Rockford-area elementary school students will be spending time after school learning rhythm, drumming and teamwork thanks to a joint effort by Rockford’s Phantom Regiment and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Originally proposed by Phantom Regiment as a way to reach more area youth, the world-renowned drum and bugle corps approached the symphony to see if it would be interested in partnering to expand the symphony’s ‘Music In The Schools’ program. From that initial idea, the program has developed into a hands-on after-school program that will reach more than 700 elementary students during 35 class sessions at six different school locations in Rockford.

Remo Inc. of California, a major sponsor of the Phantom Regiment, helped procure a set of 45 specialty percussion instruments to be used in the program. Rockford Symphony Orchestra percussionist Nick Auriemmo and Phantom Regiment director Pat Seidling, also a percussionist, have teamed to teach the 45-minute sessions. Each student is given a percussion instrument and, before the period is over, the young students have been transformed into a multi-voiced hand drum ensemble.

‘Drums for All’ is coordinated with the Rockford Public School’s after-school at-risk project in which various arts and educational organizations meet at select schools to provide after-school enrichment.

“The Rockford Symphony is pleased to partner with the Phantom Regiment to present the ‘Drums For All’ program,” says Lorie Langan, Education Director for the Rockford Symphony. “This is a unique opportunity to reach elementary-age school children with an after-school music experience that many would not otherwise be able to participate in because of inaccessibility or cost.

“We have purposely targeted after-school programs in which students are identified as at-risk in academic areas. ‘Drums for All’ offers them alternative ways to explore music-making, cooperative and team-building experiences with professional musicians.”

“Drums for All” continues Phantom Regiment’s expansion of programs beyond drum and bugle corps.

“This program is a natural extension of the music education and outreach we provide in the Rock River Valley and fits nicely alongside Phantom Regiment’s summer performances, fall marching band festival and spring drum camp,” says Phantom Regiment director Pat Seidling. “Being able to reach into the elementary grades is an exciting opportunity for us to use our expertise and resources and go beyond the competition field.”

For more information, contact Lorie Langan with the Rockford Symphony at 815-972-2939.