This is no ordinary marching band.
Not affiliated with any church, school or organization, the Greater
Baton Rouge Marching Drum Corps and Starette Dancers - a group of more
than 40 youths, boys and girls aged 7 and up - march in-time along the railroad tracks in south
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A marching band for the community, the group is formed of
underprivileged kids from some of the city’s poorest areas.
Tairone Joseph, a 35-year-old bus driver from the same area, founded the band to help the youth in his area
become involved in a worthwhile activity.
The 15 or so girls have split off to form their own marching band dance team –
under the guidance of Alexis Brown, a 25-year-old volunteer dance
Under the direction of Joseph, the roughly 25 marching youths pound
drums, cymbals, buckets, or when nothing can be found, the air, as
they parade along the tracks in a style that could rival a
conventional high school marching band at half-time.
The problem is, only seven drums are available to share around the
multitude of drummers, several of which are barely usable and without
shoulder harnesses. When these harnesses break, the band marches
forward then stops to play, often times having to put the drums on the
Despite the hardships, though, this small community marching band has
already performed in several local parades with success and is
continuing to grow.
With the group growing larger, and no funding available, the kindness
of strangers is needed to help keep these kids afloat.
We need help to help the band.
The band has already started to make a difference in some of these
kids’ lives. By giving these kids a chance to
participate in an organized and fun activity in their neighborhood, it
is keeping them off of the streets and out of trouble. In the
poverty-stricken areas of Baton Rouge, it is essential to grab the
interests of a kid before something negative takes them in another
They now have the opportunity to hone a skill, learn music and dance,
and develop talents that many might not have ever known they had.
By providing the kids with the actual tools they need – drums,
cymbals, harnesses, uniforms – they can practice uninterrupted without
having to trade-off drums and wait for a turn to play.
Most of the kids have never been outside of Baton Rouge, and many
have never stayed in a hotel room. With funding, the group can have an
opportunity to travel to different areas of the state and see just a
little bit more of the world around them.
What We Need
Our immediate goal is to get this group to Shreveport, La., to march
in the Mardi Gras Day parade - giving them an opportunity to see more
of the state outside of their hometown. With 40 kids, this isn't an
easy task, but it will be a great first time experience fore these
kids to stay in a clean hotel room and watch some cable TV.
More important, though, is the need for supplies. We want to get a
drum or cymbal into as many hands as possible, uniforms for the
drummers and dancers, and essential supplies – drum sticks, straps and
pads – to keep these dedicated kids playing.
We estimate this could take at least $5000, or $125 a child.
All funds raised will go directly to the band, and excesses can always buy new
supplies, storage for drums, and small luxuries, like a pizza party
for the kids after the march, or an ice chest for drinks.
These funds will also help go towards entry fees for parades and
transportation and gas.
A surplus will always allow room to take on and equip new members.
We want to keep these kids interested in music and involved. For some
this is the only chance they will have to get outside of the
neighborhoods they grew up in, and a chance to change their futures
for the better.
They have been creating friendships across different neighborhoods
that normally would never happen - friendships that teach cooperation
- and it’s important to bring together even more kids from varied areas.
Other Ways You Can Help
Watch the video at top. Spread the word around Facebook and Twitter.
And if you can, help one of these kids drum out a future that could
change their world.
no ordinary marching band