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4-10-19 — Musical Duo Brings Beat to Briarwood

April 10, 2019 ~ As soon as Briarwood Elementary School students walked into their gym one recent afternoon, they knew something special was about to happen. Dozens of drums formed a neat wall, and tiny cones marked out a performing area on the gym floor. The students knew this was a music assembly, but they didn’t know it came with some deeper messages.

The father-son duo of Johnny and Adam Pierce brought rhythm and messages of self-expression, inclusiveness and communication to Briarwood’s student body with an interactive music assembly.

“These presenters are local musicians which establishes a bond between school and our Kansas City Community,” music teacher Jill Owens-Ebmeier said. “It’s nice to have the kids be involved in performing music other than just seeing it from me in the general music classroom.”

Using drums of multiple sizes, tambourines, colorful rattles and drum sticks, the presenters involved the students as both leaders and followers. They had the crowd listening for music cues, following the lead of a single student, and moving to the music all over the gym floor.

“It’s important that our kids be exposed to different opportunities and see these instruments,” PTA President Sarah Sorrel said. A PTA fundraiser earlier in the year paid for this special event.

“It’s because of the students’ hard work that they can experience this opportunity,” Sorrel said.

Owens-Ebmeier appreciates the PTA’s support to bring the educational experience to all students.

“One of our music standards is to expose kids to different types of music professions and they were able to see performers in action in a very active environment,” she said. “Music is a wonderful tool to promote and highlight diversity in our school and community. It can help you express some of the simplest differences in each other but still promote cooperation.”

Organizing about 150 students at a time takes patience and cooperation.

“The presentation helped the students practice respect and cooperation; to work together to get the job done not only at the music level, but hopefully in everyday life,” Owens-Ebmeier said.