Meet The Fellows...
"Support the Arts in your schools," says Paul. "Period."
Paul is the co-founder of Beat For Peace, a music-based intervention program that combines world music drumming and counseling. Originating in Florida elementary schools, he established the program in Iowa six years ago. "We used to have a gang problem here," he says, "but one day I stood up and said, I have a gang. Instead of beating skulls, we beat drums. Instead of kicking each other, we work together." Paul used his grant to support Beat for Peace, which reaches thousands of children.
"If I had a magic wand," says Paul, "I would turn every weapon into a musical instrument, every round of ammunition into a note. In disputes, the winner would be the band, ensemble, or orchestra that evokes the most emotion out of the opponent -- making them laugh, cry, or giggle!"
Paul brings his talent, enthusiasm, and dedication to his job as a music teacher at Roundy Elementary. "I teach specifically at the elementary level, because children have no knowledge that they can't do something."
Paul also leads The Marimba Cats, a performing ensemble of middle and high school students, and an extension of Beat For Peace Iowa. In addition, he's a consultant for Just Play It!, a classroom blues harmonica curriculum.
"I love what I am doing," says Paul. "I am a third generation music teacher. My grandfather taught high school music and played with the Boston Pops. My mom was a music teacher for 39 years. Music has always been part of my life."
In 2005, Paul was composer and co-facilitator of the Iowa Groove, leading an astonishing 1300 person drum ensemble. "I've got a little reputation for doing crazy stuff," he says.
Paul leads Beat for Peace Iowa
Skins, Sticks, and Bars (Heritage Press) song book for drum, xylophone, recorder ensembles
Happy Jammin' (Heritage Press) song book for recorder
My inspiration comes from multiple sources. I once wrote a piece of music based on random "motifs" from a wind chime on a breezy day in Florida. I love witty people who challenge me to think about things and new views.
Paul is Reading:
Fantasy and science fiction, music reviews and new ideas concerning music. I love to read about the space program (I always wanted to be an astronaut) and earth issues, especially conservation and natural wonders.
Paul is Listening to:
I am an NPR junkie! I listen to as much different music as I can, including a lot of Classical/Romantic and 20th Century art music when I am driving. Growing up in South Florida, the classical music stations played a steady diet of the masters, especially Beethoven and Mozart, Wagner and Copland, Stravinsky and Bernstein. Now I'm in Iowa, they play the same masters but pepper it with Dvorak, Schoenberg, Debussy, and Smetana. I would like to see a study as to why certain composers are listened to more in certain parts of the country than others.
Some of my favorite musicians include Pat Metheny, Frank Zappa, Claude Debussy, Anton Webern, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Peter Gabriel, and anything with percussion instruments... the wackier, the better!
Paul is Watching:
Cartoons! Warner Brothers' are my favorite. I learned so much music by watching them. I still watch Sesame Street: I LOVE the little 10-15 second shorts introducing a new letter or number. My unrealized dream was to compose for those little nuggets of info.