The pa-rum-pa-pum-pums of some little drummer boys and girls will soon echo through the halls of Ferndale Community Center. Starting August 18, the North Charleston-based center will be home to a new after-school program run by The Music Battery, which was recently founded by Daniel Island-based music educators Braeden Kerschner and Kris Manning. The non-profit corporation provides eight to 14-year-old children with free after school music and homework instruction, with a particular emphasis on drum line skills.
“Music matters,” says Kerschner, who also instructs at and owns Black Tie Music Academy. “Drumming, in particular, is unique in its ability to encourage discipline and self-confidence.” Through the program, students will learn marching, maneuvering, and how to play their drum, while also learning instrument care and teamwork.
Drumming won’t be the only focus though. Since Kerschner is the music director of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the former director of the Citadel Gospel Choir, he decided to make sure there’s an appeal for kids who don’t play instruments by adding a gospel choir to the mix. “We want to offer something for every kid so they can be part of something bigger than themselves,” says Kerschner. He will direct the choir and play piano while Manning plays the drums. “The kids lit up when we sang ... Joyful noise and hearts filled the room!” Manning says of the response to the choir at tryouts.
The Music Battery isn’t just about music, though. “Music is where education meets entertainment,” according to Kerschner. So making sure school is the students’ priority will come first. The program will begin the afternoon with a tutoring session. Only upon completion of all schoolwork are students permitted to head to the practice rooms to play instruments. Although Kerschner and Manning will lead the tutoring themselves, retired and active teacher-volunteers will be on hand as well.
Auditions for the group ran from Aug. 11-15 and, according to Manning, had a great turn out. They’re just working to get more donations for school supplies, snacks, drums, and uniforms. “I’m going to say it. Money is the biggest need we have right now,” Manning admits. “Right now the kids are playing on paint buckets.”
“The Music Battery is a cultural draw for the general public to connect with, hear, and see their youth perform. We’re thrilled each and every day and can’t wait to see the program flourish,” says Manning. They already have a concert scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on November 14 at the Ferndale Community Center featuring the choir, drum line, and dance group. “This will be our big fundraising event to raise money to purchase drums,” according to Manning.
The Music Battery program begins Aug. 18 and run Monday through Friday, 4-7 p.m. You can donate to the program on its website here