California Educator

December 2014

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In addition to music, James Van Buren teaches earth science at the inner-city school. He has also taught math. Before that, he was a cop and a professional saxophone player who opened for many famous musicians including B.B. King, Average White Band and the Commodores. But these days he's best known for leading the Grant High School Drumline, which has become a thundering success. His students will travel to Washington, D.C., in July to perform for President Obama in the National Independence Day Parade. Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America" is flying them to Los Angeles to have them perform for a celebrity party she is throwing. They have played with members of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and at numerous charity events. And they are being paid to perform at numerous California venues. H E Y C A L L H I M " M R . V , " which stands for his last name, Van Buren. But the V could easily stand for other words — such as vital, visionary and versatile — when it comes to describing the music teacher at Grant Union High School in Sacramento. T The drumline needs help to raise $100,000 to go to Washington. To help them meet their goal, online donations may be made to other/drumline-to-the-d-c-/192707. Go Online @ By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Mr. V marches to the beat of a different drummer Profile Perspectives 26

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