Taste of RoMP students in front of the Warner Grand TheatreOn May 25th, Grand Vision Foundation’s (GVF) Meet the Music (MTM) team hosted their largest field trip event of the 2022-23 school year: the first-ever Taste of RoMP concert, featuring African drumming and global fusion group ADAAWE, at the historic Warner Grand Theatre. The event was attended by 865 students grades k-5 from six elementary schools accompanied by their teachers, administrators and chaperones.

Close to the end of the 2023 academic year, schools throughout LAUSD received the incredible Cultural Arts Passport – an initiative that aims to provide students equitable access to arts and cultural experiences and the opportunity to build their knowledge about the world.
In the first phase of the program, schools needed to connect with quality arts providers, and in swift response, GVF put together A Taste of RoMP, a 3-week course modeled on GVF’s popular 12-week Roots of Music Program (RoMP).

RoMP is a semester-long in-school music curriculum designed by GVF that aims to teach elementary students about the fundamentals of music, music history and its connection to history in general, with a specific focus on global music. RoMP has three units: Rhythm, Melody and Dynamics. Each unit includes two sessions as well as a live educational concert, and the new Taste of RoMP is modeled on one of these units. ADAAWE was selected for the live component because their performance incorporates all three musical concepts explored in the longer program.

During the in-school lessons, students studied the West African djembe, as both a musical instrument and a form of communication in historic Mali, and also how this practice evolved during American slavery into coded spirituals about the Underground Railroad. At the live performance, they learned more about djembe history, ADAAWE’s specific instruments and their origins, as well as the origins of the songs they performed and eagerly answered the performers’ questions, excited to show off their newfound familiarity with the subject.

Taste of RoMP students sitting in the Warner Grand TheatreTaste of RoMP was a huge success as a stand-alone project and as an introduction to GVF’s extensive MTM programs. During the concert at the Warner Grand, the students (and even the adults!) were fully engaged – clapping, dancing and participating in the call-and-response singing, and the ADAAWE musicians were beyond thrilled to be performing for enthusiastic students at such a celebrated theater.

Many of the schools that attended have already contacted GVF, expressing interest in MTM’s array of resources. With goals to further expand MTM’s impact among the local community, GVF hopes to make Taste of RoMP an annual event to attract new schools each year, one spirited performance at a time.