WACAI's After School Program at Fairfield Elementary School

Alseny and Fairfield Students drumming

West African Cultural Arts Institute partnered with Fairfield Elementary School to offer 28 students grades 3-5 an amazing after school opportunity! This After School Program gave an intensive look at the culture of Guinea through 5 weeks of interactive music and dance classes, Monday-Thursday from 2:45-4:30 pm, October 19th-November 19th. Click here to check out our program's pictures!

These classes were held in the new school gymnasium and the Culminating Event was presented on the gym's beautiful new stage. This exciting culminating event which was uniquely for the entire Fairfield Elementary School community was completely FREE and showcased students performing what they learned in the After School classes as well as feature Fefafe, a group of authentic artists from Guinea. This group featured Alseny and Papa Yansane, co- facilitators of WACAI's After School Program as well as Ibrahima Sory Sylla, Lamine Camara, Facinet Sylla, and Fode Ismael Sylla.

It was so much fun to get to know the kids who participated, watched their progress as they learned how to make the different sounds on the drum, played the drum signals and accompaniment parts, broke through some technical barriers, and used their creativity to problem solve. Kids were also very expressive during our dance section either collaborating with others to dance duets or individually move their bodies to the rhythm of the drums. Some parents shared with us that their child looked forward to coming to school because of our After School "Club" and for the first time their kids started talking about music, even expressing interest in joining band. Another parent said that although she has been trying to get her son to play her drum at home, he never did until he attended our program. His Mom said, "you guys made drumming cool!" The kids also got to learn and practice what it takes to perform with proper backstage etiquette, one-stage presence, smooth transitions between pieces, and group choreography.

Here is a quote from one of our students: "What I have learned about drumming is that you have to play a steady beat and know where to hit the drum to get the different sounds. Drumming makes me feel good! I also learned that when you work in a group you have to work together. Working in a group makes me feel confident." Geneva M., 5th grade

This project is made possible in part by a grant by Lane Arts Council with support from the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division.