The city of Santa Clarita is in full swing with its Season of Diversity program that runs until February 27th. The series is intended to support cultural diversity by honoring the many cultures of the world that are represented in our community.
Tuesday I ventured down to the Newhall Library where the county teamed up with the city to put on Drumming Around the World. There I saw 20 kids seated around 20 drums, all uniquely shaped and colored. Behind the drums was Marcus L. Miller, a musician who was as talented on the drums, as he was gentle with the kids. He began by explaining how different drums work and where they were used. For example; a Dumbek drum originated in North Africa, whereas a Djembe drum was made popular in Eastern Africa. As he moved from drum to drum, he played a little, just enough to send the kids into an air drum frenzy and the wow the adults.
At the end of the show it was share time, and each child was given a drum and some, even a whacking utensil. If you have never seen a child’s face light up when they are given a drum and told to beat it as loudly as possible, then you have missed something spectacular. And when the 20 kids with 20 drums all started to play, the Newhall library about shook off its foundation. But slowly, under Marcus’ leadership, the beats came together, and it was actually pretty good! When the music eventually faded out and the workshop was over, I couldn’t help but feel impressed. Sure, I thought it would be fun for the kids, but I did not expect it to be as educational and fun for everyone as it turned out to be.
Marcus is an American. He lives here, plays here, and raises his children here. But when he speaks and plays, his appreciation for this world as a whole comes out with glaring enthusiasm. It’s infectious music that tells of heritage, invention, communication and belief. This is not just a lesson; this is a journey and a brilliant tribute to the depth of human experience. That embodies what A Season of Diversity really means.
“I think my job is to be that bridge between neighbors.” Says Marcus. “This place is filled with different people from different cultures, and we all live right next door to each other. I try to bring people together, because everybody has a story to tell, and a lot of us use music to tell it.”
This event was just one of the many in a long series. The City is collaborating with College of the Canyons, the County of Los Angeles Public Libraries, William S. Hart High School District, the Interfaith Council and the city’s Human Relations Forum.
Past events have included a Cuba Oriente Contemporary paining gallery at COC, an essay and poster contest and Multi-Cultural Stories and Crafts at the Valencia Library.
Wed, October 18th they will have the Veterans of WW2 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Tuskegee Airmen speaking at Valencia High from 7:00 to 9:00pm. All of the events are free of charge. You can see the whole calendar for the Season of Diversity at www.santa-clarita.com/hrforum .
KHTS AM 1220 News