This spring, we were thrilled to welcome Justin Spencer and Ryan Vezina of Recycled Percussion to Birchtree for
an interactive percussion workshop. They proved that music can be a universal means of communication!
Every student in the room was able to participate, whether they joined in Justin’s beat boxing or tried body-percussion techniques demonstrated by Ryan. Students leaned in with concentration…
…as they worked to echo Justin’s increasingly complex rhythms during a call-and-response drumming session.
Near the end of the workshop, some students volunteered to come up front and drum alongside the professionals. It was a chance for students to demonstrate techniques they have learned in drumming sessions offered by Birchtree staff members and by Birchtree’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence, Randy Armstrong.
“We’re so grateful to Justin and Ryan for this incredible act of kindness,” says Executive Director Sandra Pierce-Jordan, noting that Recycled Percussion offered the workshop free of charge in recognition of Birchtree’s limited budget. The Birchtree Center receives tuition fees from the school districts that send students to the school, but those fees do not cover the full cost of the one-on-one, year-round program.
In the past two years, Birchtree’s music programs have been made possible in part thanks to support from the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving; the Wireless Zone Verizon Premium Retailers of Hooksett, Plaistow & the Concord Mall; The Fuller Foundation; the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts & the National Endowment for the Arts; the Seacoast Rotary Club; the Speedway Children’s Charities – New Hampshire chapter; and a Target Field Trip Grant.
Thank you to everyone who has helped bring music to Birchtree’s students with autism!