Arlington Citizen-Journal

Love of drumming drives free Arlington library sessions

Zachary Gilbreath, 13, left, and Gregory McHenry, 14, practice drumming during the Drumming Around Town event Saturday at the Southeast branch Arlington library.
Zachary Gilbreath, 13, left, and Gregory McHenry, 14, practice drumming during the Drumming Around Town event Saturday at the Southeast branch Arlington library. Special to the Star-Telegram

Zachary Gilbreath’s drumsticks thumped on his practice pad outside the Arlington Southeast Branch Library.

The 13-year-old from Fort Worth was practicing a layered exercise of rolls with a few other participants with varying drum experience in the library’s inaugural Drumming Around Town with Jeromy A. Bailey on Saturday afternoon.

Sometimes Gilbreath, a student at Creekview Middle School in Fort Worth, would peek at the drummer next to him.

“It’s exciting,” Gilbreath said after the exercises. “I get to play with a lot of other people I have never met.”

The Arlington Public Library’s free drum session was led and organized by Bailey, a local percussion musician. About once a month through early August at various library locations, people can join a session to learn about the drums or sharpen their chops.

Bailey works with groups including Andrew Delaney and the Horse You Rode in On, The Zac Stokes Band and Four Left Turns, and he also performs with churches.

Bailey, who teaches private lessons, approached the library with his program idea to help inspiring musicians learn about drumming, networking and more.

“Music education in my opinion is 50 to 100 years behind where it should be,” Bailey said.

Before attendees worked on drumming exercises, Bailey told them his goals for the session.

“I will find a way to make you better,” he told the group of children and adults. “We’re in this as a team.”

Grand Prairie resident Gregory McHenry, 14, plays with the Kennedy Middle School band and said his instructor suggested that he attend.

McHenry said the inaugural session was kind of easy but still cool, and he plans to attend the next one. He said the hook was getting to do what he loves outside the classroom.

“It’s cool to do it outside of practice and outside of school,” he said.

LaTonya Lynch, community programming librarian, said the event matches the library’s goals of supporting public schools and the fine arts with hands-on learning.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring programs to the library that increase the arts,” she said.

Melissa Earl of Grand Prairie took two of her daughters to the drum session. One of them is a student of Bailey’s and had a session with him earlier in the day. Earl said she was glad to see the library feature a fine-arts-based program.

“It is a great entryway for the kids to get into it,” she said. “This will get kids into drumming if they see it.”

Some people entering and leaving the library joined the session, and others picked up fliers for next time. Bailey said the Arlington area has a wealth of drum line players.

Bailey had some words for his students as they rapped on their drum pads: “That’s our only goal: be better today than we were yesterday.”

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770

Twitter: @dustindangli

Drumming Around Town

▪ 2 p.m. April 11, Northeast Branch Library, 1905 Brown Blvd.

▪ 2 p.m. May 9, East Branch Library, 1624 New York Ave.

▪ 12:45 p.m. May 30, AISD Mac Bernd Professional Development Center, Summer Reading Club Kick-Off, 1111 W. Arbrook Blvd.

▪ 10 a.m. June 13, Southwest Branch Library, 3311 SW Green Oaks Blvd.

▪ 10 a.m. July 11, East Branch Library

▪ 2-4 p.m. Aug. 9, Globe Life Theater, Globe Life Park in Arlington