RAYLAND - The Brightway Center's Fun Fest held Saturday at Buckeye Local High School brought out the talent of some of the youngsters in attendance who used drumsticks on buckets to pound out a rhythm.
Fifteen students called to the front, two on bongos, several on rhythm instruments and many on buckets.
Elec Simon, who graduated from the school and went on to the University of Akron, is dancing in the Broadway show "Stomp."
KEEPING THE RHYTHM — Elec Simon called on some young people from the audience to use drumssticks on buckets to play in rhythm at the Buckeye Local Fun Fest held Saturday at Buckeye Local High School. - Esther McCoy
Along with dancing and playing drums in his band, Elec Simon and Friends, he takes part in a bullying school assembly tour.
He has been working with the youth development program in Bethesda, with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and juvenile officials for five years.
Simon cited the tragic incident of his best friend, a star wrestler from Buckeye Local who committed suicide because he was bullied.
"He died because there was nothing for him to live for anymore," he said, adding his heart was broken over the loss of a friend. "My message is to respect your teachers and one another."
Simon and his band played, with Simon making rhythm using tables, chairs and even the floor.
He interjected comments such as "No one can tell you negative things about yourself and make you feel bad unless you let them. You have to keep going, no matter what."
"When somebody tells you that you can't do something, stand up and say 'Yes I can,'" Simon told the audience of adults and youngsters.
Band members included Chase Williams, drums; Dallas Baldwin, guitar; Steve Fernandez, bass; Christian Williams, alto sax; and Shawn Cartel, emcee and poet.
Simon and the band will be playing at River City in Wheeling on July 12.
Ivory Williams joined Simon in playing the bongos and the tambourines. A storyteller, Williams talked about working with the group EFFICACY and interacting with ninth-grade students in Detroit schools.
He creates his own type of contemporary folktales about life experiences and has worked with the staff and youth at the Brightway Center in Smithfield in the past.
There was a youth fun time before the start of the program, and snacks were available.