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THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016
The Rockaway Times
MayMusicalMadnessConcert Rocks theRAATheatre
By PatMorgan
Performed music is some-
thing you don’t hear on a
weekday. Usually it is the
rhythms of heavy machinery
pounding the streets. Things
were different on Wednesday
morning, May 18 when the
rustic Rockaway Artists Alli-
ance T7 Gallery was filled with
the pleasant sounds of song,
eagerly performed by the stu-
dents of PS 53K.
PS 53K is a New York City
Public School for students with
disabilities which has locations
all over Brooklyn. The perfor-
mance was orchestrated by
local residents and musicians
Mr. Robert (Bobby) Butler
(bass player in the band Indac-
ulture) as well as his colleague,
Ed McKenna (from the band
First Nature). Both are part of
the same program, with Butler
handling the middle and grade
school students and McKenna
the high school students. They
are both supported by Princi-
pal Heather Leykam.
The students performed a
forty-minute, six-song set that
included renditions of Justin
Bieber’s “What Do YouMean?”
and “Sorry,” “Day-O (The Ba-
nana Boat Song),” “Iko Iko,”
“La Bamba” and the finale
“Stand By Me.” The changing
ensembles included students
who are on the Autism spec-
trum and hearing impaired.
The encouraging audience
included students and teachers
from PS 42 in Rockaway, RAA
members, friends and family.
There was even a little stand-up
comedy with a few of the vocal-
ists tapping the microphone and
asking the audience “Is this on?”
A beaming Butler, who is in
his fifth year of this program and
loves working with these chil-
dren, conveyed his pleasure by
saying “this program inspires
confidence, provides a common
goal and helps these students
express themselves. I have stu-
dents who have trouble commu-
nicating, but can get up on stage
and sing.”
Principal Leykam was happy
to see the students performing
in a professional musical setting
such as the RAA, which is special
experience for them.
The ensemble performs ap-
proximately ten times per year.
The next performance is from
the high school students, which
will be at St. Francis College, 180
Remsen St, Brooklyn on Tues-
day, May 31 at 10 AM.
Butler’s own band has
launched a new website, in-
daculture.com, which has a
calendar feature containing
their performance schedule.
Their first gig this season is part
of the Connolly’s Summer Kick
Off Weekend, on Sunday, May
29th at 10 PM. You can find
McKenna and First Nature on
Facebook.
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Photo by Dan Guarino