AFRICA: The Continent, Armstrong Middle School Community Night

Friday, February 20, 2015


Dr. Bob contributed to the Armstrong Middle School AFRICA program through collaboration with Mrs. Staggers, the drama teacher, and Mr. Staggers, the general music teacher.  The AFRICA program on February 19th was the school’s Community Night celebration of Black History Month.  Dr. Bob began working with Mrs. Staggers in January to help the students with their theatrical production of an African folktale called “Anansi and the Drum.”  Dr. Bob also taught the students how to sing a song from Ghana called “Dekawowo me nuse le.”  Selected students also played drums and percussion (xylophone, iron bell, and gourd rattle) or learned the Ghanaian boboobo dance to go with the song.  The anansi story teaches a lessons of why the drum is important for communication in Africa and why everyone in the village is important for the success of the community.  The song celebrates the strength of unity and teamwork which corresponds to the message of the story. Dr. Bob also joined Mr. Staggers and his general music class for a performance of an African-inspired welcome song called “Fanga Alafia.”  The school-wide celebration of African history and culture also included the AMS Chorus singing “Siyahamba” under the direction of Ruby Brenner, “Africata” played by the AMS Band under the direction of Cathy Baker, and “Fanga Alafia” and “Abo Asi Me Nsa” as taught by Ward-Stewart music teacher Beverly Doremus.  Other features of the cultural event included the Art/Writing Gallery in the school cafeteria and the giant National Geographic Map in the gym.  The entire production was organized by AMS Principal Bourne, his assistant principals including James Gassaway, and the AMS teachers.  Dr. Bob will return to AMS on February 27th for two encore school assembly programs in celebration of Black History Month and African heritage.

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