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A Blissful Beat: Drum circle to gather in Kingman twice a month

Deb Adler said when she was in the fourth grade she was told that “girls don’t play drums.” She’s part of the new drum circle that will meet twice a month at Beale Celebrations in Kingman. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

Deb Adler said when she was in the fourth grade she was told that “girls don’t play drums.” She’s part of the new drum circle that will meet twice a month at Beale Celebrations in Kingman. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

A drum circle may sound like just another safe hobby idea for the times of the pandemic. But that the need for collective drumming was and is authentic was proven already by the first local drum circle session that took place on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Facilitated by the Learning Center for Human Development, the drum circle will gather twice a month from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Beale Celebrations, 201 N. Fourth St.

Get yourself a drum, or come empty-handed and you will be given something to bang on.

Joyce Mollenhauer, the LCHD director, and music expert Deb Adler have been friends for over 30 years. They believe regular drumming leads to wellness, intellectual development and greater cognitive function. Drumming alleviates pain, stress, depression and protects from cancer and heart attacks. It is also incredibly satisfying, they say.

“Health isn’t this complicated thing and you don’t have to go to 25 doctors to get healthy,” said Mollenhauer, a registered nurse who, at age 80, became a certified nurse coach. “There are a whole lot of things you can do yourself. So drumming, ... I’ve been part of drumming circles for 35 years. It always felt good, but I never asked for reasons why.”

Recently, she has been using drumming to study for her nurse coach exams. An hour of drumming daily is perfect for concentration, she said, explaining it balances both brain hemispheres. Studies show it is also helpful for youths with concentration problems and autistic children.

Adler says she is all for a “minimum of yapping and a lot of drumming.”

In fact, both ladies believe the need for a drum circle is so obvious that soon the spacious ballroom on Beale Street will not be large enough to hold all the Kingman drummers, and that many local drum circles will form.

Adler said she has wanted to play drums since the fourth grade.

“I was told girls don’t play drums,” she said with a bunch of drumsticks in her arms. “So there. Yes we do.”

A musician and a singer-songwriter with an education and background in theater, Adler has 50 years of performing experience.

The first drumming session attracted a group of about 15 drummers. Some came equipped, like Becky Fawson from the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, but chose from the plethora of drums brought by the organizers.

“Santa gave me this,” said Fawson, presenting a beautiful black drum she got for Christmas. “So I thought he wanted me to be here tonight.”

Like many others who came, Fawson doesn’t have previous experience in drumming. Others have been drumming for 20, 30, even 50 years.

Morgana Campbell brought her amazing Native American drum made of a Hualapai tree trunk. She also has an Irish drum and has been studying how to play it in the Celtic Art Academy in Flagstaff.

Tim Jones took drumming lessons “when he was really young,” he said, and has been drumming for 30 years.

Steve Jones came with his second drum. He has been drumming for some 35 years.

“Drumming is the heartbeat of the earth,” said Adler, setting a little metronome to start. “Please come pick up the drum. Everything here is to be used.”

The beauty of the thing is that you can get yourself a $5,000 drum or a $10 drum and you still get all the benefits, Mollenhauer laughed.

“You can shift, too,” said Adler, approaching a big intimidating drum that can handle two or three drummers playing. “No one wants this one? It’s a pretty exciting experience. ... Ok, now what we are going to do is drum.”

The drumming circle will meet twice a month, for half and full moon.

The Learning Center for Human Development is a local nonprofit that specializes in providing personal development.

For more information about the center visit https://lcfhd.org.

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