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Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, PA) - July 21, 2006

Their music is something you feel more than hear.

BY BEN FINLEY

COURIER TIMES

A group of Bristol Township students on Sunday will play the same music festival as legendary punk rockers the New York Dolls and the prolific New Orleans R&B virtuoso Allen Toussaint.

Benjamin Franklin Middle School's Drummers with Attitude will kick off the third day of the All About the Music Festival in Camden, an annual concert put on by the University of Pennsylvania's radio station, WXPN.

Unlike the other acts, they won't play guitars or bass or horns. They're just going to bang on some plastic, 4-gallon sour cream buckets donated by Mother's Kitchen bakery in Burlington.

You'd think plastic buckets would offer only one-dimensional thudding. But, in fact, they produce a diverse barrage of tonality and beats. The songs are even sectioned out, carrying the listener on a sort of rhythmic journey.

The spectrum of sound comes down to where you hit the bucket, drummer Wayne Miletto explained at a recent practice. Hit the center for bass and the rim for a higher-pitched crack. Hit the drumsticks together for an even lighter sound.

Their songs nod to African tribal rhythms but change pace quickly. A base beat usually holds each piece together while drumstick hits to the rims pound out what at least sounds like complicated fills and rhythms.

The music is something you feel more than hear.

Dancing complements the drumming. Brothers Justin and Saun Waiters spontaneously rise from their drums during a performance, chopping the air with their hands and sliding their shoes against the floor in freestyle dancing.

Kevin Travers, a teacher at Franklin who leads the group, said a local television station's feature on the drummers caught the eyes and ears of WXPN's midday host Helen Leight. She invited the kids to the station's Philadelphia studio for a listen and then invited them to the festival.

The kids practiced this week, sitting in a semicircle with their buckets between their knees. Two janitors cleaning up Franklin's auditorium roared in applause.

"I love the hype," said Justin Waiters. "It's the excitement - the way the crowd gets into it."

Drummers with Attitude play Sunday at WXPN's All About the Music Festival at Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront. They will play at noon on the Marina Stage. For more information, visit www.xpn.org.

Ben Finley can be reached at 215-949-4048 or bfinley@phillyBurbs.com.

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Index Terms: STORY
Record Number: 11310FD7CC80A850
Copyright 2006 Bucks County Courier Times