PJP Drumming Group Hitting its Stride

PJP Drumming Group Hitting its Stride
Posted on 03/05/2020
This is the image for the news article titled PJP Drumming Group Hitting its StrideTerry Skead leads the drumming Group at Pope John Paul II School
In its second year at Pope John Paul II School, the drumming group is hitting its stride. Terry Skead leads the group and he says it’s been a great confidence booster for the students.

“I think it’s an awesome program. Some of the kids are gifted they just need to come out, they’re shy. We have two boys who were very shy in the beginning and now Rhys is singing by himself,” he said.

The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-10:45. The group is open to everyone, not just children of Anishinaabe decent. Skead says he doesn’t treat it as just a music lesson, but rather a holistic cultural teaching opportunity.

“I don’t just teach them songs, I teach them the stories, the background of the drum, the different type of songs,” he said. “I think it’s important to learn where the drum came form, where the songs come from. There’s different kinds of songs, spiritual songs, grass dance, traditional, contemporary and the types of drums that go with that. For the kids to learn this at an early age, it captures their interest.”

The group consistently gets about 5-6 children out to each lesson. This year, they made the switch from using the big drum to smaller hand drums. Skead says the shift worked really well for everyone.

“They were more excited. They didn’t know what the hand drum was about, so I taught them the purpose. It’s also easy to hold and easier to beat rather than the big drum. They adapted to it really fast,” he said.

The group also acts as a transition opportunity between the Pope John Paul II School and St. Thomas Aquinas High School. New this year, the high school started up the Binese Singers. Skead also teaches that drumming group which uses the big drum the school was gifted by the Whitefish Bay Singers

Skead says they hope to have students from both groups perform together at this year’s Spring Feast and Pow wow.
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