Got rhythm? Don't got rhythm? Want to learn and experience rhythm? Then let go and get into the flow of a drum circle coming this Wednesday evening, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. to Mauch Chunk Lake Park.
Bring a chair or blanket, and that djembe or bongo that has been decorating your room. Even if you've never tapped out a tune before, in 15 minutes you will be tapping out rhythms like a pro, guaranteed or your money back for the free event. Have more than one drum" Bring an extra. Don't have a drum? Maybe someone else brought an extra.
Even if there aren't enough drums, drum circle facilitator, Maureen "Moe"Jerant will have a variety of shakers and percussion instruments available. Jerant has been with the Lehigh Valley Drum Circle for eight years and has been its facilitator for the last two years.
"A drum circle is an opportunity for people to get together and make spontaneous music," Jerant began. "It is an event that happens just one time, like an impromptu jam session with drums.
"This drum circle will be facilitated, which means someone will lead it and direct people to either apply particular rhythms or ask them to participate in rhythm-based activities," she explained. "I could 'call and answer', where the leader plays a rhythm and the group responds; or a piece could be divided into several parts with each section asked to play a particular part so we could get a big rhythm going."
Jerant was invited to lead the drum circle by Jule Greco of Doc Bakers shop in Jim Thorpe. She has led drumming circles at Mauch Chunk Lake as an evening program during the Wildlands Conservancy's Lehigh River Sojourn.
Jerant was graduated with a degree in music from East Stroudsburg University and has been managing the drum department at Dave Phillips Music & Sound in Allentown for over 10 years. She plays drums and guitar with the band The Large Flower Heads.
Jerant specializes in health and wellness drumming. "Some of my programs are targeted to folks with disabilities, special needs, cardiac rehab, weight loss, seniors and kids," she said. "Health rhythms use drumming to help in wellness, relaxation and stress reduction.
"The rhythm of the drums takes them to another place," she explained. "Playing the drum demands that you be exactly in that time and space and be present in that moment. Most people who don't play drums on a regular basis. It takes a lot of concentration and effort to stay focused on what they're doing and stay with the rhythm that has been established by group.
"It's a type of meditation. The fun and the mental things that you have to do clears your mind to be present in the moment. Drumming is a tool that takes you there a little bit faster because you are so involved with moving your hands, holding the drum and keeping pace with the rhythm that it puts you in a place where there is no time for the thoughts that would normally distract you.
"Being in that place removes you from everything that you brought into the circle: a bad day, car problems, or ongoing worries. It really transports you.
Joining Jerant will be two local popular drummers Franklin Klock and Ibiyinka Alao. Klock, a naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center is a drummer that recently performed at the Summit Hill festival. Alao is an internationally award-winning artist and drummer from Nigeria that has presented frequently in Jim Thorpe.
The Drum Circle at Mauch Chunk Lake Park is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. It will be held on the beach at Mauch Chunk Lake Park on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For directions to the park, call (570) 325-3669. For information about the event, call (570) 436-2339.