SUISUN CITY — The beat was familiar. So were the words, to a degree.
About a dozen elementary-school age children sat in a circle Wednesday evening at the Kroc Center, learning percussion while performing a lyrically adapted versions of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
The free lesson was the Kroc Center’s way of introducing its new Music & Worship Arts Academy to the public. Formal lessons on a variety of instruments begin Tuesday.
The week of discovery began with piano lessons and mastering “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Then, it was on to the ukulele and percussion.
Di Holokahi heads up the new offering at the center. She and her husband, Izzy, have been part of the center’s worship team since the beginning.
Holokahi began her life in music as a child when her parents gave her a karaoke machine. She went on to sing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, which provided opportunities to perform with the San Francisco Symphony.
She was also a part of a girl a capella group in high school.
Music went into the background as she entered San Francisco State, studying sports medicine and kinesiology. Then, she met her husband, who plays the ukulele. Both played in a secular reggae band followed by a Gospel reggae band.
“My husband and I love teaching,” she said.
She wants to help those who take part in the academy to develop a passion, ignite a spark and pursue that passion in music.
While the children learn new instruments, the free lessons also gave Holokahi a chance to get to know the children a little better and discover their interests.
“This has been a long time (coming),” she said of the academy. “It was the missing piece in the program. The Salvation Army looks at the body, mind and spirit.”
All ages are welcome to take lessons. Holokahi is also looking for people who would like to be a member of the children or adult choirs.
She also hopes to form a brass band, which is a favorite of The Salvation Army.
The Kroc Center has already hosted several arts-related events, from performances by the Solano Community Symphony to the children of Starbound Theatre.
“I stayed away from music for a little time,” Holokahi said. “Music brings me joy. It’s a stress reliever. To be able to share music makes me feel good.”
D’Marri Brown, 10, was one of the children who took advantage of the free lessons. His mother, Michelle Brown, proudly looked on during the percussion session. She would like to see her son play the drums, though she likes the ukulele, too.
In the past, he’s played sports. This is his first venture into music.
“He loves music,” Michelle Brown said. “He dances to it.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.