The beat’s always right when it’s helping a special youth get into the rhythm of art.
Jacksonville University Music professor Tony Steve and his percussion students know that all too well, after drumming again for kids at the Cummer Museum’s Very Special Arts festival, and letting the youths take a whack at it, too.
The annual festival, held May 1-4 this year at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Riverside, lets about 2,300 students with disabilities view original artwork and experience it through all their senses. They also take part in various creative activities.
“Our percussion ensemble’s role was to facilitate interaction of the kids with music and enjoying the tactile nature of hand drumming,” Steve said. “We work to create a sense of excitement that they are entering a world of art and that the outside world will be thrown off for those two hours.”
Above all, the outreach done each spring by JU’s percussion ensemble is to show the youths a good time.
“They come from varied disability spectrums, but the intent is to help the kids have fun playing the instruments and feeling what it is like to create music on their own terms,” Steve said.
JU students taking part included Dante McNeil, Joe Sacco and Aaron Plotz.