Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

People Get into the Beat of Ponte Vedra Drum Circle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

People Get into the Beat of Ponte Vedra Drum Circle

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

Twenty drummers' beats filled the room. Big drums. Little drums. Long, narrow drums. Short, shallow drums.

Some drummers beat with their palms, some beat with their fingers, some used sticks.

"All I ask of you is to take your inhibitions and check them at the door," music educator Dean Allan instructed his students Tuesday night as he kicked off The Joy of Rhythm and Rhyme two-hour workshop at Palm Valley Gardens on Palm Valley Road.

"Follow the rhythm you hear," he said. "Trust the process."

A twice-a-month drumming class taught by Allan at The Players Community Senior Center is popular. So Ponte Vedra Beach resident Marilyn Wilson, who regularly attends, decided to introduce all Beaches residents to the benefits of drumming by holding the community drum circle.

During the event, Allan, who trained in India, the Middle East and Latin America, taught participants various ways to keep a beat, individually and as a group.

They also learned Native American chants, and how to create their own poetry and create a beat for it.

No experience was necessary, and Allan provided all the drums for the event, where people learned how to apply rhythm to their environment to create a sense of unity, community and peace.

Some of the drummers belong to other drum circles in the Jacksonville area and brought their own drums. Others were novices.

"Curiosity" brought Barbara Lutes of the West Beaches to the event.

"I love it," she said. "It's like a gathering of emotion, even more than sound."

Andrew Carey of Atlantic Beach, an experienced drummer, helped lead a chant.

"I love it here," he said of the setting. "It's a nice big room."

The workshop, which costs $25 per person, was scheduled rain or shine.

Since steady rain fell that night, the drummers sat in a circle around a great room in The Cottage, a large stone mansion on the wooded lakefront property of Palm Valley Gardens, where many weddings are held.

A circle of candles flickered in the center of the circle in the dim room, and raindrops formed circles in the lake outside a long, wide window. …

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