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Musician returns to Riviera Beach to help teenagers in music programs (2016)

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Ray Nelson II knows about the importance of giving back.

The musician is currently a member of the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra. We first met Nelson in 2011, He had just graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts and had accepted a full scholarship to attend Florida A&M University.

Nelson has been playing the drums since age 3. By the time he was 8, he was in the marching band at Suncoast High School. He later performed at Showtime at the Apollo and America's Most Talented Kids.

Now a college graduate, Nelson, 23, is back in Riviera Beach to put on a week-long music camp at Suncoast High School. Dozens of teenagers are in the camp, called the Synergy Percussion Clinic.

"We're just trying to instill that mindset into the youth, give back and just give them something that they can take back to their prospective schools," Nelson said.

Nelson said he and a handful of other teachers in the clinic are teaching them more than just how to play drums. They're teaching them about discipline and leadership. ‘'It means you have to be able to interact with others, you have to have a business mindset, creative brand," Nelson said.

"Just building them up and giving them some knowledge they're not necessarily getting just from being in the marching bands in their schools," he said.

On Thursday, the band camp participants will get to show what they've learned.

They will perform in a concert at 7 pm at Suncoast High School.

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