Old Bethpage drum corps provides thrill for musicians with disabilities
An Old Bethpage drum corps is taking the music world by storm and realizing a dream with their unique set of musicians.
The Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE) Players Drum Corps is the first, and only, marching band in the United States composed entirely of adults with special needs.
The group comes from FREE, a nonprofit organization that provides services for people with disabilities.
The band's music director says it has come a long way in just a few years.
"I started the group in 2010 with just five members with sticks and pads with the dream of one day marching in a parade," says Brian Calhoun. "We've grown tremendously over the past several years."
Today, FREE Players consists of 70 members who focus not on their disabilities, but on their talents.
"It's the best thing to happen in my life, [it's] so amazing," says FREE Player Barbara Cabellera.
They were among ten bands in the U.S. Bands New York State Championships, and have been featured across the country at Disney World and at New York City's Columbus Day Parade.
Next up, the FREE Players hit the world stage, where they have been invited to perform at the Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis next summer.