Springer School and Center pulsed with the steady beat of African drumming during the Norita Aplin Musician in Residence program in April. Helen Bond, the guest musician for the 2020-21 program, shared with students her experiences from 21 years of annual travel to Guinea, where she learned from Drum Masters among the Malinke and Susu people.
Every class at Springer spent time with Bond during the one-week residency, playing several types of drums and learning about the culture and music of the Guinean people. Bond, also worked closely with small groups of Lower School students who performed a concert at the end of the week.
"My favorite drum was the dunun," said fifth-grader Henry Schrantz. "It reminded me of the Japanese Taiko drum, because you play it from the side." Fifth-grader Keaton Stephens enjoyed learning about the people of Guinea. "I liked that we got to learn a little bit about their culture," she commented, "and that we learned real African songs and the meaning behind them." "And I liked how it sounded when we were all playing together," added fifth-grader Marshall Carrier.
"Working with Springer students has been so much fun," Bond noted. "I showed pictures of Guinea and they had many questions. They've done a great job and were very enthusiastic about playing!"
Helen Bond is a dynamic percussionist, teacher and storyteller in Lake Forest, Illinois, and the founder of Motherland Rhythm Community, a nonprofit focused on creating community and connecting cultures through hand drumming. She is the co-founder of Benkadi Project, which supports education, health and basic human needs in Guinea, and a member of Diamana Diya and Mboray Nani performance ensembles. As an adjunct-faculty member at Lake Forest College near Chicago, Bond teaches classes in West African drumming.
Since 1998, the Norita Aplin Musician in Residence program has annually hosted working musicians who share their art and passion with Springer students. The program was established to recognize former Springer Executive Director Dr. Norita Aplin for her 14 years of leadership to the school.