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A local drummer performs in the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade | Community

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. (WAND) – A group has been invited to perform at a parade in June.

Jacksonville Drumline Institute provides lessons for students in 6th grade through high school. 17 students traveled to St. Louis to perform.

Students say it was the perfect way to represent Jacksonville across the state line.

“Jacksonville used to be really big,” said Jan Meek, one of the performers. “We’ve had two colleges here, we used to have a lot of industry, but lately it’s been in decline, but I feel like more art could put Jacksonville back on the map.”

The Jacksonville Drumline Institute was founded by Chip Davis. He created the group to help children find a creative outlet.

“The reason I do this is because I feel like music saved me when I was growing up and it kept me off the streets,” Davis said. “The music kept me grounded and involved in the song, and I think all these kids need something.”

Until now, every student who graduated from the institute went to serve in college or in the army. Davis tries to keep the cost of participation low, and he relies on the people of Jacksonville to keep the program going.

“We’re proud to represent our community, and Jacksonville really is a great community,” Davis said. “They are very supportive of us and we are grateful to them for that.”

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