A Drummer's First!
At Stittsville United Church, Stittsville, Ontario, Diane Dean of the Ottawa Biblical Drummers drummed
for the Old Testament Scripture Reading for her first time. While very nervous when first invited, she accepted
the invitation because she recognized this skill was something she wanted to be able to do as a gift to the Church.
Here she is, concentrating on the patterns chosen for Isaiah 58. Congratulations, Diane! Well Done!
Stress and Drumming
A new drummer was flustered in the give and take, flow and flood of her week. Then she
received an email reminding her that her Biblical Drumming groupwas meeting the next day.
She emailed the sender to share her joy at being able tojoin
in drumming the next day with her group after such a week and she concluded:
" I have made time to practice and it really helped with my stress."
In more ways than one, this is true and it is the experience of many Biblical drummers.
Thanks be to God!
Going boldly forward where no man has....
A beginning drummer took a brief moment before worship began, to show his new frame drum with jingles to the congregation and to share about the workshop he had just completed. The drummer then accompanied two hymns in the service. The following Sunday he accompanied another hymn. At the end of the second service, he approached a congregant who had attended both. The congregant doesn't sing himself, but his mother was the organist 50 years ago. The drummer asked him about adding the tambourine during the last two services. The congregant said he was glad the drummer had asked. The congregant had been remarking to himself how much he was enjoying hearing it. The volume was just right. Besides, he would have told the worship leaders for sure if he didn't like it! The drummer replied that was what he was expecting and what had prompted the drummer to ask!
Learning to drum- on hymn books!
They came to me, so eager to begin Biblical drumming. Their request and commitment to learning caught me off guard. But immediately the words of my drum teacher echoed loudly through my mind and heart: never say no to a drumming invitation.
So began our weekly times together. I would bring all the frame drums I had in my own collection to our gathering. There were not enough for each participant to play on a riq, tar-rine, or tambourine. Desperate, I looked around the chapel where we met and calmly said to the participants left without a drums to play, "Please choose a hymnal from the shelves. You can learn on that! " As the weeks passed before their drums arrived, I was always sure to say "Before you leave today, be sure you have had at least one chance to play a 'real' drum. And, the participants, bless each one of them, made a point of ensuring that happened at each gathering -until their own drums arrived (a good 8 weeks later!). What a celebration we had that session! And such a wonderful sound!
One of the men in our drum group was going through a difficult time in his work life: disagreements and conflict, and demanding individuals. He was crumpling under the weight. So, he came to our weekly drum practices quite regularly at first but then disappeared for a few weeks. Upon his return to our group, he was eager to share how well he coped now with daily stress: he had learned to play Rattlesnake, patterns 1 to 4, so quickly that all of us were astounded, most especially his drum teacher: she could never have played it that fast! Yet this drummer would come home and drum his stress away! Peace!
When someone hears us drum
I have been picking up my frame drum (hurray!) while supper is cooking - good time to get in a few Tak Doums while watching that pots don't boil over. Well, to my chagrin, the sound seems to have become a dinner gong for my husband, whoimmediately appears from the depths of the basement and hovers, salivating. Very annoying. Barb
Tar or Tambourine......
I am experiencing an interesting relationship between the two instruments at this very early stage of working with Tar. The Doum on the frame drum with jingles is much less "satisfying" to me, now, after playing it on the Tar. On the other hand, after my few tentative notes on the Tar, the frame drum feels like an old friend when I pick it up. Barbara
Kids and Drums
One morning during worship, the children along with the minister, various moms, dads and grandparents, came forward to join me while I shared a wee bit of our drum's history (from the point of view of a 2 or 3 year old Jesus!). I played a little for them on my drum and passed out a small tambourines to each one. Together we learned how to hold the drum and play the strokes Cha and Kah. Then we all lined up and had a most grand procession all around the large sanctuary, the kids and parents playing either of the strokes and the Biblical drummers playing Rattlesnake. The organ was belting out a beautiful hymn. Everyone was singing when they weren't watching the procession. It was a magic moment for us all. As the children returned to their pews, one clear little voice rang out across the sanctuary: "Wasn't that fun, Dad?" !!!! Another voice rang out: "That was cool!"
Overheard on leaving a sanctuary
"Today we played in church once again; we all thought it went over very well. On my way out, a lady stopped me and gave me this message. 'When you [meaning the drummers] drum now in church it sounds really good, you are getting to be real musicians, it used to sound like a lot of noise!!!!' "
Debbie's Mooving Story
Debbie lives in an apartment and so is reluctant to practise loudly and her joy is to go back to Mom and Dad's farm as often as she can. There she loves to play her frame drum while walking about the family fields. During one visit, shortly after she began drumming, she was walking about the fields playing her drum when she sensed someone else near her in the field. She turned around: all the family cows had formed a line behind her and were following her as she drumming.
While practising on her tambourine, lost in the Pulse and patterns, Patricia was suddenly startled and stopped drumming. Immediately her 17 year old daughter said, "Oh, Mom, why are you stopping? Keep playing!" Her daughter had been silently dancing behind Patricia while she was drumming!
Who taught her that?
I drummed for the Gospel reading in our Sunday worship service. It was the first time for me to do that for this particular and much loved congregation. One member immediately turned to my husband and asked him: "Did you teach her all that?"
"Finding the frame drum was a Divine HOMECOMING; it is the sound of my ancient heart, the HeartBeat of the Mother, it is the sound of the Cycles of Life, it is the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, the Cosmic Egg; it is the first sound you ever hear in your Mothers WOMB, our sacred time of ONENESS, it is my tool of Remembrance, of transmission, of transportation, of creating sacred space, of invoking, of cleansing, of celebrating, communicating and activating...
Thank you to all the women frame drummers who are following their callings, spreading the beauty of the drum!!"
My first video honoring the frame drum and the women past to present:
A Male Drummer Shares
A Drummer’s Song
“The Drumbeat of Music and the Heartbeat of God”
I am a frame drummer, reaching for my star
A man with his music and his faithful old tar
The magic of Tuesday with Kathleen in command
I am the best “Male Drummer” in a lady’s band
A story about drumming with style and grace
Beautiful music, making our world a better place
For the love of music I plod along
With special ladies playing their song
Practice, practice…is their rallying call
Forgetting about their quest for Carnegie Hall
The magic of drumming with a soft touch
The richness of friendships means so much
With my limited skill set and truth that I seek
I am driven by the rewards of playing each week
To those wonderful ladies I proudly applaud
The drumbeat of friends and the heartbeat of God
Poet & copyright: Ken R. Estabrooks.
Printed with permission
A Meaning-filled Moment
"When a dear friend/mentor was palliative, I found myself singing Omalu as I walked the forest behind our homes. I KNOW it was helpful to me and believe [he] felt the enclosing warmth of prayer."