Ahmel, Aaron, Spencer, Dayshawn, Steven, Andre, and Dha'Sean——the seven amateur musicians in the Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band of Schenectady, New York——embarked on the mos
Ahmel, Aaron, Spencer, Dayshawn, Steven, Andre, and Dha'Sean——the seven amateur musicians in the Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band of Schenectady, New York——embarked on the most amazing journey of their young lives in January 2005. That was when talent scouts from the Apollo Theater first came to town.
Some of the boys had overcome difficult childhood circumstances, but eventually they each found music and each other. After winning the Apollo competition in their hometown, the band played for the boisterous Apollo Amateur Night crowds in New York four times, culminating in the Super Top Dog show and a chance to appear on the popular television program, Showtime at the Apollo.
Even though the band did not win Super Top Dog, the entire Apollo experience was an amazing opportunity. The boys survived stiff competition and disappointment, and gained a whole new set of possibilities in their lives. They said yes to a dream, and because of that, they were on the way to saying yes to many more dreams in the future.
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TRISH MARX has written several books for children, specializing in nonfiction, especially contemporary events and environmental issues, interests that stem from her background in teaching and journalism. For Steel Drumming at the Apollo, Marx and Senisi spent many hours with the boys in the Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band, talking with them and photographing during jam sessions, rehearsals, and Apollo Theater Amateur Night competitions. Marx lives in
New York City.
ELLEN B. SENISI is a photographer and author of photo—essays for children. She specializes in candid, on—site photography of children in school, family, and nature settings. Her photographs also regularly appear in consumer magazines, professional journals, government publications,
textbooks, and other illustrated works. Senisi lives in Schenectady, New York.