VIRGINIA BEACH – A sea of green poured out of the gymnasium at Creeds Elementary, through the hallways and out onto the street. Music teacher Robyn Alexander led the charge, baton in hand and dressed in a white suit and top hat.
“Kindergarten, you’ll be with me,” she called as she marched out of the gym. “First grade you’ll follow kindergarten.”
The students hollered, cheered and played their instruments as loudly as they could as they marched through the hallways and then even louder when they took to the streets.
“Every kid made their own instrument with homemade materials,” principal Casey Conger said.
The students played cardboard guitars and banged bucket drums. They shook plastic bottles and tooted pipe horns.
Fourth-grader Olivia Vaughn made a complete drum set and wore it around her neck. A dish rag was wrapped around the string to ease the pressure on her neck.
“I took a five-gallon feed bucket and then another bucket, and then this tin one,” she said, pointing to her kit.
Vaughn helped lead a chant toward the end of the parade: “Go Creeds Go.” The rest of her class echoed the beat.
A first-grader named Charlotte asked her dad for help to create her instruments. He used cardboard, duct tape and rubber bands. Third-grader Logan Dixon shaped his string instrument out of wood and attached hard strings, with a Velcro strap that he wore over his shoulder.
Alexander came up with the idea for the parade through some of the lessons she used in music classes, Conger said. They planned it for March because the month was designated to celebrate fine arts in the schools. They settled on St. Patrick’s Day to make things even more festive.
The younger grades seemed to bring more shakers and cut-out instruments to the procession. The older grades created pulsing drum beats and loud horn sounds that bounced through the halls.
After the noises subsided, Conger asked: “Wasn’t that fun?”