The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


Exploring the planet with a drum


African drummers Daniela Garces and third-grader Julia Love on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Bedford Hills Elementary School African dance program.


Audiences were transported to Africa with rhythmic chants and persistent drum beats as students at Bedford Hills Elementary School celebrated the semester’s end of the social studies unit.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, approximately 75 parents and staff gathered in the school’s auditorium to watch the third-graders perform their fourth annual African drumming and dancing showcase.

Throughout the fall semester, the students learned about world cultures and compared them to American culture. They concentrated on Africa, China, and the South American rain forest. Kathleen Crohn, a third-grade teacher, focused their studies on how similar all humans are but how geography affects how our needs are met.

The boys wore yellow, orange or green head wraps with matching sashes across their white shirts. The girls donned vibrant multi-colored head wraps with matching wrapped skirts below simple black tops.

Third-graders Eric Mishkin, Eric Sagastume and Glenton McLeod at the end of an African dance on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Bedford Hills Elementary School African dance program.

Some drums were hand-beaten fast and frequently, while other students hit the louder drums with sticks at a slower pace.

The students practiced for two weeks with instructor Maryanne Archer to understand the drum beats, dances and chants. Ms. Crohn said that the students learn more than just about music. Math is also involved in the music and the dance, as students have to count out the beats, making sure not to hit the drum too early or too late. She also surprised at how some of the quieter students blossomed, coming to life while dancing on stage or seated behind the tall drums.

The dancers on stage were clapping, swooping their arms to the sky, touching the floor, performing cartwheels and shaking their shoulders. Some dancers held baskets, others had wooden sticks, and some shook delicate handkerchiefs as they stomped their feet and struck their arms through the air.

Ms. Crohn first integrated the African drumming and dancing showcase into the third grade curriculum after taking an educational leave to Tanzania several years ago. She said that the purpose of the leave is to learn about the area visited and its crafts and then return to the Bedford Central School District to share what you have learned with the students.

At the showcase, younger children not yet in kindergarten danced in the aisles to the music, jumping up and down, bobbing to the beat and banging their hands on the floor. They giggled as the music played, putting smiles on the faces of nearby parents. Some parents recorded the show, while other stood up countless times to take photos. Between each song and dance, they clapped endlessly, cheering on their children.

After the performance, the students ran to Ms. Archer and ambushed her with a giant group hug, some returning for individual hugs. The children screamed cheers for Ms. Archer as the parents heralded her with a loud standing ovation, which made her eyes tear up.

Over the past few years, Ms. Archer has become a celebrity at Bedford Hills Elementary School. Ms. Crohn mentioned that a third-grader, upon meeting Ms. Archer, exclaimed that he had been waiting for two years to learn from her and participate in the showcase.

Zbynek Gold, the principal at Bedford Hills Elementary School, added that the students are always excited to see Ms. Archer. When she walks into a room, he said, the students flock to her. The current fourth- and fifth-graders, who performed in past drumming showcases, hug her every time they see her and pepper her with questions while telling her about their classwork.

Parents were invited to join an international feast after the performance as a way of celebrating the diverse heritages. Each parent was asked to prepare or purchase a traditional food from his or her heritage. Students, hungry after the dancing, filled their plates with noodles, corn cake, pizza and beans. Some parents had also prepared meatballs, falafel, hummus, sweetbread, fruitcake, and a variety of cookies.

Throughout the school’s hallways, the students’ research projects were displayed, about a country of their choice. Popular topics included Italy, Puerto Rico, France, Greece and Spain. During class they had given oral presentations educating classmates about the local culture, food, traditional clothing, weather, unique customs, and imports and exports. Other chosen countries included Uruguay, Guatemala, the Philippines, India, Peru, Germany, Madagascar, Albania, Indonesia, England, Japan, Sweden and Kenya.

The African drumming and dancing showcase was funded by several grants, including one by the Bedford Hills Elementary School’s parent association, and the Community Education Fund.

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JAnuary 4, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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