Thousands of sixth and seventh graders and community members filled COC’s Cougar Stadium Friday to break a Guinness world record for the largest ever drum circle.
The event, called “Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds,” was created by Valencia-based drum company REMO Inc. and several other organizations to publicize and highlight the importance of arts programs in public schools.
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart hosted the event and was joined by several other famous drummers, including John Densmore of The Doors and Poison’s Rikki Rockett. About 7,200 students from six different school districts were in attendance, as well as 3,000 to 4,000 in the audience.
All participants received a small flat drum and a plastic beater, while the facilitating musicians played on a wide variety of percussion instruments
“Arts should be experienced by everyone,” Janelle Monae’s drummer Mikey Phillips said. “I was exposed to a lot of things kids shouldn’t be exposed to, and music was a way to get away from a lot of that stuff.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry said that arts students have higher GPA’s and far fewer behavioral problems than other students.
“There is a direct correlation between the arts and the success of schools and the success of the community,” Ferry said.
It was required that all participants drum for five minutes straight in order to break the previous record, set in China in 2007 with 10,102 drummers.
Representatives were present from the Guinness World Records organization to observe and verify if the record was valid or not. The results will not be known until the organizations releases its decision within a few weeks.
“The world moves forward by innovation. Innovation is based on creativity,” Phillips said. “Creativity comes in so many forms, so at its basic level, the child level, if you’re not exposed to that kind of creativity, you won’t move forward with innovation.”