Caldwell, N.J., July 18, 2016 – Middle and high school students at Caldwell University’s summer percussion camp had a little taste of Broadway July 14 when Andres Forero, the drummer for the hit musical “Hamilton, “came to campus to give a workshop, performing and offering words of wisdom.
Forero, who has won Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, told the young musicians, “Anything you do should have emotion. Put your heart into it.” He encouraged them to expand their horizons. “Explore many instruments…commit and put your whole heart into what you are doing…learn everything about the style you choose.”
“Andres embodies the phrase ‘Play every note like it’s the only note and the last note you’ll ever play,’” said Alexander Bocchino, a member of the Caldwell music faculty, who runs the weeklong camp, now in its fifth year. “As a teacher it is just wonderful to bring musicians like Andres Forero to the Caldwell summer intensive percussion camp and have students experience up close and personal someone of his caliber.”
John Piepoli, assistant director of the camp and a Caldwell music alumnae, said it was a wonderful experience “heavy hitting…in addition to helping, I am learning myself.”
Over a span of three hours Forero played selections from “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” for which he was also a drummer, and works from Chaka Khan and Kenny Loggins. Louis Del Virginia, a Caldwell University music student working as an intern for the camp, appreciated that Forero dedicated so much time to performance. “Good for the kids…it was a different level of connection.”
Also in attendance was Joe Bergamini who is working as a substitute for Forero. Bergamini who has performed in “Rock of Ages” and “Jersey Boys,” also gave a workshop. In recent years performers such as Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel) and Glen Fittin (Lion King/Bernie Worrell), Mark Guiliana (David Bowie), Rolando Morales-Matos (Lion King) and Tommy Igoe (Birdland Big Band) have participated in the camp.
The camp provides students with immersion in drum set, world drumming, classical percussion and percussion ensemble, master classes, ensemble rehearsals and technique classes. It also includes a trip to the well-known jazz club Birdland in New York City to hear music faculty member Rob Middleton, a member of the Birdland Big Band. A Saturday afternoon student performance concluded the week.