Kevin Martin can light up a room just by walking into it. That’s just what happened earlier this month when he was a guest artist teaching a group of school kids at Southern Middle School in Anne Arundel County as part of the Young Audiences program in Maryland.
He has been playing, building, and teaching people to play steel drum instruments for over twenty years. His company, Rockcreek Steel Drums has built and sold thousands of steel drum instruments in over 40 countries. He’s passionate about what he does and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Take for example the day that Sugar Farm (this time was Alison and Joe on the job) showed up bright and early in the morning to follow he and his brother Sean (who usually accompanies him) over to the middle school. The rain was falling so hard that morning as they loaded their gear into their car and Kevin was smiling from ear to ear.
After driving through the downpour to the school, the guys loaded their gear up and Joe and I started to talk about what approach we were going to take. As Kevin was warming up, he started playing “Blue Skies”, a classic Irving Berlin tune and just as quickly as the rain had fallen, the skies opened up and the sun peeked through. I thought to myself, “that’s just like Kevin…to make the rain come to a halt with his happy music.”
The rest of the assembly continued to inspire and amaze both Joe and I. The kids boisterously came into the cafeteria and took their seats. How anyone can keep the attention of a room packed full of energized middle schoolers is beyond me, but Kevin seemed to do it effortlessly.
Watching the expressions on the kids faces made my day. These days, it seems to take a lot to impress them with all the technology they are surrounded with. The sounds of the steel drum took them off to another place that day, a place far away hopefully free from all the technology and encouraged them to explore a genre of music they may have never known.
Together with Young Audiences, the largest non profit organazation in the country which brings teaching artists and art programs to our schools, Kevin offers programs geared towards empowering children to learn with music, creating interactive events that bolster a childs’ confidence, as well as putting a smile on the face of everyone involved.
It is truly a pleasure watching him in action.