July 13, 2013
LIMA — They were taught by the likes of Lima schools music teachers Jim Leaman, Fred Weymer, Paul Krouskop and Charles Cheuvront.
Now Jesse Lowe II and Pilate Bradley want to be the teachers; not only of music, but of life.
“They pretty much taught us everything we know. We both looked up to them as mentors growing up in the Lima City School system,” Lowe said. “They were always on us. Not only did they teach us how to read music and how to play music, but they also taught us how to be upright young men.”
Music was an outlet for Lowe and Bradley, both former drummers in the Lima Senior Marching Pride. It kept them off the streets and now they want to give back.
The two are offering free drum lessons twice a month at the Bradfield Community Center. Participants, in fifth- through 12th-grade, will be members of High Octane Drumline, a group that will eventually perform and compete.
Participants do not have to know anything about music to join and they don’t need their own drums. The Lima Rotary Club donated money to purchase five snare drums, two base drums, two sets of cymbals and two quads.
“We had been practicing on the back of chairs and practice pads, anything we could get a hold of, and the kids were still coming,” Lowe said.
The drumline focuses on the kinds of music, like pop, R&B and hip-hop, that youth listen to today.
Lowe and Bradley first worked with a small group of youth last summer at Bradfield. The group marched and played in Lima’s Labor Day Parade and won a trophy. The success and excitement they saw in the youth sparked the two to do more.
Bradley said the drumline is a positive activity for youth and is an extension of the education they are getting in school. It is the kind of education and guidance he received from his music teachers.
“It was a great opportunity for us and we are just trying to turn that around and share our skills with these kids,” he said.
Participants so far, both boys and girls, come from Lima schools, Perry, Shawnee and Lima Central Catholic. Lowe said anyone is welcome, although the focus is on inner city youth. The two want to be mentors for the drumline, which includes members without father figures in their lives.
“We just want to be positive role models in these kids’ lives,” Lowe said. “We are trying our best to get them to do the right thing. This outlet allows them a positive way to express themselves.”
The group practices from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Bradfield, 550 S Collett St. Youth do not have to register ahead of time. For information, call Bradfield at 419-228-7766.