I saw School of HONK play and I was hooked. Playing this music is wonderful therapy for me; an escape from the day-to-day ups and downs of life. I show up as much as I can, with my two kids. They experience music in a way I never got to as a child; joyfully and community-centered. This isn’t a typical classroom setting, but make no mistake – they’re learning loads. Thanks to the whole SoH team, and other players, for keeping this going and giving us all the opportunity to join in and contribute!
I love playing with School of HONK. It is the most enriching and diverse place I get to go, with people from different cultures, ages, races, and backgrounds. SoH has given me a place to learn more, to share my love of percussion with others, and to introduce my children to a music culture. That’s the key thing for me – SoH is a group of people making music as a normal, everyday activity… the way everything should be learned!
Parading with a street band has brought me full circle. I first started drumming as a kid with the Northern Virginia Patriots, parading with the largest drum corps in the country. That started when my mother asked my brother and me what instrument we wanted to learn. We had to learn some instrument, but we got to choose. So we ran off and pondered for a bit, and triumphantly returned proclaiming that we wanted to learn drums. She had asked us to pick, and now unfortunately for her she was stuck with the loudest!
After the Patriots drum corps, I played a bit in high school jazz band and other school bands. Then I had a brief stint as the drummer in an all-girl(!) folk band while in college. That ended when they found an actual girl drummer and (totally reasonably) kicked me out. After a short hiatus I started poking around with some good friends that played Brazilian music. We scored a recurring gig at a local jazz club and I happily played auxiliary percussion for 5 years, learning many of the joyful and challenging beats of Brazilian bossa nova, samba, MPB, and more.
When that band dispersed I was lucky enough to find an Afro-Brazilian drum troop to join called Grooversity. I still play with them, learning more traditional Bloco beats from amazingly-talented Berklee school of music students. We’ve played in the HONK! Festival since the first few years, so all my music right now is HONK-related.
Joining SoH has some other benefits worth mentioning. My daughter plays trombone and just had her first solo! Plus now whenever we need my son to nap we just turn on the SoH playlist as loud as we can and he conks out immediately. No joke. Who knew all these tunes were lullabies?