Antonio Lynn, it seems, was born with a drumbeat in his soul.
He remembers playing drums at the early age of two. When he was three, his grandparents, Albert and Susan Alston, gave him a full junior-sized drum set for Christmas. By age five, he was playing in his church’s Junior Petite Choir.
Now, as a freshman at Chatham Charter, Antonio plays at two churches – First Missionary Baptist in Siler City and Mt. Zion Baptist in Apex. He also plays in the Sound of Success Drumline, directed by Rodney Jones of Sanford.
“Mr. Jones means a lot to me. He has taught me how to read music and also many other things that I couldn’t have learned on my own,” said Antonio. “Sound of Success gives me a greater way to challenge myself.”
Antonio leads the Sound of Success drumline at the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Siler City.
About Sound of Success
Rodney founded Sound of Success four years ago and since then he has worked with around 100 students in Lee and Chatham Counties, ranging in age from six to 18. He offers his instruction for free, often paying for expenses out of his own pocket.
“I strive to offer a free, high-quality community music education program that brings together youth from across the community. This band program is not based on academic levels, economic status, race, ethnicity or creed,” said Rodney, who works in construction by day and teaches in his off time.
Students can opt to play drums, trumpet, saxophone, mellophone, baritone, trombone and sousaphone. Marching drums and horns were donated to Sound of Success by the band directors of the University of North Carolina Marching Band (Jeffrey Fuchs) and the Duke University Marching Band (Jeffrey Au).
“Music promotes teamwork, discipline, thinking skills, self-esteem, creativity, tolerance and bonded friendship,” Rodney said. His goal: to create a 100-piece marching and concert band.
The drumline practices every Thursday at First Missionary Baptist Church in Siler City. “There are no music requirements,” said Rodney. “The only requirement expected from each child is the willingness to learn and to enjoy the art of music.”
A free clinic for student musicians will be held April 28 from 10 am to 3 pm in Sanford. “Kids from Chatham and Lee Counties will come together for a day of exploring the fundamentals of marching together and understanding their instruments,” said Rodney. “Mr. Dyadrik Borges, a former member of the N.C. A&T Marching Band, will be conducting the clinic. We need more kids!” No prior experience is required. Learn more.
You can reach Rodney by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (919-776-6748 or cell 919-721-6214) to find out more about Sound of Success. Or contact Reverend Gray at First Missionary Baptist Church (919-742-4614).
Antonio beyond the musician
Rodney had this to say about Antonio, ” AJ is a respectful young man who possesses leadership skills and teamwork. He is very creative when it comes to implementing detail drum beats while arranging new drum cadences and he listens to ideas from other kids on the line. When it comes to being a musician, he is a natural on all the marching drums. I am honored that AJ is representing the drumline for Chatham County as well as a member of the Sound of Success.”
When Antonio isn’t playing drums with his various groups or attending school, he likes to sing, play basketball, hang out with his friends and play games. He lives with his mother Tori Alston, his grandparents and his three younger sisters in Siler City. His father, for whom he is named, lives in Haverstraw, N.Y.
After high school, he dreams of following in his Uncle Chris Turner’s footsteps, operating his own trucking business. He also plans to give back to his community by creating “more things for children to do.” He envisions a water park or an “adventure bouncy house.”
And perhaps he too will pass his love of drumming and music on to another generation.
From the artist:
Full name: Antonio Demetrius Lynn Jr.
Friends call me: AJ
Birthday: April 1, 2003
Hometown: Siler City, NC
My earliest childhood memory is: my 2nd Birthday. Everyone in my family came. I got all the toys I asked for. They all showed their love for me.
I first started playing drums because: I love music and wanted to be the first in my family to play an instrument.
If I could spend a year traveling, I’d go to: France. I studied French in school. I really want to see the Eiffel Tower up close.
My perfect day is: August 19, 2016. That is the day I met my girlfriend, Dezani.
Most people don’t know I can: sing.
If I could have any superpower it’d be: the ability to save everyone’s lives.
Ten years from now you’ll probably find me: running my own business, happily married and still drumming and singing.
Sound of Success website
Interview with Rodney Jones