Drum Lines: Revitalizing a Community and Beating Racism
By Terry Artis
In 1982, I performed my last spring concert as a Normandy High School percussionist in our Viking Hall gymnasium. Returning 30 years later to my now unaccredited school system with over 100 percussionists from urban, suburban and rural Missouri programs for the 1st Annual SHOWDOWN: High School Drum Line Battlefelt natural, comfortable and like the right thing to do for children at this time.
(My) Normandy School District needs revitalization. It needs activities that nurture the great potential that lies within all of our children, as well as events that reinvigorate pride and ownership in the people of the community. I am most aware of this fact because I am still a homeowner and resident of the district.
I invited my high school drum line friends from rural, urban and suburban districts to come to Normandy and help me to put forth the kind of event that will recapture the essence of the community spirit. Normandy has a rich tradition of arts, especially music and percussive arts. It is well known amongst those who participated in our event that I am a proud child of that tradition.
After the District's recent classification as unaccredited, by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Superintendent basically blamed DESE for the district's status. He claimed that what DESE did was "Politically obscene" and interjected race as a factor.
His actions made me sick. His failure to accept his own responsibility and his attempt to base the decision on race gave me a new lease on life. I will end racism for once and for all.
With all of the negative press that surrounds Normandy schools, (after school shooting, child hospitalized by security guard, HIV scares, etc.), it's not the easiest venue to sell to people whose concepts come strictly from media. But, my White rural drum lines, Black urban and mixed suburban ensembles are in it to help me in my endeavor to put an end to the disease of racism, so they don't allow stigmas to diminish their commitment.
There will be many more events of this type presented at Normandy's Viking Hall by Show-Me Sound Organization (click here for schedule). Please, stay tuned and support our efforts to revitalize our community and end racism for once and for all.
KSDK NEWSCHANNEL 5 VIDEO COVERAGE!