Youth from Chicago’s West Side are taking their talents to the stage at Lollapalooza.
On Sunday, East Garfield Park’s Hope Junior Drumline and WestDance Team will perform a 10-minute routine at the festival. It’s part of the Music in The Key of Chicago show put on by the city. Their performance will be followed by local up-and-coming artists.
“I’m nervous because it’s something brand-new,” said dancer Kiarah Martin. “I’m not new to performing, but it’s something new that I’ve never done. I’m very excited because it’s a brand-new opportunity I get to take advantage of.”
Marillac St. Vincent Family Services partners with BandWith Chicago and West Side Chicago West Community Music Center to bring dance and music opportunities to youth. It is a part of Marillac’s Hope Junior program.
“I’m feeling excited. Ever since they told us, my emotions have been high,” said drummer Jaylen Scott. “I’ve been telling everybody I’m gonna be performing. I’m ready.”
Both teams have been practicing three hours a day, five days a week since late June to prepare for their performance.
“We’re having the summer of our lives getting ready for this performance,” said Annie Palomino, founder of BandWith. “They’ve been working really hard and it’s incredible to see it come together. It’s really beautiful to watch.”
Some of the students came with prior drum line and dance experience, while others did not.
“We started off pretty rough, just getting the students together, getting in the mode of things … we are truly amazed of the progression our students have shown us throughout the course of this camp,” said Chris Smith, one of the coaches of Hope Junior Drumline.
After their performance at Lollapalooza, the students will get to enjoy some of the festival before traveling to Reggies in the South Loop to perform at an aftershow.
“We’re excited about Lollapalooza. I mean when Annie called me when she found out, I was blown away,” said Deanna Hallagan, Hope Junior program manager at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services. “That’s not even something — I’ve never been to Lollapalooza. So to think that the kids are gonna get to be on the big stage doing their thing, it’s kind of mind blowing in a way.”
WestDance Team and Hope Junior Drumline will perform at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Bud Light Seltzer stage.
Note: This story was originally published Friday, July 30. It has been updated to include our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” video.