It’s a beat that will rock the town next spring – and it’s sure to rock the record books enough to bring down the old numbers.
An attempt to break the Guinness record for the world’s largest drum circle is planned for May 2012 and will involve 7,200 sixth and seventh grade students from Santa Clarita schools, along with 4,000 more participants. The event will take place at Cougar Stadium at College of the Canyons and will be adjudicated by officials from Guinness.
The effort is part of the outreach for Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds, a national campaign to highlight the need for arts education in the schools – something that is often the first casualty during budget cuts.
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Bridgeport Elementary School got a surprise visitor Friday when Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart helped 35 students learn their rhythms in a drum circle session and experienced the progress being made with Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds .
A series of activities in support of the event will also draw attention to the need for sustainable arts programs in five local school districts. Preparation for the May 18 program has included visits to area seventh grade classes and, over the next six weeks, will finish working with Santa Clarita’s sixth graders as well. The students will be led in their world-record attempt by legendary drummer Hart, as well as Remo Belli, owner of locally run REMO Inc.
“This kind of event is inclusive, not exclusive, and meant to enhance the community,” said Hart. “I strongly urge the community to get involved because it’s really for their benefit.”
Coinciding with Hart’s visit, “Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds” launched www.rocktherhythm.org . The site showcases a countdown clock timed to zero out at 10:30 A.M. on the day of the event, along with links to the latest project news, information on participating organizations, and the “Video of the Day.”
The site also hosts a “Get Involved” page which provides information on sponsorship opportunities, a link for donations, and a link to the PAC’s Box Office where tickets can be purchased for the stadium event. A Twitter feed -- @RtR_BtO -- also goes live, along with a Facebook presence.
Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY5t3GdHsFo&feature=player_embedded#! 
A little bit about the power behind Rock the Rhythm, Beat the Odds in our community
The PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program continues to provide opportunities for the youth of the Santa Clarita Valley through valuable partnerships with major arts organizations in California and across the nation. The program uses College of the Canyons’ cultural and community resources to expose student population to top-tier, visual and performing arts standard-based arts activities and integrated performing arts learning opportunities. The outreach program has at its core a collaborative approach, partnering with teachers and administrators in school districts, and community-based organizations throughout the area to develop an enhanced arts education curriculum and a variety of unique educational opportunities for all students. More information on the Outreach Program can be found online at http://www.canyons.edu/Offices/PIO/CanyonsPAC/k12arts.html 
Beat the Odds
Launched at UCLArts and Healing , Beat the Odds  is a drum circle-based activity that seeks to maximize creative expression while building social and emotional skills, emphasizing the process of learning over performance. UCLA researchers have shown that Beat the Odds can significantly improve a spectrum of behavior problems in children, including inattention, withdrawn/depression, posttraumatic stress, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiance, and sluggish cognitive tempo. www.uclartsandhealing.net/training.aspx