provides at-risk youth with a positive, enjoyable and cooperative activity that develops valuable community-enhancing life skills.
Featuring African master drummer, performer and educator Onye Onyemaechi, MBA, this program uses music and stories, questions and answers to communicate sound "village" values without preaching or blaming. Themes include learning self-discipline, growth development and maturity,as well as respecting elders, communing with nature, listening to your conscience and getting along with others.
Sited at a school or public facility, the program is offered after-school or weekends as appropriate for middle and high school-aged youths. Boys and girls learn first-hand fundamentals of rhythms and drumming. In the process they learn valuable life skills such as respect for different cultures, ability to cooperate and feeling comfortable working in a group toward common a goal. The program provides a safe place where youth can discover a deep sense of quietness and focus, channel strong emotions appropriately, and express themselves freely. By sharing the experience with others, they exchange kindness and compassion toward themselves and others. Some participants are inspired to make drumming a life-long hobby that gives them a popularly acceptable, non-violent, positive group activity. Team-Building Through Drumming becomes a metaphor for the transitions through which each young person will inevitably pass.
In various forms, this program has been presented in hundreds of schools and organizations, including locally, Santa Rosa Park and Recreation (seven schools), Santa Rosa High School, Boys and Girls Club Petaluma, California Children's Care Services, Santa Rosa(4C'S) COTS Petaluma, California Academy of Sciences, Sonoma State University, Memorial Hospital, Sutter Health Center, Kaiser Permanente and Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma.
Participants will be invited to write about their experience at the end of the program. Teachers and parents will be asked to comment on changes they notice in the students.
Onye Onyemaechi is founder and executive director of Village Rhythms. He performs and teaches at academic institutions, organizations, and conferences around the world and has been featured on NBC and the Wisdom Channel. He has over 20 years experience educating youth in both public and private schools. Onye is a master drummer, percussionist and dancer, performing/recording artist, folklorist and educator from the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria. His programs for children have earned him a McDonald’s Foundation Recognition Award and he has been featured on NBC and the Wisdom Channel. He has been a member of the Massachusetts Performing Arts Student Series, Young Audiences of San Jose, Young Imagination, and is currently on the artist roster of ArtsBank Education programs, Cultural Arts Council of Santa Cruz and the League of Volunteers in California. His programs emphasize the importance of modeling positive attitudes, promoting learning, respect for self and others, building unity in communities and enhancing cultural diversity awareness. Since 1999, Onye has been an artist in the California Arts Council"s Local Arts Education Partnership (LAEP) grant program with Santa Rosa City School District.
Onye’s school and public performances have earned him a Ronald MacDonald’s foundation recognition award. Onye’s contagious joy of life and delight in young people provide a vibrant and uplifting experience of African celebration. He earned a BA in Fine Arts from College of the Holy Cross and MBA with an emphasis in international business from Boston College School of Management.
Many organizations fund these events via PTA, grants, community sponsors, libraries and budgets for diversity and African-American History Month.
Foundations: Sebastopol Center for the Arts (501.3.c) can act as fiscal agent for grants to Village Rhythms.
Contact Onye to bring his motivational program to your school: 707-528-4458.