VIDEO: Accomplished Alumnus and Percussionist Neil Grover Visits Kennedy

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Decades ago Neil Grover, a member of Kennedy High School’s class of 1973, watched Ringo Starr perform with The Beatles on television and he began playing the drums in the school band.

Fast forward to the present where he expertly performs on more than 40 percussion instruments, travels the globe with the esteemed Boston Pops and has created his own concert instrument line, Grover Pro Percussion.

The accomplished musician addressed a packed band room at Kennedy on Dec. 3.

“While I was at Kennedy, I was probably practicing one to two hours a day because I wanted to get into a music conservatory,” Grover recalled. “By the time I was a senior, I knew I wanted to peruse music as a career, but was unsure in what capacity.”

Grover demonstrated various percussion instruments including the bongos, congas, tambourine and also played an excerpt of a song from the hit movie, Home Alone on the glockenspiel and chimes.

"It was such an awesome experience having Mr. Grover come in to speak and perform for my students,” said Walter Avellaneda, director of bands. “To see someone fulfill their lifelong passion and have a career with so many accomplishments was an incredible lesson for my students.”

Grover stressed the importance of finding your passion and running with it. 

“There is no better inspiration for students than that,” Avellaneda added. “For them to see an alumnus that played on the very same instruments, in the same room, while spending countless hours in the band room and hearing his journey become one of the most respected percussionists in the music industry was such a treat. It is something we will all never forget and the kids haven't stopped talking about it." 

A message of sacrifice and perseverance was emphasized to students when it comes to pursuing your goals.  Grover constantly reiterated that everyone in their own way has a passion for music, as it touches lives on many levels.  He encouraged students to keep playing whether it be for a future career as a musician or simply for their own enjoyment. 

Grover ended by sharing that his time in the band program at Kennedy High School was one of the most motivating factors in starting his highly successful career.