Drum Circles with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra
by Jonathan Crowder
Peak Rhythms, Inc.
On the afternoon of January 28th, 2007, in Denver, CO, people entered Boettcher Concert Hall, home to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO), to be greeted in the lobby by the sound of children, teens, and families making music together in a drum circle.
“It was a fantastic experience,” says Remo endorsed Drum Circle Facilitator, Jon Crowder. That day, the CSO was performing a concert titled “For the Love of Drumming” with master percussionist, Evelyn Glennie. As part of the pre-concert activities, Crowder and his team (Peak Rhythms- www.peakrhythms.com), provided a drum circle for all of the concert goers.
It was a perfect complement to the concert. Not only did people get to hear great music, they played music as well. Approximately 250-300 people participated in the circle. The CSO also provided children with the opportunity to make small drums, which they then brought to the drum circle.
And, they were warmly greeted and invited to sit in the middle of the circle playing their new drums. “We facilitated a stop-cut for everybody, and kept the children playing with our lead percussionist, Aaron Sanford. Everybody watched and gave them a huge round of applause while they played and held up their new drums for all to see,” says Crowder.
Then, one by one, children began dancing in the middle. Seemingly from nowhere, kids emerged from the chairs and layers of standing adults to dance in the circle. The kids’ innocent, young spontaneity sparked smiles and joy in everybody.
Fifteen minutes prior to the concert, the circle came to an end. Everybody needed a gentle reminder that it was time for the concert.
Evelyn Glennie and the orchestra then performed in the concert hall, demonstrating the dedication and virtuosity of a master percussionist.
During the concert, the conductor recognized everybody who participated in the drum circle and said “that’s what music is all about.” He acknowledged the importance of everyday people coming together to connect, play, and make music together.
After the concert, the kids returned to the drums in the lobby and started playing. So, everybody formed a circle and played for another 20-30 minutes to conclude the afternoon.
Christine Kechter, Director of Marketing for the CSO, remarked, “The children and parents were enthralled with the drum circle program… It was definitely the highlight of our pre- (and post!) CSO Family Concert activities!”