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Working in harmony, NYPD and the East Flatbush Blue Angels Drum Line ensemble last week hosted a music clinic for at-risk youth in Lower Manhattan.
As the sun began to set along FDR Drive on September 15, the resounding sound of drumbeats echoed under the Manhattan Bridge as members of the East Flatbush Blue Angel’s Drum Line performed for the community with the band. NYPD at their first free concert. .
The Drum Line Clinic focused on at-risk youth, helping to bridge the gap by presenting a creative activity that allows them to express themselves through art.
âWe would like to get the message across that we are all the same and that we can relate to each other in different ways. Music being a very important medium, a kind of unspoken international language. You don’t even have to speak the same language and you can tell where each other is coming from, âsaid Police Officer Zachary Appleton, who has been with the NYPD group for 13 years and is the chief of section of the battery line.
From joggers to families leisurely strolling the waterfront, they were stopped in their tracks and watched the toe-tapping routine. Silhouettes in the twilight, the troupe danced and hammered their instruments to the delight of the spectators.
Samuel Toussaint, executive director of the Blue Angels Music and Arts program, said the group serves ages 13 to 24, offering New Yorkers the opportunity to learn to drummer and dance.
The effort to combine both officers and youth was developed by the Liaison Unit of NYPD Head of Department Rodney Harrison in hopes of improving police-community relations.
âI was very excited from the moment I heard that Chef Harrison gave us the opportunity to come together and do this,â Toussaint said. âIt changed the perspective, showing that cops can have fun too. The cops can relax and the cops can drum. I didn’t even know it, âhe joked.
Toussaint hopes to be able to organize more combined musical performances with the NYPD. Steppers and percussionists danced, as the NYPD police group smashed their symbols in unison, together they demonstrated the unity between officers and residents.
âIt was invigorating for me, we don’t often get the opportunity to play with other drumlines, other musicians, so it’s always a great opportunity for us to see what’s happening musically in the community. and connect with community members. We really want to thank Chief Harrison for organizing this, âsaid Officer Appleton.
Amazed by the talent of the young people, the officers present shared how much they enjoyed playing with the group.
“When we just hear and see the pleasure and pleasure they get from the music and the instrument they play, that is also very special to us,” said Officer Christopher Alese, adding: “We let’s be part of their communities, I think it’s important that they know that.
For Nadine Calixte, who has been a dancer with the East Flatbush Blue Angels for the past year, this event showed a necessary connection between black and brown youth.
âToday was great! It was a lot more fun than I expected. It really meant a lot, given the things that have been going on between the youngsters and the cops over the last year and a half now and it’s just great to show the other side of things, âCalizte said. âDancing is my life. It’s my passion, my joy, a way for me to express myself. This is our moment. It is our safe space.