A View from the Green Room

25399127_10213972748580137_5229056583165932253_nIt's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in a Green Room at Yakima's Capital Theater among 32 chattering teenagers who are known throughout the Tri-Cities as "Bram Brata," a talented steel drum band from the Tri-Cities.  They're nervous but excited as they wait to practice with the Yakima Symphony before their performance tonight.  With the noise, I could be going a little crazy . . . but instead, I'm soaking it all in, feeling so very grateful to be here.  This tightknit group who considers themselves not just band members, but dear friends is a result of years of band practices, gigs, and events.  The devotion along with the result will make any parent swell with pride and happiness.

These kids who have grown-up from the ages of about 12 within the organization called TCSBA (Tri-Cities Steel Band Association) and have made life-long bonds through playing the most magical sounds on steel drums that make it impossible to do anything but smile when you hear it.  In addition to the older steel drum band, there is a younger middle school aged band.  There are two marimba bands as well, one younger and one older.

The kids love being a part of these bands, led by amazing music directors, Ben Leggett and Walt Hampton, who have devoted their lives to fostering a love of music:

"The best thing about performing is watching people's reactions to the music and seeing on their faces how they hear the music," Sophia says as her mother is beaming.  Jasmine says, "when I'm performing with the band, I get this incredible rush of adrenaline that just makes me feel so happy, I can't be nervous."

Learning how to perform under pressure is a great skill to learn.  But more than that, the opportunity to know how a high-functioning team can function is a skill that will last a lifetime.

"It's so much fun to be onstage with all my friends in band and it's just amazing.  Being in a group as close as this, it kinda forces you to get super close with everyone.  You do things you wouldn't normally do and you make friends with people you wouldn't normally talk to.  It's super awesome to have the opportunity to be a part of something so awesome," says Jasmine.  "We have each other's backs and we joke around a lot. We have inside jokes and it is really fun playing in a band. We also have to practice hard," says Sophia.

So, if you're looking for something special to have your child get involved in, check out TCSBA!  Our organization offers steel drum and marimba classes for children of all ages.

And come check out the kids in action!  For the last 23 years we've hosted a spectacular Christmas concert where all four bands will perform.  You can enjoy the wonderful music along with a silent auction and bake sale.  Our concert is Saturday, December 15th at Bethel Church, 600 Shockley Road, Richland.  Doors open at 5:30pm, show starts at 6:30pm. Tickets are $7.50 and can be purchased at www.TCSBA.org.  You can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TCSBA/ -


Shannon Davis, mother of Jakob and Meghan, and TCSBA family member since 2014.

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