Camp Halim Debut

During our inaugural camp week, almost 40 youth from the Villages at Franklin Crossing (Kent, OH) participated in drumming, dancing, storytelling and musical games. A small but mighty contingent performed the Camp Halim debut at the 2015 Kent Heritage Festival on July 4. Crowds grew quickly as we played.

To open the concert, we honored self-respect Coach Valorie Robinson, a LoveLight board member, and all she taught us about seeing and sharing the beauty in ourselves and in the world around us. We said and then played a variety of rhythmic phrases: “Work smarter, not harder” (Coach Adrienne Cobb), “Always follow instructions” (Mr. Joe Shaw), “I like my television” (Josh), “I can share wi-fi” (Isiyah), “I can share a cupcake” (Neveah), “I am awesome” (Isiyah) and “I am different, y’all” (Tiffany). As we played these rhythmic phrases, we affirmed the speech and essence of one another, and had fun with dense and sophisticated duple and triple rhythms.

Camp Halim youth wet the audience’s appetite for Step Team, a community dance tradition of African-American fraternities and sororities. L-O-V-E-L-I-G-H-T, LL drills were designed by LoveLight youth workers, and their involvement was funded by Ohio Means Jobs.

I was glad to bring my teacher, Kazadi wa Mukuna, to introduce Camp Halim youth to the West African jazz style featured in Les Wanyika’s “Sina Makosa.” Pae Stovall was our saxophone soloist.

Our finale was an “ABCs” rendition of kpanlogo. Coaches Samuel Boateng, Nick Butto, Shasha Zhu, Adalyn Hurst and Pae Stovall inspired street dancing with master drummer Olu Manns and special guest Dr. Kazadi on djembe.

Next year, we will need an encore number as our fans in the audience were crying out for more. Camp Halim youth shone like the stars!