Rhythm program is hard to beat
Posted by pellison on Dec 19, 2006
Reprint courtesy of Anaheim Hills News / Orange County Register
One World Rhythm rocked Canyon Hills Library.
By DIANE REED
Anaheim Hills News
Libraries used to be quiet zones, where no one spoke above a whisper and librarians wagged their fingers and “Shhhshed” anyone that did. That is no longer the case.
One World Rhythm rocked the Canyon Hills Library Wednesday and the library staff joined in the noisy fun.
The interactive music program was a first at the local library. And, from the moment Pete Ellison and his percussionists Debbie and Richard Keith began distributing drums, apple-shakers, boom-whackers, maracas, and tambourines to the 114 children and their parents who attended their program, it seemed certain, it wouldn’t be the last.
“Think about the last time you were at the beach and the waves were washing against the shore,” Ellison told the group. “There’s a rhythm to that sound. Today we are going to create and learn a one world rhythm using percussion instruments.”
Beginning by rubbing their hands together quietly, Ellison led the group through a variety of rhythms and sounds they could make with their hands. Gradually he added different beats and instruments and began to compose a queer kind of percussion symphony, played by novice musicians who ranged in age from toddlers sucking pacifiers to senior citizens.
Ellison, a former computer programmer and information tech, said he always wanted to do something like this, and one day he decided to just do it.
“One World Rhythm was created as a company, to fill an interest in recreational music making,” he said. “We are almost two years old and now we are serving a diverse population at schools, libraries, corporate events, senior citizen homes, birthday parties, festivals and fairs. And, we’re seeing more interest all the time.”
His program is not about teaching musical skills or techniques. “It’s about expression,” he said.
The kids at Canyon Hills Library were expressing themselves with gusto.
“I thought it was great,” Shellie Wheatley, the mother of Trevor, 7, and Hayden, 2, said. “I thought Hayden wouldn’t be interested but he was really into it.”
Library Manager Karen Gerloff was enthusiastic about the program, too.
“I loved it and the parents remarked that they had as much fun as the kids,” she said.
Although the sound level was extreme, one toddler slept quietly in her mother’s arms throughout most of the program, waking toward the end and looking bewildered by the actions of those around her.
Paula Peterson brought her daughters Lynnea, 3, and Summer, 5, and a friend Spencer Riley, 6, to the program.
“It was energetic and rousing,” she said. “I think the kids enjoyed it a lot. It allowed them to make noise like they don’t get to at home.”
To learn more about One World Rhythm, call 818-332-0679 or visit www.oneworldthythm.com.