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The Beat of ‘Upbeat Outreach’  

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- In one music class at South Williamsport Area Junior-Senior High School, it's not about mastering the song. It's about having the courage to march to the beat of a different drum.

"I always had a dream of this class like drumming,” said Michael Hill, a ninth-grader at South Williamsport AreaJunior-Senior High School.

Almost every month, Amy Pregent's life skills class at the junior-senior high school meets under the lights in the school’s auditorium. They get a drum lesson from Michael Wrench who runs a program called "Upbeat Outreach."

"If you wake up and you're having a bad day, it changes your outlook pretty quick," said Michael Wrench.

The program at the South Williamsport started about five years ago when the owner of the drum therapy program reached out to the school.

"I wasn't sure how this class was going to go. We do have some students who are unable to drum themselves, so I was a little apprehensive, but he is fantastic,” said Amy Pregent.

"It helps me I think sometimes more than it helps them,” said Wrench.

The students range in age, mental and physical abilities, but in class, they're all drummers.

"It's cool to see them like Andrew, Justin, and Kayla, just to see them move their arms, it makes me happy. It probably makes their parents happy. I know it makes our teachers happy," said Hill.

This class isn't just about banging on a drum. Wrench took some time to teach the kids about the instruments they're playing with.

"This drum has two different things that make up this drum. It has brass which is a metal and it has wood inside," said Wrench.

"Some of our students have some trouble socially or emotionally, this gives them an outlet. Some of them, it's confidence level,” said Pregent.

It's why Pregent plans to continue lessons with Upbeat Outreach in South Williamsport.