Paying it Forward: Partnering with The Ellen DeGeneres Show to Renovate the Edmondson-Westside High School Music Room
When The Ellen DeGeneres Show called to tell us about their latest life-changing project, we jumped at the chance to participate. Ellen DeGeneres is well-known for her commitment to “paying it forward.” Over the years, she’s rewarded numerous guests for giving back to their community despite their own unique challenges. This time, Ellen’s focus was on two young drummers in Baltimore.
Ellen first introduced the world to Timothy Fletcher and Malik Perry on September 24, 2018. Better known as A1 Chops, the drumming and dance duo performed on her show and joined her for an interview. Not only were Timothy and Malik committed to their music, but they were also dedicated to helping kids in their community and volunteered at an afterschool music program at their alma mater, Edmondson-Westside High School.
“I want to give back to the next generation and show them that you can be anything you want to be in life,” Fletcher said.
“Teaching is my passion,” added Perry. “If there was a plan B, I’d be a drum teacher.”
A few months later, Ellen brought Timothy and Malik back on her show with a life-changing surprise. Not only would they be featured in a digital series called The Build Up, but The Ellen DeGeneres Show had found them a new apartment. As a final surprise, cousins and home makeover experts Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri would completely renovate the space to create the perfect home for the music duo.
In the process of shooting The Build Up, however, Anthony and John attended Timothy and Malik’s afterschool program and met their high school band director Mr. Brown. They were in awe of Mr. Brown and the passion he brought to his students. But, after decades of use, the music room needed some serious TLC. Mr. Brown’s students were playing in a room with cinderblock walls that made for a live acoustical environment where sound bounced all over. And, many of their music stands and chairs were worn out or broken from years of use.
“I love music. I love to teach music. This was my calling. I’ve been in this room for 38 years,” Mr. Brown told Anthony and John on The Build Up. “We make it work.”
Anthony and John felt that Mr. Brown and his music room had served to inspire Timothy and Malik. The cousins also believed that this was where all the giving back started for the young men and the rest of Mr. Brown’s students. To continue paying it forward in the spirit of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Anthony and John came up with big plans for the music room, Mr. Brown’s office, and the disorganized storage room. And we were ready to help.
“We were excited and honored to be a supplier for such an important and meaningful project,” said Chris Simpson, CEO of Wenger Corporation. “Our company was founded by Harry Wenger, who designed products for rehearsal rooms and performance spaces. His passion as a music educator to help students learn continues in our culture to this day.”
The first step at Edmondson-Westside High School was adding a fresh coat of paint to the entire space and improving the sound. To start, Anthony and John installed gray carpet squares in the room and to the risers, and we brought in Wenger acoustic wall treatments. We made these sound panels to the exact specifications of the room so they would work together to absorb and diffuse sound, creating an acoustically superior space.
In addition to our sound panels, we also supplied a roomful of equipment that included Nota® Music Chairs and Classic 50® Music Stands. To help with organization, we provided instrument storage cabinets and Flex® Conductor’s Equipment. All of this equipment helped Anthony, John, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show convert the Edmondson-Westside High School band room into a beautiful, orderly, and acoustically exceptional music space.
“The renovation of the rehearsal room and storage area is a true transformation and will help this program flourish,” says Stacy Hanson, Marketing Communications Director at Wenger Corporation.
Take a 360 tour of the new and improved band room: