A musical maven marvels Beloved character comes off-screen during visit to Rock Crusher Elementary

Students screamed, cheered and couldn’t believe it when a favorite musical character showed up at Rock Crusher Elementary School last week.

Within minutes, Graham Hepburn had the audience entranced during two special concerts last Wednesday.

Hepburn, of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music, immediately took note of the school’s unusual name, and quickly wrote a ditty for the kids:

“Sometimes schools are named after fruits like apple, peach or cherry;

Sometimes after people’s names, like Lincoln, Clark or Terry;

But never in my whole, whole life have a heard a name so cool — Rock Crusher Elementary is the world’s coolest school.”

Students made “hoos” and “haas” as they pretended to crush rocks, then a few were recruited on stage to mimic a rock band.

To the students, Hepburn is a rock star.

Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music is an online interactive music curriculum found in over 60,000 schools in the United States, including Citrus County’s.

District Director of Instructional Technology Dr. Mike Geddes said this program was a perfect fit for Citrus schools.

“Every type of curriculum we looked at had the same materials — we wanted to break out of the box,” Geddes said. “This curriculum does that and more. It combines the use of technology with an excellent curriculum in one package, plus the kids just love it.”

The curriculum utilizes an interactive online program in lieu of traditional textbooks.

“Another great part is it is digital and constantly being updated,” Manning said. “When you get a hardback textbook, the curriculum is in stone — there is no changing it. We went to this option because our previous textbooks were from 2001, with people like Gloria Estefan — who the children have no clue about.”

For years, students have seen Hepburn’s character bouncing around on the screen energetically as he teaches music theory. When he came off the screen, students were ecstatic.

The concert came about after Rock Crusher Elementary music teacher Garrett Manning dressed up as the Quaver character during the Florida Music Education Association Conference in 2016.

“I took a photo with him and came back and told the kids he was my best friend,” Manning said. “Then the students kept asking if they could Skype with him, so it was a huge surprise when I told them Quaver was coming here.”

Quaver Music is the brainchild of co-creators Hepburn and Dave Mastran. After a chance meeting on a cruise ship in Hong Kong, the two hit it off and have since worked on creating an educational curriculum that tries to instill in kids their love for learning music.

“About nine years ago, we started to make a TV show about music a bit like ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ meets Monty Python meets music,” Hepburn said. “Because of his (Mastran’s) expertise in technology, we created an online curriculum.”

For more information on Quaver, visit quavermusic.com.

Contact Chronicle reporter Julie Gorham at 352-563-3236 or jgorham@chronicleonline.com.

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