- May 25, 2012
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This past Sunday, my family and I took a bike ride over to a local park. As usual, we loaded our backpacks with a variety of sports equipment and snacks. Once we got there, we could hear the faint sounds of drums. We locked our bikes up and followed the beat hoping to catch a free concert. The drums got louder as we strained to look over the grassy hills to find the stage. To our surprise, there was no ‘concert’. We had stumbled upon a circle of more than thirty chairs, side by side, each with a large hand drum propped up in front of it. The drums were in many different colors and sizes. There were a few kids on the drums and my first thought was that it was probably for a birthday party. But there was no food, no party hats, or anything else that would point to a celebration.
Soon all thirty chairs were filled up with different people from all ages and various walks of life banging on the drums in synch
As my four kids curiously looked on, one of the adults motioned for us to join the group. They’re usually pretty shy but with some encouragement, they all sat down in front of a drum and some even grabbed drumsticks. Without being prompted and almost instinctively, they began to follow the beat. Once again the same adult then motioned for my wife and I to join them as well, which we did. Soon all thirty chairs were filled up with different people from all ages and various walks of life banging on the drums in synch. I looked around and it felt great! The leader (the one who kept motioning to us and whose name I later discovered was Chris Ramirez) kept stopping the beat and chose different children in the group to create a new rhythm, which all of the others would then follow. You should have seen the looks on their faces when everyone else played along and made their idea come to life. The support, encouragement, and sense of accomplishment were visible and surreal. We then took a break and felt comfortable meeting some of the other families in the group with whom we had just shared this great experience.
I have to admit that it was quite an experience for all of us.
When I had the chance I had to go up and talk to Chris about this activity. He was so passionate about what he did and the team building aspect of his “Freedom Drum Circles.” I couldn’t help but agree with him based on the expressions on the children’s faces in our group. He talked about how drums and percussion instrument groups can build the spirit of communities and create a strong sense of group identity. He continued, “There’s nothing that gives me more joy than to bring people together physically, emotionally, and mentally while promoting relaxation, communication, and creative expression.” He described using his program at parties, company retreats, other festivities, and even bringing the drums to developmentally disabled individuals and groups. I have to admit that it was quite an experience for all of us. The family was able to bond and the kids felt a sense of accomplishment (while of course getting out their aggression — always good) by creating music and feeling the support in real time. What a great way to have fun, enjoy family-time, and make new friends all at the same time!
You can contact Christopher Ramirez at:
“Feel the unity one drum beat at a time”
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