Testimonials

Willie Stewart and Embrace Music Foundation in Concert

The students at Somerset Academy with less than 30 hours of formal training on percussion, most who had never touched a musical instrument before, performed perfectly and right on the beat, thanks to their transforming professional instruction and guidance from master music educator, Mr. William Stewart. But it was not just the young students who shined, the band was outstanding and it was perfect harmony with the extremely talented male and female vocalists.

Philip Nix

The joy on the children’s faces was infectious. They were beaming and having fun. The precision in their performance, with only 28 days to learn an instrument and play music, is a testament to what could be achieved with more time and money.
The audience was moving in their seats and dancing in the aisles. Rhythms of Africa is a must see for all ages. Pure Joy.
Keep Arts in the Schools!!!

Theresa

Backstage at Rhythms of Africa: Music Around the World 🥁! Honored to serve as the host last night. We’ve heard a lot about Africa lately, haven’t we? Opinions, some casual….evaluations, from persons who really ought to know better. But this concert presented by Embrace Music Foundationbeautifully represented sounds from the African Diaspora. Proud to have Nigerian Ancestry 🇳🇬 Congratulations Willie Stewart on this amazing event!‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Constance Jones

Thank you to the Miramar Cultural Center for bringing the Rhythms of Africa performance last night! It was an amazing show! Under the mentorship of Willie Stewart my son Elijah and his classmates from Somerset Academy were outstanding! Thanks to all my family and friends for supporting the show. Mayor Wayne M. Messam is very supportive of Cultural Arts in the City of Miramar.

It was my First time attending rhythms of Africa I enjoyed all the groups as they performed with lots of enthusiasm. The audience was very involved as they cheered on the younger and older performers of the show. I was also amazed how big of a production this was and learning of the history of the show, being in existence since 2004. I am very proud of the level of professionalism that Willie Stewart has infused into this great production. I will be attending everyone from now on.

Sylvester Jones

If you’ve been a fan of THIRD WORLD from back in the day, then Willie needs no introduction and you really have to see with your own eyes the magic that happens when musical genius and talent decide to pay it forward and invest in our next generation of youth.
I’ve been fortunate to attend at least two of these “command performances,” as well as see Willie in action, live in his workshops with these kids — many of them from under-served communities, whom Willie has dedicated much of this next phase of his illustrious musical career toward helping.
The workshops are as joyful and infectious as Willie is pure high-energy talent and grace. The workshops are purpose-driven. And they are FUN. Therefore, it really is extraordinary and compelling to witness what happens when Willie has these kids for a while under his masterful wings. Their stories of transformation and the music they create are not only inspiring, they remind us that when all else fails, when we think kids are unreachable, lost even, music speaks to hearts, and to minds, and to souls.

Donna Kassin

I watched the faces of the students who had just learned how to play drums (with only 28 hours of training)
and you obviously have given them new options in life. Whether smiling, or crying, they were so absorbed in watching
you and your assistant director I realized that they have just learned how to work as a group. What a wonderful thing for them
to understand. I hope that you get the opportunity to work with other schools, both in Florida and in other parts of the world.

Sylvia Berman

We loved the diverse collection of rhythms and sounds that signify beautiful histories and musical cultures! We both could not sit still for long as we were engulfed in the exciting sounds and passion of the orchestra, singers and dancers.

Naseema Outram

When I tell you that I truly love and respect this gentleman, words just fall short of the mark. Put aside his history with acclaimed band “Third World”, and you’re left with a man who has the biggest heart. A heart for his wife, kids, friends and family. A man who works tirelessly to produce excellence in whatever he puts his hands to. Willie, you took a chance on me a few years back, you took me under your wing and to this day, you continue to teach me and others what it means to have a passion for your craft and for people. Thank you for being an example to so many and for the lives you continue to touch. Nothing but love for you sir…

Roaming Photo Studio

What a privilege sharing the stage with other fabulous musicians yesterday at the Rhythms Of Africa show! Being a part of the energy, education and love of our musical roots was nothing short of amazing. We gave tribute to West Africa, Brazil, Louisiana, Jamaica, Trinidad, and more! Willie Stewart the mind behind it all is a complete genius but his heart for the next generation and our heritage is pure gold!

Kristine Alicia

I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed being part of your showcase and team. The experience was unbelievable and I can’t wait to work with you again next year; if possible. If you ever need a dancer, I am only one email away. Thanks again.

Gabriella Torres

The great rousing energy you and the young students provided last Saturday, January 20 at the Miramar Cultural Center changed our whole attitude about what is possible for many days following. I am so impressed with what you achieve consistently with students. They were totally engaged and proud of their accomplishments.

Starr Porter

Yes Another huge successful completion of the best of rhythms and sounds like thunder of percussion instruments well done Sir William, ever since the days of my best and favorite Roots and culture Third World our True musical genius of Reggae music.

Maxine Rose Evans

The show was excellent!!!

Willie and his team produced an event that should certainly be repeated for all the folks who missed it and are now hearing about it.

Karlene Shakes

On behalf of Miramar High School, we want to extend our sincerest thanks to the Embrace Music Foundation, Willie Stewart, and the Rhythms of Africa program for their incredible efforts in teaching our students the beautiful art of African drumming. The experience provided by the program has been both enriching and invaluable, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to learn from such talented and passionate instructors. Our students have not only gained new musical skills, but they have also cultivated a deeper appreciation for the rich and diverse cultural traditions of African percussion

We are proud to support initiatives that promote cultural understanding and celebrate the diversity of our world. The Rhythms of Africa program has certainly achieved this and more, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to provide our students with meaningful educational experiences.

Yours in Service,

Kevin Lopez, M.M.

Director of Bands

Miramar High School

First and foremost, thank you to Mr Stewart for his involving Miramar High’s Drumline for this special event. Had this event not reached our school, I would still be in cognizant of such a wonderful annual event that captures the essence of the Caribbean islands, a taste of Brazil and the roots of Africa.

During the sessions of preparation, the students were able to learn more of their cultural roots. The simplicity and complexity that came with each rhythm allowed the students to expand their percussion skill set and enjoy a different genre then their norm. Mr Stewart with persistence and dedication ensured that the students were able to grasp the full concept of each beat on their drum while encouraging them to enjoy themselves by feeling the music.

At the performance time, the students were able to fully embrace Mr. Stewart’s vision for Rhythms of Africa. They shared the stage with various artists and musicians, whom played alongside them and encouraged them. As they performed, the audience was captivated by their ability to perform these rhythms with such passion and ease which gave the  audience a desire for more!

During intermission, there was a heartfelt moment where Dr. Alison Hinds offered the students words of encouragement for their future using herself of as an example of how hard work,  dedication and focused could allow them to achieve their goals.

The most enjoyable moments for me behind stage was seeing the students ad-lib and join artists in their songs which were minimally rehearsed or unrehearsed. They embraced the opportunity and poured their hearts out on the drums while dancing and enjoying such good music.

Overall, musician or not, percussionist or not, Rhythms of Africa provides a unique experience to open up our minds and hearts to the root of good music. Opportunities such as these are not easily available and offered, and I’m thankful Mr Stewart was able to give Miramar High such an experience.

I would recommend this program to any student or school looking provides this type of educational exposure to their students.

Claudia Scott, President

Patriot Soldiers Supporters Association

Miramar High School