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Michael McDonald headlines show for The Rhythmic Arts Project

Perla Batalla and Michael McDonald
Tracy Lehr / KEYT
Perla Batalla and Michael McDonald perform.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It's not everyday friends with intellectual and developmental differences serve as the opening act for the likes of Michael McDonald, but that is what happened on Friday night at the Lobero.

They also opened for Amy McDonald, Bill and Tamara Champlin, Ellis Hall, and their bands.

Students with The Rhythmic Arts Project took the stage with TRAP founder Eddie Tuduri.

Perla Batalla, known for singing with the late Leonard Cohen served as a surprise guest.

She closed the show with McDonald singing "Hallelujah" and when McDonald appeared moved by the music she gave him an encouraging hug.

After the concert McDonald and Tuduri talked about what TRAP means to them.

"It's wonderful, the cause is wonderful, you known an outreach program like this to kids, special needs kids is a wonderful thing, and there should be more outreach to our society in general and our culture in general, because the arts are hard, it is almost hard to support the arts anymore, there are not that many opportunities, so when people like Eddie take the initiative and do it, especially under those circumstances, for these kids, and bring them in and teach them something about their culture, arts, music. it permeates our life whether we known it or not, that is what makes us human beings as opposed to every other species on earth,  is the arts and our sense of beauty, and our ability to shape and form beauty outside of ourselves that we all understand, that is the amazing language that human beings only have,"  said McDonald.

 Tuduri said," The only thing I would add to that is that TRAP has that but has this educational aspect of it. Someone said tonight, ' I love the way the students were playing on stage,' musically, how good that was and I said, well, that is not what we do exactly, that is part of it absolutely part of it.  We teach reading, writing, arithmetic, social skills, creative thinking. Kids have to learn how to count, how to spell, and the adults as well, we had a bunch of them, the adults here tonight. So a lot of times, they don't have early intervention, so they might be 40-years-old and never count to 4, so we use the drums as the tactile component, your see a chart that has 1,2,3,4,  quarter notes and you hit the drum, so don't think of the drum as a drum, but the tactile components, you hear it too, it's auditory and you speak, so it is visual tactile, auditory, speech, and we teach reading writing and arithmetic and the social aspect happens automatically, it just happens, and they are so in tune, and then they become in tune with each other, and then they become in tune with the community, and we give them the wherewithal, the confidence to go out and really make it in a typical world. They want the same things we do, absolutely the same things, they want to get a job, they want to have a relationship, live independently, they want to have girlfriends and boyfriends they want to go do the same things we can do."

TRAP student Ben Tomack is an instructor, too.

"I like being on stage a lot tonight," said Tomack.

He called it a good show.

Rhythm helped trap founder Eddie Tuduri recover from a life-threatening body surfing accident in Carpinteria. He is also a recent throat cancer survivor.

More than a dozen relatives came from the East Coast to show their support.

The money raised from ticket sales and from auctioning often guitars will benefit TRAP classrooms locally and globally.

KTYD's Lin Aubuchon emceed the event and threw in some Eagles concert tickets to the person who had the winning bid for a guitar donated by Joe Walsh.

One TRAP supporters was sorely missed.  Little Feat's Paul Barrere passed away from cancer in late October.

For more information follow The Rhythmic Arts Project on Facebook or visit, .

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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