BlogExplosion

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Come They Told Me… Drummer Boys from Bonnie Brae in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Will Attend Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC

Instead of jumping on the media bad news bandwagon, my blogosphere buddy Rambler has a regular "good news" post on her Lofty Matters site about the good things happening around the world each week. Starting today, I'm going to share some local good news and hope that we'll have enough good news in Morris and Somerset County, NJ, to justify a weekly column on Roxy's Best Of… and Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new President to see, pa rum pum pum pum
To march in the parade, pa rum pum pum pum
Traveling to DC, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Barack Obama, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no uniform
That's fit to wear on TV,
pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Committee gave the nod, pa rum pum pum pum
The media helped out, pa rum pum pum pum
We'll play our drums for him, pa rum pum pum pum
We'll play our best for him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

They're going to smile at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

According to a recent front page article in The Bernardsville News, "a wave of media coverage and generosity has greeted efforts to equip the Bonnie Brae Knights drum corps for its march in President-elect Barack Obama's historic inauguration parade" on Tuesday, January 20th. When the Presidential Inaugural Committee selected the school's drum corps from among 1,382 applicants as one of only 49 groups that would march in the parade, the Bonnie Brae Knights suddenly found that its band needed uniforms, drums, equipment and funds for transportation to Washington, DC. Since the school's boys are from broken homes and typically play on old, taped up drum sets, their plight struck a chord with the media. Television news crews descended upon Bonnie Brae's campus on Valley Road in Basking Ridge, with network broadcasts featuring the band of T-shirt-clad boys banging away on their drums. William Powers, the school's executive director, said: "We are the center of a media firestorm – a good firestorm. This is kind of a feel-good, underdog story….People are responding. The support from the community has been from top to bottom." Verizon Communications, Chubb Insurance and Novartis Pharmaceuticals offered help, while countless individuals have donated $5, $10 and up. Supporters have included Bob Morrison of the Music for all Foundation, which is providing Pearl drums and uniforms; John Farbman of Drill Masters, which is providing shoes; and the Jonathan Krist Foundation of New Hope, Pennsylvania, which donated $2,000 toward bus transportation. Max Weinberg, drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and the bandleader of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, also called the school and offered to help with drums. Thanks to the generosity of these supporters, the Bonnie Brae Knights have now raised all they need to get to Washington DC and back.


Bonnie Brae has been around since 1916 and is one of New Jersey's largest residential treatment centers for abused, neglected and abandoned boys. It currently has 98 boys ranging in age from 8 to 18. The drum group was formed only four years ago and has no band director. The Bonnie Brae Knights seemed an unlikely choice to march in the prestigious inaugural parade. While only eight boys were in the drum corps when the choice was announced, four openings were quickly filled, and the band has since grown to 20 or 25 members. Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., wrote a letter on the Knights' behalf to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, which works with the Presidential Inaugural Committee to select participating groups. "The Bonnie Brae Knights drum corps is one of the most talented groups in New Jersey," Senator Lautenberg said in a statement. "Their story, their talent and their commitment to excellence landed them a tremendous honor – performing in President-elect Barack Obama's Inauguration Parade. I look forward to cheering them on and am honored that they will help represent New Jersey at this historic event." The inaugural parade on January 20, 2009 will be a proud moment for the Bonnie Brae Knights – and for all of us cheering them on from New Jersey.


Go Knights!

1 comments:

LadyJava said...

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