How did we make this project?

Town of Manchester, VT makes a video

Hi. I’m Saragail Benjamin.  I’ve worked with group drumming and sick kids for many years, kids dealing with challenges like cancer, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, grief, other serious emotional issues, and more. A mom myself, with kids of my own, I always felt horrible for kids and families facing these challenges.  I saw that drumming helped, but I wanted to do more.  I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way to make drumming always available, so that anyone, anywhere, could experience that therapeutic joy? That was the beginning of SARAGAIL’S PLAYALONG APP

I wrote a song, based on my experiences working with kids with challenges. I wanted to make something that would help kids feel happy, included, empowered, and embraced. I made the sound track in my home studio.

OK, now I needed to find people to participate in a drum circle for the video.  I appealed to my town, Manchester, Vermont, for volunteers. I put up posters. The Manchester Journal carried an article about the event.  Everyone I met, everyone I saw, I told them what I was doing. I offered rewards–for every 10 people any organization sent, I would lead a free group drumming program for that organization. I offered pizza for everyone at the end of the “shoot.”

The town of Manchester, Vemont and the Manchester Community Library came through!

On a gorgeous Sunday, June 1, 2014, 44 volunteers, from little kids to seniors, showed up at the amphitheater at Maple Street School in Manchester, Vermont to share their time & their spirits to help kids.

9 of the volunteers, including 2 librarians, were recruited by the library. (And yes, I gave them a free program–I figured 9 people was close enough to 10!)

2 adults in the video were actively fighting cancer at the time of taping. “What can we do?” they each asked me.  “How can we help?”  It was vitally important for each of them to contribute.

The Chila family sent 4 people, including the lead actress, Elaine Chila, who plays Mom, and Luke Chila, who also sings in the chorus of the sound track. The Kaplans sent their family of 4, too.

Taping was hard work. We had to repeat and repeat the same actions, over and over, so we could be sure to have good “takes” for the video. It got boring. People kept smiling. It took two and a half hours just to shoot the drum circle. Everyone was patient. Everyone laughed. We all encouraged each other, helping each other stay engaged. Every person there, kids & adults, was totally committed to helping kids facing challenges. You can see it on the screen in the finished video–the commitment and joy on the volunteers’ faces.

I moved to Manchester, Vermont in the spring of 2013. I’ll never forget the generosity of the people of my new home town and our afternoon together in the amphitheater. THANK YOU, MANCHESTER!  Thank you to the librarians of the Manchester Community Library for helping me find so many participants, and for their ongoing support, publicizing the video.

And THANK YOU for watching. Please donate if you can. All proceeds go to help kids with cancer.






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