taranza_web.jpgBELLE GLADE – A show-stopping video of Taranza McKelvin Jr. as a drum major went viral and he is marching right into the national spotlight. And he is only 5 years old.

The pint- sized drum major for Glades Central Community High School, in Belle Glade, will appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show.

Degeneres saw his electrifying performance on the YouTube video and had to have him on her show, said Cindy McDade, the school’s assistant principal.

Ellen Degeneres producers worked with the school on arrangements for the taping to take place a day prior to the broadcast, with the show being piped in via satellite during a Battle of the Bands Contest at the school’s Effie C. Grear football field, McDade said.

“We’re very, very excited,” she said.

According to news reports, Taranza has been practicing with his parents for the big interview and they’ve been working to keep him from getting star struck. “He’s adorable and very articulate,” said McDade.

Little Taranza made his band debut in November during Glades Central’s biggest game of the year, the Muck Bowl, against cross-town rival Pahokee High. A video of his performance made it to YouTube and since then the national media have been calling.

“The recognition has blown us away,” said Charles Moorer Jr., the school’s band director, who allowed Taranza to perform with the high school band. Moorer said producers from The Steve Harvey Show and the Rachael Ray Show have called too.

“This is a great opportunity, not only for the students but [also] for the school and the community,” Moorer said. He said many of his former students have been calling from across the country to congratulate the school on its newfound fame due to their mini-drum major.

Taranza was 4 when his father, Taranza McKelvin Sr., a South Bay city commissioner, himself a former band member at Glades Central and in the famed Marching 100 at Florida A&M University, approached Moorer with the idea of letting his son perform with the band.

“His father inquired about it. He told me that his son was talented and could do it but I was skeptical because he was so young. He’s quite under age,” said Moorer, who’s also a former Glades Central band member and a former Marching 100 member. But the senior McKelvin, who assists with the percussionists at Glades Central, had Taranza at practice all the time.

The Glades Day School student began observing the band members and eventually started catching on to the moves.

“As he was observing, he caught on quickly,” Moorer said. “He caught me by surprise. He was very impressive – his marching drills.”

Moorer said Taranza was as good as the older students. “He’s good at what he does,” he said. But he gets no special treatment. “We treat him like we treat all the other students,” said Moorer.

Moorer wanted Taranza to perform at a big game. “We decided to save him for our biggest performance – the Muck Bowl,” Moorer said.
McDade said Taranza was their secret weapon in the annual rivalry on Nov. 9. “In this rivalry, we always try to pull out all the stops,” said McDade. “Taranza’s debut was our big surprise.”