Langston University Brass Band Supports Their Families in the Bahamas
Island Breeze is an ensemble of musicians with the Langston University band. They are here on scholarships and are all from the Bahamas.
“We all want to give back to the community. We’re just trying to give people a little taste of our culture,” Darrien Rolle said with the entire band.
“One day we were just playing in the band room and our band manager liked it, so he thought why not something with it, you know?” said Rolle.
When Direct Group Mark Gordon came to Langston four years ago, he made it a point to recruit students from the Bahamas Group.
“We have about 43 to 45 group students in the Bahamas group, we expect about 80 in the group next year,” Gordon said.
Students love their experience at Langston. But when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas in 2019, it was a real challenge for them.
“It was difficult because we didn’t know if our families were okay. Islands like Abaco, Freeport, like those islands were flooded. People lost their homes, their lives, their cars, their jobs, everything,” Rolle said.
And soon after it became safe for them to return home to check on family, the pandemic hit and travel was halted.
“Last December was the first time many of them saw their parents in two years,” Gordon said.
The ensemble now performs at different events, raising funds to send to their families back home.
“We don’t even ask for anything, we just volunteer sometimes. But it’s really us doing what we have to do to show our appreciation,” Rolle said.
The Set We’ll Be at Wildwood Christian Church in Oklahoma City this Sunday for their Black History program at 10 a.m.
“It’s something different, it’s something good for our community and it’s something good for them too. Exposing is really what we’re looking to do,” said Pastor Dwayne Rodgers of Wildwood Christian Church.
“Oklahoma is a long way from the Bahamas and knowing that we’re so far from home and still trying to give back to those in need back home is great,” Rolle said.
The band is made up of around 45 students who tour for their engagements. All students have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or better.
The set is available for all types of events and functions, they can be contacted through the Langston University Band Office.