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Northborough church hosts ‘Drumming Circle’

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(l to r) Mother and daughter Cynthia Cannon (right) and Briana Smith (middle), of Sterling, and Travis Maxim, of Lancaster, contribute to the mix of rhythm at the Northborough Community Rhythm Circle Sept. 17 at First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist of Northborough. Drumming/Rhythm Circles are held monthly and are open to anyone. (l to r) Mother and daughter Cynthia Cannon (right) and Briana Smith (middle), of Sterling, and Travis Maxim, of Lancaster, contribute to the mix of rhythm at the Northborough Community Rhythm Circle Sept. 17 at First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist of Northborough. Drumming/Rhythm Circles are held monthly and are open to anyone. Northborough – Walking into the Parish Hall of First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist of Northborough, one might assume that they have entered a jam session of a musical group that has played together for some time. The reality is, though, that it's likely that several of the people attending the monthly drumming circle are drumming for the first time.

The Northborough Community Rhythm Circle is held at the church on the third Monday of each month. Anyone is welcome and extra drums are provided. Debbie Clarke, founder of U Drum 2, facilitates this interactive rhythm event.

"Some folks will call and ask me if it's a drumming lesson," Clarke said. "I explain that I facilitate activities in a way that gets everyone playing, without 'teaching' them, … that they will tap into their own rhythmic abilities. Whether folks believe it or not, everyone has rhythm and can participate in a way that is comfortable for them. Absolutely no experience is needed, just a willingness to have some fun."

Clarke, who grew up with no training with musical instruments, discovered drumming while living in Vermont seven years ago.

"I took a few hand drumming lessons and was thrilled to learn that I had rhythm," she said. "I was struck by the fact that I could play hand drums with little to no training, and I loved how I felt when I played."

Recognizing that drumming to create "spontaneous joyful music" fosters a sense of "connectedness and general well being," reduces stress, and energizes and empowers the drummer, Clarke wanted to offer such an experience to her clients at work.

"Three years ago I convinced the agency I work for, YOU Inc., to let me buy a collection of hand drums for the residential program in which I was working as education director," she said. "I took a week-long training on drum circle facilitation with Arthur Hull, the 'father' of community drum circles in the U.S."

After her training, Clarke worked with youth.

"I facilitated weekly drum circles with the clients in our residential facility, a crisis stabilization facility for children and teens," she said. "Watching the response from the kids I worked with reiterated how powerful drum circles are in connecting people and creating a very 'here and now' joyful experience."

As a member of First Parish Northborough Unitarian Universalist Church, Clarke felt it made sense to add a drum circle to the array of programs off ered at the church.

"In addition to the weekly circles with youth and children, and the Northborough circle, I started doing circles for diff erent organizations and groups, and that's how U Drum 2 began," she said. "I did a few circles where participants had expected me to come in and play for them, not a surprising expectation given our societal norm that musicians play for others who watch and listen.

"As I spread out the dozens of drums and small percussion instruments I brought, I smiled and replied, 'Oh no, you drum too.' And they did, and loved it."

For more information, visit www.udrum2.com or call 508-873-3164.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=1036

Posted by on Oct 26 2007. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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