STORY WRITTEN BY MARGIE ROYAL
“I love to play the drums,” says Susan Hart of Phoenixville. It’s a passion that began in 2001 and led her to sign up for a four-day workshop in Bethlehem last year with Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan. Donovan is perhaps best known for the Rusted Root song “Send Me on My Way,” which he co-wrote and performed; it’s the song with the catchy whistle refrain and a song that has been featured in the movies “Matilda” and “Ice Age.” Donovan is also the author of the book “Drum Circle Leadership” and regularly offers trainings to organizations that teach people “how to facilitate creative group music-making as a way to enhance wellness and social connection.” Hart is one of those individuals he’s trained, and now she is ready to share what she’s learned. Beginning Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m., Hart will led a drum circle on the second Saturday of each month at Parastudy in Chester Heights throughout the fall.
Various claims are made about the benefits of joining a drum circle: that it reduces stress, that it promotes fellowship and gives an outlet for creative expression. Exactly how it can help you is something you will likely have to experience for yourself.
No experience in playing the drums is needed, Hart explained, adding that she provides the drums, rattles, bells and chimes. When asked what a typical Drum Circle evening would be like, she said it would begin with introductions, with time for any special intentions to be stated, then a five- to seven-minute drumming session followed by a period of meditation. After the meditation, participants are free to switch drums; and if they feel like dancing instead of drumming they are free to do so. Although a Drum Circle is linked to Native American traditions, many cultures have used drums and percussion instruments for music, dance and ritual — and to induce a deeper state of awareness.
Hart says those that attend will likely find that, after a while, “the drum plays you. You don’t play the drum.”
IF YOU GO: The Drum Circle will be held at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12. The cost is $15 for non-members and $10 for members at the door. Parastudy is at 354 Valleybrook Road, Chester Heights.