Mead High School Unified Percussion Ensemble (MHS UPE) was founded in the fall of 2019 and inspired by the Special Olympics Unified Sports and the Free Players, a drum and bugle corps for adults with intellectual disabilities.
The programs vision and mission is to provide a performance-based music ensemble for students in the exceptional learning program. The students in the ensemble work with a teacher, special education para, and mentor students from the band program. At Mead High School, the Unified Percussion Ensemble has increased their ability to provide an inclusive program with performance opportunities for their students.
After launching the MHS Unified Percussion Ensemble, three other high schools in the area have developed similar musical ensembles and MHS is currently working with a Denver high school to redesign a current music elective to create a more inclusive class and music program. Mead High School is dedicated to sharing resources and collaborating with other schools interested in increasing opportunities in music education.
The MHS UPE has performed with the Mead Mavericks Marching Band, MHS Pep Band, and the Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band. During virtual learning, the ensemble learned and video recorded two virtual showcase performances. The MHS Unified Percussion Ensemble is scheduled to perform in March 2022 at a local Rocky Mountain Percussion Association event as an exhibition ensemble. The group continues to work in collaboration with the Mead High School Music Department with a goal of performing with the jazz choir, jazz band, and other ensembles at the school.
In an effort to provide a meaningful program, the students in the MHS UPE wear tracksuit style uniforms designed by SKAZMA with zippers and drawstrings the students can manipulate themselves and take greater ownership of their responsibilities as members of the ensemble. In addition, Mead High School is the first school in Colorado to purchase ErgoSonic bass drums, which are designed for an ergonomic playing position that is much better for the hands and body than traditional bass drums.
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