The Jaguar Bucket Ensemble

December 12, 2008 5:56:11 PM PST
There is a high school band out there that is like none you've ever seen. Instead of tubas, drums and trombones, these students use buckets.There are 85 of them, to be exact, as well as instruments made from PVC pipes and bamboo.

So what do you call a large group of teenagers, with drum sticks, banging on plastic buckets? In this case, you call them the Jaguar Bucket Ensemble.

The ensemble was formed in September. Music teacher Pat O'Donnell got the idea from a similar group in Philadelphia.

"It's something that people can understand," O'Donnell said. "It's rhythm. And then, we just take the rhythm and try to incorporate that into goals, into dreams, into other things."

"You can hear it, you can feel it, you enjoy yourself while you're playing," member Kwamel Abram said.

We sat in on a performance for a group of kindergarteners.

"It's really cool, seeing everybody clap for you and cheer for you," member James Bond said. "It's really fun."

And in addition to being fun, it's a lesson in teamwork for the band members.

The ensemble has performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and they hope to be chosen for the presidential inauguration ceremonies. Educators say the students have made gains beyond the music.

"Their attendance is better, their performance, their behavior," assistant principal Lois Perkins said. "You know, when they have something that they're interested in, that they're excited about, they always do much better. It becomes a whole child."

"I'm like, me, banging on drums, yeah, right," member Ambar Terrero said. "What if I'm off beat? But no, it showed me I could actually do something."


STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland


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