Daniel de los Reyes used a Cat 279C2 compact track loader to clear the land.
Many of us dream of being a professional athlete, a famous actor or actress, or a world-renowned musician, traveling the globe and performing in front of thousands of fans. So what do these actors, athletes and musicians wish they could do? Some of them, like Daniel de los Reyes, have dreams of sharing their extensive knowledge and passion for music with others, and Caterpillar construction equipment was an integral part of making that dream a reality.
Since last year, Daniel de los Reyes has been a band member and percussionist with the three-time Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band. He was also recently named “2013 Percussionist of the Year” by Modern Drummer magazine, the worlds largest drum and percussion trade magazine.
Daniel’s musical background spans several generations and many musical genres. His family involvement in the music industry dates back to the 1920’s in Cuba and Puerto Rico where his father (Walfredo de los Reyes Sr. III) and grandfather (Walfredo de los Reyes II) honed their musical skills and eventually became some of Cuban/American music history’s most important musical pioneers. Taught percussion and music by his father, Daniel de los Reyes has developed an impressive list of accomplishments of his own in the music industry. He has toured, performed and recorded with outstanding artists including Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Sting, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin and Peter Frampton. He also created his own entertainment company, DrumJungle, Inc., which produces unique shows. For example, one of the many offerings this creative company produces, “DrumJungle Primal!,” combines high-energy interaction between drums, percussions, dancers, and singers, fusing together rhythms from around the world, “A multi-cultural experience.”
Daniel de los Reyes, also an inventor, created the award winning LP “One Shot Shaker,” a revolutionary musical shaker design that enables both novice and professional musicians to execute simple or even the most complex rhythms for an entire musical track with improved precision and ease. This is just one of the many inventions coming out of this creative person’s mind.
His most recent initiative is anticipated to be his most creative and personally rewarding. Daniel de los Reyes commented, “I have been working hard and diligently building my camp in Fayetteville, Georgia. People and companies are getting involved with assistance in building the camp. The first company that has taken an interest and has been instrumental with building the trails is Caterpillar.”
“These trails will be the basis of a development and training center that incorporates percussion instruments and music as the main tools to assist in creating unique music programs, as well as with teaching and motivating our local youth. One of my goals is to teach and instill the rapid integration of and the importance of teamwork to our youth.”
De los Reyes’ DayGLOW Music Camp will be a self-contained, independent, educational youth development facility that will create unique, one-of-a-kind rhythm music programs.
“DayGLOW Music Camp will serve to educate and prepare future camp volunteers, staffers, and possibly teachers and music coaches as well,” says de los Reyes. “In addition, we are in discussions with Camp Southern Ground (CSG) about future integration of DayGLOW Music Camp programs into their camp curriculum.” CSG is the passion of three-time Grammy award-winner Zac Brown.
DayGLOW Music Camp will be a one-day (9:00 am to 6:00 pm) music education and development camp which will include multiple circular congregation areas representative of different countries built hands-on by de los Reyes himself.
“I have been very blessed in my musical career, and I would like to continue to give something back to others interested in music,” said de los Reyes. “This camp will be my way of helping children and young adults interested in music to develop a better knowledge of the different sounds and rhythms from all over the world, and give them a better appreciation of the people and customs of those different cultures.”
The first phase in Daniel’s camp development was to build the trails themselves, and this is where he developed a new hobby, operating construction equipment. With five acres of undeveloped property, he was determined to be hands-on in the development of the trails, from layout and design to the actual clearing, grading and mulching. The five acres quickly spread to 20 as neighbors heard and not only joined by giving permission to do trails on their land, but by also helping out.
Working with Caterpillar and Yancey Bros. Co.’s Cat Rental Store, Daniel took delivery of a Cat 279C2 Compact Track Loader (CTL) equipped with a Cat mulching head early on a Wednesday morning. Having never operated any kind of construction equipment, he was shown the ins and outs of the machine and how to run it. After a couple of hours of instruction from Yancey’s Compact Construction Equipment Specialist, Preston Smith, Daniel was flying solo on his property.
Eager to see what he and the machine could do, Daniel began the process of laying out the trails by clearing paths using the mulching head. He quickly learned the most effective methods to remove trees and brush in the path, grind the stumps down to ground level, and mulch the material on the path until it was smooth and easily walk able. After the first hour on the machine, a smiling Daniel got out and could not say enough about how much he enjoyed the work and how easy the Cat CTL was to operate. “This is just as fun as riding my motorcycle, and somewhat safer. I love it! I could do this for a living in my in-between time from touring.”
Three short days later Daniel had completed an enormous amount of work on the trails. He had transformed a once heavily wooded area into a working system of paths ready for kids and music. “It is really going to be hard to give this tractor up,” said Daniel as the machine was loaded back on Yancey’s truck. “I’m going to have to get one of these sometime in the future. I have learned so much in one week with this incredible machine — I’ve even been showing others how to run it. And I’ve found working with this is very similar to music and my camp. You want to approach these things with a gung-ho, ’Jump Right In’ attitude, but at the same time with a lot of care and sensitivity. When I first got on the machine, I became too aggressive too quickly and took out some beautiful trees that I didn’t really want to. I then realized I had to take my time becoming more methodical. This would assure a lot better work. In hindsight, I’ve learned that using this Cat CTL is much like how I approach everything in my life . . . some things I do slow & steady, some things I do fast & furious, but I do ALL things with a lot of passion & smiles!”
“I sincerely want to thank both Caterpillar and Yancey Bros. Co. for their help and support with building my trails and helping to bring my dream to life.”
Scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, DayGLOW Music Camp will initially focus on small groups of five to seven high school age youth from the south metro Atlanta area with musical interest and ability, with the goal of growing the camp in the future to incorporate larger groups of different ages and abilities. “I’m very excited to see the first group of kids come through the camp and see what kinds of successes we can have educating them about music from around the world,” said de los Reyes. And given his devotion to music for many, many years, the camp is sure to be a success itself.