Broadway Percussionist Returns to Old ‘STOMP’-ing Grounds to Share Musical Message

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­Broadway dancer and percussionist Elec Simon returned to his old stomping grounds, visiting Buckeye Local High School to share his message and his music.

Simon, a Smithfield native and 1999 BLHS graduate, appeared at an assembly on Feb. 3.

A self-taught musician and tap dancer, Simon appeared in the Broadway smash “STOMP” and still occasionally performs on tour. The self­ described “country boy” presented a program on self-respect and acceptance as a lasting tribute to his best friend, Terry Ford, who committed suicide at age 17 after being bullied. 

Simon said the tragedy changed his life and influenced him to help change the lives of others.

“It’s not an anti­bullying assembly; it’s a life assembly,” Simon said. “My message is for everybody: Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

His program mixes a powerful message with a musical flair and even includes students and faculty in a jam session at the conclusion. He has used his percussion as tools of healing and empowerment, leading him to co-­found Heartbeat Afrika, an arts education company that fuses African music with American swing, with Olu Manns.

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