Rockaway Marching Band Spreads The Sound Of Music
Pastor Jaime Robinson, of the Faith In Action Ministry (Ministerio Fe En Accion) in Jamaica, had an idea a few years ago. The Rockaway resident wanted to start a marching band with the children from his church. Three months ago, that dream became a reality when the Far Rockaway Community Marching Band began rehearsals.
Robinson is a resident of Far Rockaway and most of his parishioners come from the Rockaways.
The goal of the band is a simple one – to work with children in the community to teach music and discipline.
“The band is a way to make kids focus and obey in different areas of life,” Robinson told The Wave. “[Learning music] is a lifetime’s worth of work.”
The current band members are examples of Robinson’s goal to teach the young people music.
“All the kids couldn’t play in the beginning, but they liked music…now they can play.”
Although Robinson envisions a band with all kinds of instruments, at the moment the only instrument in the band is drums. The brass section will begin to form when Bugles will soon be added.
There is one obstacle that must be overcome to equip the band correctly – that of finances. Robinson wants to provide the band with good quality new drums that, like in all marching bands, match in color.
Robinson said that the least expensive new drum could be bought for around $150, but a good quality mid-price drum costs around $350. The sticks are $8 a pair and other accessories can raise the price of a good, new drum to almost $400. The band currently plays used drums, which are in different colors.
“We are trying to organize some activity to raise money,” he said.
The current drums are given to the children to take home and parents will eventually reimburse the purchase price. Parents are also responsible for the price of the uniform, which costs $15.
Since Robinson doesn’t want to turn anyone away who shows an interest in the band, anybody from the Rockaways, adults and children (regardless of age) are welcome.
Robinson’s daughter, who is three years old, twirls a baton in the band.
“If we limit it [membership in the band] only to 21 to 25 year-olds and if someone [younger or older] comes with skills…we don’t want to leave anyone out.”
The band currently rehearses in Bayswater Park on Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (6 p.m.) nights.
“We want to practice all year round,” said Robinson. “We are trying to get one of the [Rockaway] schools to practice in during the winter.”
The band has performed in Manhattan, Brooklyn and at the Function for the Junction event at Bayswater Park in July.
They will soon be returning to Brooklyn to perform. For information about the Far Rockaway Community Marching Band, Robinson can be reached at 718 471-3550 or 516 779-7097.