Drumming for a great cause — helping students get scholarships

Students dedicated to the Alliance for Musical Arts Drum Line Program are 7-18 years old. The goal is to help aspiring musicians learn, practice, and perform, and possibly continue toward college with music scholarships.
Students dedicated to the Alliance for Musical Arts Drum Line Program are 7-18 years old. The goal is to help aspiring musicians learn, practice, and perform, and possibly continue toward college with music scholarships.

These days, sometimes we all feel like banging a drum. In Miami, there’s even a drum circle to greet our full moons. The next one is for September’s Full Corn Moon.

And then there’s this — the Alliance for Musical Arts Drum Line Program for children and teens. The goal is to help aspiring musicians learn, practice, and perform, and possibly work toward a music scholarship for college.

Students, ages 7-18, who are looking for a fun after-school program can join in at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 NW 199 St. Miami Gardens.

Practice is adult-supervised by experienced drum instructors, and the sessions feature audition preparation, student incentives, community service hours, and participation in parades.

CEO Jo Ann Harris is hoping to start the new season raising funds and awareness so that more Miami Gardens youngsters can participate.

“I’m raising money for Alliance for Musical Arts Productions Inc. to improve the quality of life for the children and families throughout Miami Gardens and District 1,” Harris said. “We have an art gallery started by Darren Watson. Now we want to develop and bring more community concerts and art exhibitions closer to home.”

Scholarships are available for residents of the Rolling Oaks, Crestview, and Lake Lucerne communities.

“Any contribution will make an impact, whether it’s $5 or $500,” Harris said. “Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support of my effort to bring the arts to our families and youth so that as they grow older they will develop a taste for fine art.”

Harris, a former opera singer who performed internationally, started Alliance for Musical Arts Productions in 1993. The goal was to be an entertainment provider for special-needs audiences including the elderly, terminally ill, senior citizen homes, and hospitals for the aged. Since then the group has worked with North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, Hallandale Beach and Miami Gardens to grow and encourage the arts.

According to the website, “classes and workshops are designed to encourage aspiring artists and musicians and help them acquire performance and production skills to pursue the goal of a music scholarship for university.”

To sign up for the drum line program, students and parents can send a text to 786-439-8929 for a call back. Learn more, donate, and see all the programs at

As for the rest of us, find out how to join in drumming and celebrating at the Drum Circle Miami Full Moon Beach Parties, 6-10 p.m., at 79th Street and Collins Avenue. The Full Corn Moon is up next on Sept. 14.

As one Yelper said, “I truly believe everyone should go to a drum circle at least one time. You will be surrounded by uplifted people waiting to see our beautiful moon in its full.”

Miami High Reunion

Bonnie Hutton of the Miami Senior High School Reunion Committee wants to get the word out about the Class of 1964 Reunion scheduled for Sept. 20-21. There are already 67 attendees registered for events.

The Friday reception is $45 and the Saturday dinner dance is $75. The deadline to register and make payments is Sept. 1.

Hutton said graduates from the Classes of 1963 and 1965 are invited too. You can register, see who is attending, and learn more at

Remembrance Ceremony

Hundreds of luminaries dedicated to DUI victims will light up the entrance of Evelyn Greer Park in Pinecrest during the annual multi-agency Labor Day Weekend DUI Enforcement Event starting at 7 p.m., Aug. 30, 8200 SW 124th St.

The event is open to everyone. Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocates will share how DUI changed their lives at 8 p.m. before the officers leave to patrol U.S. 1 from Le Jeune Road in Coral Gables to 184th Street in Cutler Bay.

You can purchase luminaries for $5 each for dedication at All proceeds go directly to MADD South Florida.

This event is hosted by the Village of Pinecrest in collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation, MADD South Florida, and local police agencies that include North Bay Village, Medley, Doral, Miami Gardens, Coral Gables, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Homestead and the Florida Highway Patrol.

Big Ride to Little Haiti

Kick-off September with a Dade Heritage Trust Bicycle Tour. The next one is “Big Ride to Little Haiti” starting at 10 a.m., Sept. 8. The tour will take riders through one of Urban Miami’s evolving historic neighborhoods.

Once known as Lemon City, Little Haiti is the cultural heart of the Haitian diaspora. Waves of Haitian immigrants sought refuge here in the 1980s and the result was a neighborhood that celebrates all things Caribbean in galleries, museums, family-owned restaurants, and bookstores.

But like many of Miami’s neighborhoods, Little Haiti is changing rapidly.

“We will get a glimpse of Haitian culture, food, art and more on this ride to Miami’s Upper Eastside,” said Christine Rupp, executive director of Dade Heritage Trust. “But we’ll also see how the neighborhood is being changed by Miami’s urban development landscape.”

The ride will begin at Dade Heritage Trust, 190 SE 12 Terr. Tickets are $5 for DHT members and $10 for non-members, and are available at

Riders must bring their own bikes or rent a Citi Bike nearby. Ride leaders will provide safety guidelines as cyclists make their way, but for this tour riders must be confident enough to navigate urban Miami streets.

To learn more about future Dade Heritage Trust bike tours call 305-358-9572 or visit

If you have news for this column, send it to CHRISTINAMMAYO@GMAIL.COM