NUMB gets students excited about music at Kids Fare

Alexander Pegg

The Northwestern University Marching Band taught a group of children how to be Wildcat fans Saturday morning at Trienens Hall.

“Hey kids! Can you growl?” the Wildcat marching band shouted in unison to a crowd of more than 800 people. Children, along with their parents and grandparents, responded by waving their “claws” in the air and roaring.

As part of NU’s annual Kids Fare, children ages 1 to 13 played traditional instruments, such as drums, maracas and tambourines, as well as more inventive instruments like pots, pans, whistles and kazoos.

NUMB director Dan Farris and the marching band welcomed children with music typically played at NU football games. The band played “God Bless America” and “Hey, Baby,” and each percussion section performed a drum roll.

Then the director taught the crowd how to issue orders to the band and had them give the commands to “10 hut” and “about face,” which the NUMB executed. When the band followed the children’s orders, the children became quiet and attentive to the band’s military-like precision.

The band sang “We are the People in the Marching Band” to introduce children to the instruments by giving each instrument a solo to aid demonstration. The band then split up into sections and had an instrument “petting zoo,” where the children were allowed to touch the instruments and have one-on-one experiences with band members. After the petting zoo, children and parents gathered in front of the band and marched with instruments across the practice field.

“I love doing all of this,” said Danny Singer, NUMB’s head drum major and a Music senior. “It’s great that the school of music sponsors outreach programs and gets kids interested in music.”

Kids Fare was sponsored by Target Corp. and Marshall Fields’ Project Imagine and hosted by the School of Music.

This is Music Dean Bernard Dobroski’s 20th year of involvement with Kids Fare, a community outreach program he said provides a high-quality concert to parents and children.

“(Kids Fare) is a labor of love,” Dobroski said. “(The band) enjoys giving back to the community and being with the children.”

Evanston resident Farhad Patel said he brought his son Darius to the event because he loves music and because he wanted to meet the band.

Some families attend this event annually. Evanston resident Jain Simmons has brought her grandchildren Forest, 9, Quinn, 9, and Grey, 2, for the past six years.

But NUMB members such as Weinberg freshman Martin Zacharia said they got as much out of the event as the children did.

“I thought it was a great thing,” said Zacharia, a member of the trumpet section. “I remember how excited I was when I was 4 and first saw instruments. It was nice to make the kids happy.”