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Music teachers, students use drumming to create healing in community

'Sometimes you just gotta let it out.'

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“It requires teamwork. It requires you to be able to work with others in a positive way," said Greg Fernandes.

Music teacher Greg Fernandes leads this drum circle of Brockton Public School kids.

As for the drums, they are recycled tires that the students cleaned, taped and decorated.

"I was impressed because it turned out to be like a really nice creation," said seventh grader Sky-la Wilson.

Once the drums were ready, Fernandes spent the summer teaching students to use them.

"Within a day he had them playing in a way that didn't just sound like a bunch of noise, but they were in unison. So it was really exciting," said Chief Officer of Student Support Services of Brockton Public Schools Sharon Wolder.

Fernandes used to teach at private schools but felt his work was needed in his hometown of Brockton now more than ever.

"Number one, which is you just a steady beat on base. And then number two, which is base tone, tone, base, tone," said seventh grader Jaseyla Pereira.

"We were significantly impacted by COVID. And then after the George Floyd murder and the protest, and there were protests in Brockton. We wanted to make sure that our students had someplace that they could go. That was a positive outlet," said Wolder.

"I struggled with that identity. Who am I, where do I fit in? And so my thing is to help these kids feel comfortable in their skin, who they are," said Fernandes.

"There's times I get mad and, like, there's times I just want to bang a drum because it lets you cool down. You start to have fun with it too, and you start getting rhythms. I definitely want to drum more," said fifth grader John Williams Jr.

"Especially in this time with they're on these computers so much, and they're sitting still, sometimes you just gotta let it out," said Fernandes.