BY SAM RAPPAPORT
Springfield Gardens resident Larry Carthan once had a career on Wall Street working for Goldman Sachs. But 12 years ago, he quit his job to become a full-time music teacher. He now spends his weeks traveling to public schools throughout the five boroughs to lead marching bands and drum lines.
Carthan runs programs for the city’s Department of Education at the Roy Wilkins School in Jamaica and the Ovington School in Bay Ridge.
On Saturdays at the Rochdale Village Community Center, Carthan and his son, Steven Carthan, lead band practice for their own Elite Marching Band, a group composed of approximately 80 Southeast Queens youths between the ages of 3 to 18.
On April 28, all of Carthan’s students from across the city will convene at the Campus Magnet Building in Cambria Heights for a three-hour showcase that features eight bands and three dance troupes.
“It’s going to be an exciting event,” Carthan said. “It’s a family oriented program, where all these talented young kids get to showcase what they’ve been working on all year.”
Carthan said that his showcase and the marching bands he leads across the city provide many disadvantaged youths with a stable and encouraging environment.
“It’s a setting where they can have camaraderie and learn self-control and respect for one another,” Carthan said. “Many of my students have ADHD, anger problems, family issues, they don’t know how to express themselves.”
Carthan sees his programs as providing a productive creative outlet for youths who may have nowhere else to turn.
“It’s a safe haven where they can come and develop themselves,” Carthan said. “A lot of my students are now in college or working as firemen, policemen and civil servants.”
Carthan also sees his work as filling a gap in the public school curriculum, which often prioritizes other subjects over music.
“The schools are reluctant to work with the arts,” he said. “A lot the kids today, they didn’t grow up with music. It’s become very expensive to maintain instruments, and the DOE just doesn’t have the funding.”
More than 160 young musicians will crowd into the Campus Magnet Building’s auditorium, located at 207-01 116th Ave., on April 28 for the showcase. Carthan said that he expects more than 500 attendees at the performance.
Doors to the event open at 3 p.m. and the show runs from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. Attendees are able to buy tickets at the door for $25 or purchase them in advance for $20. For more information about Carthan’s marching band programs and to purchase tickets to the April 28 showcase, call (718) 427-0670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s going to be a great show,” Carthan said.
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport via email at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.