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Grace Potter and Nocturnals drummer delivers gift to SLU

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CANTON— Aspiring musicians at St. Lawrence University will now be able to beat their own drums, thanks to a gift made to the university’s Java Barn from Matt Burr ’03, drummer for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Burr commissioned a custom drum kit – painted in the university’s colors of scarlet and brown – from Green Mountain Drums in Vermont and delivered it in person to campus on Thursday.

He explained to students that the kit is made partially from reclaimed Vermont maple salvaged from a former factory, along with modern stainless steel.

“Now, when you’re inspired, you can just jump up there and play,” Burr said. “Sometimes you want to try things out, but you don’t have an instrument available. I wanted to give this kit to St. Lawrence so that anyone who wants to can play.”

Burr inscribed the interior of the kick drum with the words “May these drums bang hearts and expand minds,” adding the signature sign-off that the late Louis Armstrong used in correspondence, “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Matt Burr.”

Spending an hour or so with the enthralled students talking music, great gigs and favorite bands, Burr told them as he departed, “Just have fun and make beautiful music.”

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals was formed on campus, when Burr and Potter were students.

Potter will receive an honorary degree from St. Lawrence at Commencement on May 18.

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