Friday August 10, 2012
GREAT BARRINGTON -- They tapped homemade tambourines, struck the drums made of plastic pipes and buckets, and plucked a washtub one-string bass and a one-string contraption called a diddley bow.
The instruments were anything but conventional, yet nearly 20 students and teachers from South County played the blues at a Thursday morning performance at the Route 7 Grill pavilion.
Robin O'Herin instructs Raising the Blues, a nonprofit program that brings free and reduced-cost guitars and music lessons to schools and educational programs.
Thursday's concert marked the culmination of a music class offered as part of a summer program for students with special needs.
"It is a good program," said Georgia Drumm, a rising eighth-grader at Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield.
Georgia, who said she enjoys singing best, convinced the group to perform a few Beatles tunes, one of her favorite bands.
Georgia's mother, Norma Jean Drumm, said the performance and program was "just amazing."
Several students soloed, sang, played instruments and even danced for about 30 family members and friends in attendance.
Dylan Kubis, a recent Mount Everett graduate, said he had no problem managing to simultaneously play the washtub bass and harmonica -- after all, the young man's named after the legendary Bob Dylan.
"It was a great experience. Some kids get nervous doing things in front of people, but I think they all did pretty well," Kubis said.
They young man said he plans to start his own band, and will perhaps find members at Berkshire Com munity College, where he will be enrolled as a culinary student this fall.
In addition to the music component, the main focus of the four-year-old summer program is to teach students, ages 12 to 22, career readiness and life skills. Led by educators Gary Kapchinske, Karen Mackey, Betsy Heath and Andrew Rapport, the program serves students with individualized education plans from the Lenox, Lee, Southern Berk shire and Berkshire Hills public school districts.
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