The Delaware Interfaith Peace Drums Project is a conflict resolution initiative involving Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth from Northern Israel. This unique project brings together Jewish middle school students from the Leo Baeck Education Center (Haifa) and Muslim and Christian students from the Mar Elias School in Ibillin (the Galilee) to learn rhythm and harmony, peacemaking and reconciliation, through the shared activity of a dynamic steel drum band.
Founded by Delaware Churches for Mid-East Peace and created by University of Delaware Associate Professor of Percussion Harvey Price, the band is traveling to the U.S. in April 2016 to demonstrate their new passion for Caribbean steel drum music as well as their commitment to each other and to peace and reconciliation in the region.
“We are teaching our Christian and Muslim students respect for our Jewish neighbors in the best way – by involving them in activities like making music together and becoming good friends in the process. They learn each person has a heart and that they can grow to love one another, just as their parents love them.”
– Micha Chacour, Superintendent of the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin
Harvey Price had the idea many years ago to form a steel band of Jewish and Arab students in Israel as a way to get them to see each other in a different light. Price decided that steel drums would be ideal because they are instruments from Trinidad and have nothing to do with either culture – Arab or Jewish – and would be something brand new for all the students. He was right. The students love the drums and are forging deep connections with each other. In 2013, with the support of clergy from Delaware Churches for Mid-East Peace, Price’s dream became a reality. He now travels to Israel several times a year to work with the students and their music teachers.
“During our rehearsals we learn to cooperate and be in rhythm and harmony. We learn to work together, help each other out and collaborate in order to create music.” – Leo Baeck Education Center Peace Drums participant
These youth will become models for others to come together through music and to focus on their similarities instead of their differences.