In conjunction with the Percussive Arts Society, the 2009 Zildjian Opportunity Fund grant was awarded to The Dancing Drum Company - a percussion duo formed of members Steve Campbell and Lindsay Rust. As part of the grant, the duo presented a series of workshops to the students at G.W. Carver Elementary School in New Orleans. Every day, for one week in April 2009, Dancing Drum taught students to drum, dance, and sing their way through "Drumming Up Character," an integrated arts program that focused on themes like respect, responsibility, and fairness. A final student performance for the school community brought the week to a fantastic finish.
For Dancing Drum, this program represented the fulfillment of a dream. In August of 2005 the world watched as Hurricane Katrina delivered a slow-motion knockout punch to the city of New Orleans. Like many people, both Steve and Lindsay were filled with a desire to "do something" that could help inspire a positive future for a city that has given so much to the world through music. As professional percussionists and educators, they felt they could find a way to uplift the youth of New Orleans through percussion programs. The question of "how" was generously answered by a grant from the PAS Zildjian Family Opportunity Fund and a partnership with G.W. Carver Elementary - a newly built school in a parish heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Over 60% of the students at Carver school have dealt with years of upheaval in the wake of the storm. Most of the student's families lived in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward and were forced to relocate after floods destroyed their homes. Many are still filtering back to the area after over 4 years in exile in places like Houston and Atlanta, though most of their homes have yet to be rebuilt, and hundreds of bare, desolate concrete foundations still mark their old neighborhood after all this time. Despite the difficulties wrought by poverty and devastating flooding, a brighter future is building in the minds of New Orlean's youth, and music can be a key to their success.
The Zildjian Opportunity Fund is a permanently endowed trust, managed and administered through the Percussive Arts Society. Its purpose is to provide funding for percussion-based interactive events directed to underserved youth, ages pre-school through high school. Utilizing outstanding percussion presenters, these events are held at schools, community centers, or other publicly accessible facilities at no charge to participants. Zildjian is proud to partner with the Percussive Arts Society and Dancing Drum is this wonderful and successful endeavor.