Steel Drumming at the Apollo: The Road to Super Top Dog
By Trish Marx
Photographed by Ellen B. Senisi
Ahmel, Aaron, Spencer, Dayshawn, Andre, Steven, Dha’Sean. Seven remarkable musicians in the Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band. Seven high school friends who came together for the journey of a lifetime.
In January 2005 talent scouts from the world famous Apollo Theater came to Schenectady, New York, the boys' hometown. After beating out the competition there, the band went on to New York City to battle the best amateur acts in the country in front of the boisterous Apollo Amateur Night audiences. The competition got tougher; but, with their unique sound, the seven friends ignited the crowds into thunderous approval time after time. By December they had made it to the final face-off, the Super Top Dog show. Could the band now drum their way to the top?
Filled with the thrill of competition, the elation of winning, and the passion of pursuing a dream, Steel Drumming at the Apollo is a celebration of the power of music to unite and excite us all.
Check out activities and discussion questions to teach about and celebrate drums.
Bailamos Play audio track
You Can Make It
Breakdown 3:24 AM (Dedicated To Oshe)
The Beauty Of Words
A True Story
The Love Of Music
About the Creators
has written several books for children. Marx specializes in nonfiction, especially current events and environmental issues—interests that stem from her background in teaching and journalism. Marx lives in New York City.
is the photographer and author of several award-winning photo-essays for children. Specializing in candid photography, her work also appears regularly in educational publications, textbooks, and professional journals. Ellen’s ideas for stories come from listening to children and following them around with her camera, as she did for Bebop Books’ Shapes Where We Play and Counting Pumpkins. For Steel Drumming at the Apollo, chronicling the experiences of the Hamilton Hill Steel Drum Band was especially gratifying for Senisi since her son Steven is one of the band members. Senisi lives in Schenectady, New York. Her Web site is ellensenisi.com.