The summer is full of activities for kids. You can try everything from sports to crafts, and even outdoor survival techniques.
However, one local group is offering something very specific, and it’s not just a summer time fling. Groove Inc. has been in Sioux Falls for 18 years.
It’s a hot summer day, and these kids are working hard! They’re part of a group called Groove Inc.
It’s a Sioux Falls-based percussion education group Pete Hansen started in Sioux City 21 years ago.
What began as a small group of high school kids traveling to regional events has grown to more than 90 kids doing dozens of performances a year.
“We did like 20 parades and standstills this summer. We did probably eight basketball games this winter, and then a couple of our own. So in that 30 to 35 public performances,” said Pete Hansen, Groove Inc. Executive Director.
Students range in age from four years old all the way through college.
Older students also do competitions, like the Winter Guard International; which is considered the Olympics of drumline.
“Saturdays are pretty much non-existent for me anymore. But it’s cool because I do fun stuff during that Saturday so it’s not like it was wasted,” said KT Pagone, Groove Student.
“There’s like a camaraderie that you build because you try to be the cleanest and the most together and it’s just like you become really good friends because it’s super-hot and you’re getting your butt kicked and you just go through a lot together,” said Mason Endsley, Groove Student.
It has also helped direct some young people to their future careers.
Dan Sailer was in Groove from middle school through high school. He’s now back for the summer to help with lessons. Sailer is one of the select percussion graduate students at the biggest music program in the country, University of North Texas. He credits Hansen and Groove for this success.
“Basically the launching pad. It started me with fundamental training, to experience with other people, to now I’m in grad school for percussion performance. So it’s been like, the entire journey has started from that. When I first started holding sticks, basically,” said Sailer.
Being a member of Groove Inc. does come with a cost ranging from $70 a month to $200.
This includes travel, lessons and an instrument to use. However, Hansen doesn’t want the price tag to scare you!
“We try to never have money get involved in what keeps or loses a kid. So if somebody is interested in Groove, we’ll pretty much do whatever it takes to make it possible for them,” said Hansen.
More than just notes and rhythm, Hansen hopes this group does much more for the lives of young people he works with.
“Trying to teach them how to be, not just players, but good teachers, good role models, and just good people,” said Hansen.
A lesson these students seem to have taken to heart.
“It’s something out of the norm. It’s kind of like your club soccer team or something that’s, you know. You travel places. You’re part of a team. And you get to have fun with a bunch of your friends,” said Sailer.
“Never give up, and keep fighting even if it hurts. Because you won’t die. You’ll just feel like dying. And then you’ll just come out stronger,” said Pagone.
“You’re going to see your kid grow. Just immensely as a person and as a musician. And they’re going to have a lot of great friends at the end of it,” said Endsley.
Grove was located at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds, but the county is going to use that space for something else now, so they need a new home by October.
A local family has stepped up to help, but they need to raise $1.5 million.
They are doing a fundraising campaign you can find here.