The goal of the Peace Drums Project is to create a connection and bonding between Jewish and Arab Israeli kids through music.
The group consists of a variety of students from the Leo Baeck Middle School and the Mar Elias School in Ibillin. I would say that it is very successful so far. I am one of the students from Leo Baeck that participates in the project and I find the kids from Mar Elias very delightful and amidable. I enjoy playing the drums with them.
Harvey Price, the founder of the Peace Drums Project, comes to Israel from time to time all the way from Philadelphia to work with us. In April of this year, our group is flying all the way to the U.S.A to perform in Washington D.C, Philadelphia and New York City.
We play Caribbean drums, also known as Steel Drums. I play the Double Second position. There are five different types of drums that we play: The Lead Pan, the Double Second Pan, the Cello Pan, the Guitar Pan, and the Six Pan Bass.
We learn new songs every week, and need to know how to play 10 perfectly (as perfect as perfect gets) by the time we leave to perform in the U.S.
Sometimes it’s a little hard to pick up on the new beat for each song, but with practice and our great music teachers we learn how to play the melodies well.
Altogether our full group is made up of 19 kids: Ten from Ibillin (5 girls and 5 boys) and nine from Haifa (5 boys and 4 girls). We are all very excited about our upcoming trip and committed to being the best we can be together.
The project isn’t all about the Steel Drums. It’s about getting Jewish and Arab kids to get along with each other and connect socially. Besides playing the drums together, we also do fun stuff from time to time. Next month the kids from Mar Elias are coming over to Leo Baeck to have a fun day with us at the pool in the Leo Baeck Sports Center.
In March, we are going over to Ibillin for a two day intensive rehearsal session. On the second day, Harvey Price will be joining us, where we will be performing for all of the parents.
Besides our upcoming series of performances in the U.S, we perform in Israel as well. Last month we played at Beit Hagefen in Haifa for the Rotary Club and the many people who they were honoring for outstanding work in Jewish-Arab relations.
I am planning to continue to participate in this project for as long as I can. I look forward to every rehearsal and meeting with my new Arab friends. I had never connected with any musical instrument before I joined the Peace Drums Project, but the steel drums have now become one of my passions.