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Drum circle brings local community together

Drum Circle

The Drum N’ Dance collective uses its music, dance and art to bring together the community each week at gatherings throughout Bowling Green.

The collective gathers every Sunday and alters between City Park and the Portage Quarry, said senior Chris Gerhardstein, who started the collective last year.

Attendees can expect the gathering to feature drumming and various forms of performance art such as hula-hooping, dancing and fire stick juggling.

Gerhardstein originally got the idea to start forming drum circles after he put on a drum performance at the 2011 African people’s association’s annual African dinner “Sounds of Africa.” A man from a Nigerian tribe spontaneously jumped on stage and began to play along with Gerhardstein. Drumming was the starting focus of the collective, but it slowly grew into what it is today as people’s interest started to grow, Gerhardstein said.

“After the dinner I decided it might be a good idea to start going to the park to drum,” Gerhardstein said.

The rhythmic drumming from one of the first drum circles hosted by Gerhardstein in City Park attracted member of the dance collective, Mary Dunkin, and her friends who were looking for a place to hula-hoop.

”We wanted to find a place to meet up and practice hula-hooping regularly,” Dunkin said. “While we were walking to the park we realized that we did not have any stereo or way to listen to music while we were practicing. I had no idea that they were going to be there, but when I heard the drumming I was like ‘Oh Sweet, lets just meet here from now on.’”

As more people showed interest in the drum circles, the scope of the event grew to include other forms of performance art, Gerhardstein said.

Senior Dave Hardgrove noticed a drum circle at the quarry the previous summer and said he appreciated the mood it set for everyone.

“You don’t see as much of that during the school year,” Hardgrove said. “That is part of the reason I like staying up in Bowling Green for the summer because it is so much more relaxing.”

Whether people found the drum circles on purpose or coincidentally, such as Dunkin, the ability of music to form a community was always central to the idea of performing for the public, Gerhardstein said.

“The combination of drumming, dancing and food are fantastic ways to bring people together,” Gerhardstein said. “We were able to bring people together that would have otherwise probably never talked to each other, and that is a very gratifying feeling.”

The performance at City Park is more “children-oriented” and offers children the chance to drum, dance and hula-hoop with the collective, Gerhardstein said. The City Park performance is on Sundays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., depending on when the quarry performance takes place that month.

Updated information on the location and time for the next performance by the Drum N’ Dance Collective can be found at the group’s official Facebook page.

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