Inspiration East hosts a fundraiser at The Factory in Collingswood


Luke Shin

Inspiration East performs at The Factory.

On December 4, 2015, Inspiration East hosted a fundraiser at The Factory in Collingswood in order to raise money for much needed equipment.  

Inspiration East is a band made up of a variety of members, some from East, and some from other schools.  The band plays Funk, Fusion, Jazz, R&B, Gospel, and Blues.  

However, because they are separate from East’s music department, the band does not receive any funding. Most of their equipment is broken, low quality, or borrowed.

The band consists generally of high school students, with a few middle school and college students. The band is directed by Mr. Cecil Leonard who also plays bass in Inspiration East.

Members of the fourteen piece ensemble include: Jaden Williams (‘18) the band leader on keyboard; Nick Kepron (‘17) another band leader on percussion; Ben Turner (‘16) on guitar; Jon Hess (‘18) on guitar; Jon Hay (‘19) also on guitar; Alex Glass (‘17) on keyboard; Colin Myers (graduate) also on keyboard; Paul Bauer (graduate) on percussion; Joe Tighue (‘16) on trombone; Josue Villegas (‘16) on trumpet; Tahlia Encarnacion (‘17), Zion Adams (‘19), Naomi Warszawski (‘18) on vocals; and Ben Kepron (8th grade at Rosa) on piano and vocals. These fourteen members were joined by six additional musicians to perform for the fundraiser.

The first set consisted of a variety of genres including songs such as “Copchase” by Es5, “Superstrut” by Eumir Deodato, and “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield. The second set consisted of a King of Pop tribute to Michael Jackson including songs such as Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin Something” and James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.” The band finished with  “What About Me” by Snarky Puppy with surprise guest and soloist Dan Panus (‘18) on the bass.

“To me, Inspiration East is not just a band, it’s an inspirational movement. We try to bring the best out of our members so that they can be the best versions of themselves on and off the stage,” said Nick Kepron.

“We have taken in people who can barely play their instrument and within a year, they’re able to to pick up a song in 20 minutes. It’s an amazing thing to foster, create, and cultivate in people. That’s why the name is INSPIRATION East. We inspire our members to become better performers and people.”

Kepron’s enthusiasm shines through his devotion to the band and the way he talks about it. Director Mr. Cecil Leonard describes the band members as balls of energy. Inspiration East allows for all of the members to be themselves and join together in expression through music.

The enthusiastic, hardworking band rehearses as often as possible, whether is be outside of school or during lunch this hard work was evident in their superb performance that thrilled the crowd and left the audience in awe. In total, the fundraiser proved to be a success as the band raised around $1,500 in just two hours.

Inspiration East hopes to continue to expand and start playing more gigs outside of East, possibly in Philadelphia. They also make plans to begin working on an abundance of original music in the new year. Since most of the band members are composer’s, Inspiration East hopes to create amazing, original material.