MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Peacemaking through music is the essence of the Peace Drums Steel Band, who will make a stop in Mount Kisco Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m. at Bet Torah Synagogue.
The project was created as a conflict-resolution initiative involving Jewish, Christian and Muslim children in the Galilee region of Israel performing together.
The band was founded by Delaware Churches for Middle East Peace and created by Philadelphia percussionist Harvey Price.
Price, the University of Delaware associate professor of percussion, had the idea years ago to form a steel band of Jewish and Arab students in Israel as a way to get them to see each other in a different light.
In 2013, with the support of Delaware Churches for Mid-East Peace, that dream became a reality. Price negotiated an alliance between Israeli Arab partners at the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in the Galilean village of Ibillin and Israeli Jewish partners at the Leo Baeck School in the City of Haifa.
“When I first started teaching students to play steel drums, I noticed they formed a really nice bond. Using steel drums seemed ideal because they are instruments from Trinidad and have nothing to do with either culture – Arab or Jewish -- something brand new for all the students. In addition, the steel drum itself was born out of conflict in Trinidad and Tobago and used for conflict resolution,” said Price.
The administrators of both schools are equally enthusiastic.
“We are teaching our Christian and Muslim students respect for our Jewish neighbors in the best way – by involving them in activities like making music together and becoming good friends in the process," said Micha Chacour, superintendent of Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin.
“We are so excited about this program and love watching the children. In only 10 minutes, you can’t tell who are the Muslims, the Jews or the Christians,” said Dani Fesler, the head of the Leo Baeck School in Haifa.
Bet Torah Synagogue is at 60 Smith Ave., Mount Kisco.