Over the last year, preparation for the program has included hands-on music lessons, and even a surprise visit to a local classroom by Hart and Belli, whose company has provided instruments and other forms of logistical support throughout the entire process.
On May 18, community members are invited to come be a part of history, as nearly 7,600 sixth- and seventh-graders from all five of the Santa Clarita Valley’s school districts and approximately 4,000 local residents descend on Cougar Stadium in one historic effort to break the current drum circle world record of 10,102.
For more information about the Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds program or to find how to participate, visit www.rocktherhythm.org.