Cherokee Elementary marches to beat of new drum circle

Cherokee music teacher Matthew Brickey has started a drum circle for students, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays before school starts. The students performed for the school during a program before Christmas break. PHOTO BY COLLIN BROOKS

Anyone roaming the halls in the mornings at Cherokee Elementary may notice a bit more noise than normal, but that isn’t such a bad thing. The extra ruckus comes from the new Morning Drum Circle.

Cherokee music teacher Matthew Brickey started the group this year, and they meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning before the school day begins.

The group is open to third- and fourth-grade students, and the average attendance has grown to 25 students.

“It has been very exciting to witness the level of engagement and commitment that has been displayed from each of the students participating in the morning drum circle,” Cherokee Principal Richard Hutson said. “Mr. Brickey has done a fantastic job of cultivating these students’ talent and developing their competency during this enrichment exercise.”

The idea to start such a program came from a desire to offer more extracurricular activities for students to choose from before the school day begins. Many students arrive early and giving them the opportunity to participate in something musical helps get the day started off with something fun.

“Giving the students a chance to be a part of an ensemble is important,” Brickey said. “They feel proud of the music they make together. When the students arrive in the mornings they rush down to the music room to get started. A few teachers have dropped by too, and the kids love performing for their teachers.”

Brickey decided to offer the morning drum circle in hopes to grow and build the group into an ambassador performance ensemble. He plans to showcase the students’ musical talent in performances at school and around the community. The ensemble had their first performance on Dec. 20.

“I decided to start the drum circle to provide students with options for extracurricular activities in the mornings,” Brickey said. “Before the drum circle, students had the option of morning mile – when the weather cooperates – and staying in the gym. I wanted to start the drum circle as something to get kids excited about coming to school.”

Brickey said that he hopes the drum circle will continue to grow and he said that he may implement a “before school chorus” and instrument ensemble as well.

“When children are part of a community where they feel valued, safe and loved, they have fun. When students have fun they will learn, grow and succeed,” Brickey said.


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