Bristol students drum to the beat of international peace
A local student-percussion group called
“Drummers With Attitude” (DWA) will drum up support for peace at the United
Nations International Day of Peace, which will be held Oct. 3 in Bucks County
The International Day of Peace, started by the United
Nations in 1981, is an annual event aimed at celebrating and spreading the word
Bucks County’s Day of Peace will feature speakers who will
explore topics including diversity, peace and homelessness. There will also be
live performances that celebrate diversity, such as the DWA’s.
made up of students from the Bristol Township School District, who drum on
four-gallon buckets rather than traditional drums.
DWA advisor Kevin
Travers, a special education teacher at Benjamin Franklin Freshman Academy,
started the program in 2000 as a mentoring opportunity for students. The group
has performed at a half time show for the 76ers, for Mayor Nutter, at a WXPN
music festival and for the Trenton Thunder.
The group, open to students
in sixth grade and up, began with six members and has grown to about 100 student
members. Students who have graduated from the school district often return to
perform with the group.
DWA includes male and female students from a
wide range of backgrounds. “The program is really designed to include everybody
and make them feel like they have a safe haven,” Travers said.
started the group as a place for students who may encounter difficulties or
challenges outside of school. The group has never performed at the Day of Peace
event before, but typically performs at events with similar positive messages.
The overall message of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace is for
people of different countries and backgrounds to come together in the name of
During the performance, students will play three musical pieces
on drums written by Travers that are each about five minutes in length, and some
students participate in a hip hop dance routine in front of the drummers.
“It’s something that every student can be a part of no matter what skill
level they are at. If they don’t know how to perform or even hold a drumstick,
we invite them in with open arms and teach them how to do it,” Travers said.
Derek Seip, 14, is a ninth-grader at Ben Franklin Freshman Academy and a
member of DWA. Seip, a receiver on the school’s football team, joined DWA in
“We get to meet new people, do new things, and go to
performances and games. It’s a fun program and a big family,” Seip said.
In addition to the student drumming group, local educational
singer-songwriter Jonathan Sprout and local choirs will perform. Arts and crafts
activities for children and discussions on current peace and human justice
issues will also be held.
The third annual event was organized by a
plethora of organizations: United Nations Association of Bucks County; BuxMont
Coalition for Peace Action; Bucks County Human Relations Council; American Red
Cross of Bucks County; The Peace Center in Langhorne; the Buddhist Sangha of
Bucks County; Sacred Paths Community; St. John Evangelist Church in Morrisville;
and the Zubaida Foundation of Yardley.
The BuxMont Coalition for Peace
Action chapter, a group against war and nuclear weapons, will feature a
discussion by coordinator Bill Deckhart on a peace economy versus a war economy,
the creation of green jobs, and alternative energy.
President of the
Bucks County chapter of the United Nations Association Charley Peterson said the
goal of the event is to promote peace and awareness about local hunger and
“It’s an opportunity to get the message of peace out to
the public and let them know we haven’t forgotten about it,” he said.