Monday, May 24, 2010

drumSTRONG 2010


What an incredible weekend!  This year's drumSTRONG event was an amazing accomplishment.  We set another world record marathon drumcircle with 28 hours of non-stop drumming, all in a celebration of survivorship and beating cancer.  Hundreds of people participated in the main event in Weddington, North Carolina on a beautiful horse farm with perfect weather.  50 other cities around the world also held drumcircle events in the name of drumSTRONG including: Dusseldorf, Germany, Tokyo and Hiroshima Japan, Los Angeles and Baltimore.  Some of these cities were webcast in with the main event, so they could see us in North Carolina, and we could see and play along with them, creating a truly global drumcircle.  

Many of the attendees had raised money through their drumming, being sponsored per hour, including Ann, who raised over $1,300.00 that will go to charities helping those who are fighting cancer and to help find a cure.  Many of the attendees at the event in North Carolina were cancer survivors.  Many had lost loved ones.  Many continue to care for loved ones fighting cancer.  All were part of the process of finding a cure by playing their drums.  

There were about 15 facilitators who came from as far as California to attend this event.  Each of us took hour long shifts to facilitate the circle.  Ann and I co-facilitated one of the shifts and at one point had a four-way chant going "Drum - Strong - Beat - Cancer" The entire time there was one drum that never stopped (in the video it is the large drum up on the stand (me in red shirt playing it at the start).  The 'Mother drum' was always playing to represent the fight for life and survivorship.  

You can watch clips of the drumcircle here:  

Videos from other cities can also be seen here:

Besides the drumcircle, there were many other happenings going on including lots of vendors and informational booths and a stage that featured a full lineup of eclectic music (rock, reggae, bellydance, folk, soul, etc.)   Jonathan was asked to play along with an all star lineup of amazing drummers including, Jim Donovan, Vinx, Jeff Sype, Arthur Hull, Dave Holland, Mike Deaton and others.

Check out that video -

At the end of the circle, we closed with a song that went, "Drum strong! ...  All night long! ... We can beat it! ... We can defeat it! ..."

Next year's drumSTRONG is scheduled to take place May 21 - 22nd. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prince George's County Social Workers and Clients

On Saturday April 24, 2010 this group of social workers had a very early morning start on their day off for stress relief and fun. So we greeted them and led them on a wonderful calming experience in nature with the sounds of frogs of many ages and crickets, rain sticks and ocean drums. It was magical. We then moved into the wonderful sounds of gongs and chimes before they rocked the place with drums and other percussion. It was a great ride from beginning to end and those who started out kind of hesitant about the whole program left energized and smiling and feeling much less stress than they arrived with. Two people who also arrived with headaches were also headache free. Thanks to Dave Holland for having us there again.

Week Two Ensemble Class

The second ensemble class on April 22, 2010 rocked the walls tonight. We practiced the djembe parts and then moved into learning the dunun and bell parts to Garangadon. With 3 full sets of dununs we had people coming to the door from around the building to see where the music was coming from. This class is grooving with the base drums. Then we moved into putting both the djembe and dunun parts together before we left for the evening. 

Silver Spring Day School

FunDrum Rhythm Circles went to the Silver Spring Day School on April 22, 2010 where Pre-K kids partook in a musical extravaganza of activities. The kids first enjoyed musical chairs and then alien dance where kids struck a pose when the music stopped. Then they enjoyed drumming to fill up their morning musical activities. As always this age group if a lively bunch.

New Ensemble Drum Class Starts

Tuesday April 15, 2010 marked the beginning of a new drum class I am offering to help expand the knowledge and experience for many of my students who have repeated my basic hand drumming class over and over again. We will be studying a variety of different drums and percussion instruments in this class that make up the complete ensemble for a particular piece. 
Presently we are studying the Garangadon Rhythm from the Mandingue culture. We are starting out with the 3 djembe parts before we get into the bell and dunun parts. We will work on this for the first 3 classes and then we will move onto the basics of the Talking Drum for the last 3 weeks. 

Lively Catonsville Seniors Drum Again

On Thursday April 15, 2010 Another lively group of seniors awaited FunDrum Rhythm Circles to arrive. This wonderful group of people is all about making music and is interested in using and learning about a variety of percussion instruments. They also love learning songs from other countries. Again we had some happy feet dancing to the beat of their own drumming. All left happy and smiling and asking when we would return. 

Spring Basic Hand Drumming Class

On Wednesday evening April 14, 2010 another great group of students came out to start their spring off with a great drumming experience. They all rocked as they learned the basic sounds of bass, tone, and slaps on their djembe, conga or bougarabous. Then after practicing several practice rhythms with these sounds they quickly moved into putting these sounds first into patterns and then into polyrhythms for practice. Great Class.