Caloosa students shine at Rhythmic Taste and Tell show
A group of Caloosa Middle School students performed their music, got the audience to join in, then showed off the recipes they learned at the third annual “Rhythmic Taste and Tell” show held Thursday at the school.
For the students, it was a chance to show to their family, friends and administrators what they had learned throughout the school year, as well as to show how much the drum circle has helped them to improve as students.
The children had their chance to shine on the drums and other percussion instruments before joining the audience for a buffet of their favorite recipes that staff recreated for them.
Karen Whiteman, a life skills teacher at Caloosa, said there is a connection between cooking and music.
“Part of their curriculum is a cooking activity that connects to a story. The kids chose 10 of their favorite recipes to be served for this,” Whiteman said. “I also teach drumming because it’s a link to education and it enhances math and reading skills. Research has been done on that.”
Whiteman enlisted the help of her husband, Rick, who is a professional drummer. He led the students in a warm up to the event before moving over for their turn.
The students played a game called “Call and Response,” where Mrs. Whiteman served as the drum leader and the students had to pay attention to the hand signals she used for stop, play louder or play faster.
They also did a percussion choir, where the students were divided into four groups, with each one playing a different instrument.
Those who came also got to join in the jam. Guests were given percussion instruments such as tambourines, maracas and even bells to play.
Among them was Marshall T. Bower, president and CEO of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, which gave the program a $1,000 grant to bring it to life.
He got to play the maracas. He said he was horrible, the direct opposite of the students.
“I saw that music is the universal language and anybody can learn to play an instrument. Students who are exposed to music do better in curriculum courses,” Bower said. “It was fun because we don’t always get to see the results of what we do.”
As for the “tell” part of the show, those were the cook books given to everyone who came, so they can learn to cook what the children learned. It was their gift to the audience.
As for the kids, a new drum was given to the seven students who will be going to high school next year.
Principal Ann Cole loved how the family members got to experience what the students learned.
“They get to see the wonderful things they’re learning and I love how district staff came to see the great things happening here,” Cole said. “The kids learn math with the recipes they make and reading, and the music is great for them because everyone can participate.”
Lucia Alicea, a parent who watched her son, Fernando Julian Astorac, perform, beamed with pride at how well he did.
“I never saw him the play drums like that. He was so excited when he saw me,” Alicea said. “At home he talks about school and the teacher, what he learned and he gets right to his homework.”