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Striking the drums louder

There are African drums, snare drums, bass drums and bongos, just to name a few.

They can be made out of plastic, wood, metal and clay, and they come from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and just about every other country and continent in the world.

During the month of November, it doesn’t matter what type of drum it is, where it comes from or what it’s made from.

All that matters is that it’s a drum, and because of that, it’s celebrated.

That’s because November is International Drum Month.

It began as National Drum Month approximately 10 years ago, Roger Schupp, director of percussion studies said. Now it’s International Drum Month, though sometimes it’s still referred to as National Drum Month.

The Percussion Marketing Council manages and coordinates many events during November. Each year, a theme is chosen and events are planned around it.

There are celebrations and events internationally and nationally – as well as locally – that allow people to participate in the month.

In past years, drummers have been the main features in magazines and school-aged children have been taught special lessons about drums. Bands have also played special concerts in honor of International Drum Month.

This year, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Mich., is holding an event at the main library that allows children to listen to a story and make a drum.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can even send free online greeting cards to your friends from places like 123greetings.com.

Adam Jansen, a sophomore music education major, is working with Schupp to participate in the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention in Columbus. The event began Wednesday and lasts until tomorrow.

“There are a bunch of players, clinics and master classes there,” Jansen said.

Schupp participates as a judge in an international competition of solo percussionists, as well as taking in the concerts, clinics and master classes Jansen mentioned.

For Schupp, PASIC is also an opportunity to “hang out with fellow percussionists and listen to the best we have in our field. It also lets me stay up on new trends,” he said.

According to Schupp, the goal of the Percussive Arts Society is to “promote the best in percussion and further what percussionists do.”

The College of Musical Arts at the University typically has concerts featuring percussion instruments in the month of November.

Jansen remembered an Ethos percussion group – which was mostly about African drumming – came to campus last year. They formed a drum circle and performed a concert.

There was a good turnout at the event, and “a lot of people had fun with it,” Jansen said.

However, this year, because of scheduling, one of the two concerts that usually takes place in November happened in October, and the other will be taking place in December.

The event in December – World Percussion Night – will be held on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. The event will feature the Afro-Caribbean ensemble and the University Balinese gamelan, Kusuma Sari.

Aside from the concerts held specifically for International Drum Month, there are other opportunities for students to appreciate drums throughout the year.

Schupp said students don’t have to be music majors to participate in groups like the marching band, the Afro-Caribbean ensemble or the gamelan.

There are also jazz studies groups for students to participate in.

Even though Jansen wasn’t aware of any specific events the College of Musical Arts celebrated the month, he acknowledged drums were special enough to be celebrated.

“It would be kinda cool to do something with campus,” Jansen said. “People would have fun with it.”

It’s important for Schupp to celebrate drums because they’re “international phenomena.”

“Drumming is something that unites and identifies cultures,” Schupp said. “Drumming is really at the heart of the music of every culture.”

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