Campuses across Garland ISD celebrated African American History Month with fun activities, enlightening lessons and entertaining programs. Parsons Prekindergarten School observed the annual event with a movement-driven performance by Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble.
“I saw this group perform in the summer and thought it would be great for our kids to actually see the drums, the dances and this experience,” said music teacher Montreal Williams. “I hope the kids were not just entertained, but also learned about the drums and how they relate back to family life.”
The group shared the cultural significance of the drums used during the performance, informing students and adults alike.
“Bandan Koro in West Africa means, ‘under the tree.’ Under the tree is very special because it is a gathering place for the community,” a group member told the audience. “We call the drums the dundun family. In Africa, it is believed that family begins with the No. 3—mother, child and father.”
The ensemble then revealed the African names and unique sounds of the father, mother and child drums from the three-piece set. Two dancers joined the group once the “family” came together to form a rhythmic melody.
Bandan Koro ended their performance by singing the traditional African greeting song, Funga Alafia, encouraging a sing and dance-along.
“I hope our students had a different cultural experience—something that I do not get to normally show them in music class and something they may not see every day,” Williams stated. “Our kids are young, so it may be hard to grasp the concept that there was a time when things were a little different. Not everybody could go to the same school or drink out of the same water fountain. Being able to see something different, enjoy it, be excited by it and embrace it can lead to acceptance.”
Several other campuses joined Parsons in hosting exciting programs. Daugherty Elementary School put on a Motown Revue, while Garland High School presented Showtime at the Owlpollo, and Coyle Middle School debuted an African American Poetry Lounge.