Fort Worth students learn music at I.M. Terrell camp

FORT WORTH -- It sounded like a chorus of fluttering birds Friday as children played scales on their wind instruments, showing off their new skills for families and capping a special week of song.

Volunteers from the Black Musicians Association of Tarrant County staged the summer camp at I.M. Terrell Elementary School, which also included lessons in sight-reading, ear-training, harmony singing and public speaking.

"This is our first year doing this, but it's not going to be our last," said Glenn Nixon, the association's president.

Nixon works for the Fort Worth Housing Authority and directs Terrell's after-school program.

The 66 participants, ages 5 to 12, were from the Butler and Caville Place housing communities, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Presbyterian Night Shelter and elementary schools across the city.

"It teaches us mostly about stuff that most third-graders don't know," said Payton Anderson, 8, who will be a third-grader starting next month at David K. Sellars Elementary School. "This is my first time to be in front of an audience."

Payton's mom, Sherri Anderson, and her grandmother Ruby Harris attended the show and took video of Payton.

"I'm here to see the recital, see what they've learned in four days," Anderson said.

Students sang Down by the Riverside and Hound Dog, and a foursome called the BMA Rappers led the others in I Love Myself. Speeches were as lively as the music, including motivational anthems and Nadia Douglas' address in English and Spanish.

Laverne Williams, former music director for the Fort Worth school district, thanked the families.

"Without our parents, we'd have no children," Williams said. "Without our children, we have nothing."

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657