The BBL Drumline is the newest ensemble to our organization however its roots exist in the hearts, memories and experiences of the Douglass Center Drum Corps. The Douglass Center Drum Corps pride themselves on a hard earned win in 1968 at Nationals in New York City. In a mini-documentary “The Beat Goes On,” past members reminisce about time spent in NYC and what it meant to them. Their love and passion for the group emanates through the entire film.
BBL Instructors Nathaniel Banks, Deborah Banks, Ron Bridgewater and Robert Lewis are former membership students to of the Douglass Center Drum Corps. These instructors want to bring the joy of creating and performing beats back to the North Side of Champaign. Each individual brings a different component to the group, but together they are a cohesive unit demonstrating the collegiality and intensity of music making. To honor the drummers of Congo Square who came before them the BBL Drumline rehearses Sunday evenings.
BBL Fine Arts Academy has two rehearsal bands:
- An ensemble primarily for beginners & intermediate students
- An ensemble composed of higher level advanced students
The performing ensemble is called the BBL Premier Ensemble. The ensemble plays for numerous civic functions and activities and features instrumental and vocal renditions of jazz and popular music.
BBL Fine Arts Academy continues to enjoy high quality instruction from the individuals working with our students. There are currently four instructors working on a regular basis with the after-school program.
Other evidence of Community Contributions The BBL Fine Arts Academy has significant community support coming from the Bridgewater Sullivan Community Life Center (501 (c) umbrella), Bethel A.M.E. Church, Salem Baptist Church (facility and copying), the local NAACP (fundraising), University of Illinois School of Music (instructor time), Urbana School District 116 (recruitment of students), and Champaign Unit 4 School District (volunteers).