Murfreesboro drummers, music fans and community members will gather once again in Old Fort Park on June 21, as Everybody Drum Some will host its annual Make Music Day community rhythm event tradition.
June 21 is worldwide Make Music Day, a celebration of music that started in France in 1982, which also coincides with the summer solstice. In Murfreesboro, Ross Lester, the man behind Everybody Drum Some, uses this day to encourage anyone and everyone to come out and join in a group percussion session, regardless of their experience.
Spencer Baker, a frequent participant in Everybody Drum Some group drumming sessions and a friend of Lester's, says the community rhythm events are one of his favorite community activities, a way to meet interesting local people and to enjoy some time outdoors.
"The drum events are really fascinating," Baker says. "They are so open. Anyone who walks by can join in."
Though he wouldn't call himself a seasoned drummer or a technical master instrumentalist, Baker, and many other Murfreesboro rhythm enthusiasts, find the seasonal Everybody Drum Some community rhythm events very enjoyable, a great way to engage with others in town, to relax, to groove and to express some creativity.
"Sometimes folks come to these events not quite knowing what to expect," Lester said. "They may think to themselves, 'Everyone playing drums all at once? How can that work?' Then they are surprised and delighted to find that when all of the participants get on the beat together, we can make some truly amazing music!"
Lester really does invite anyone and everyone who would like to participate to join in with the percussive group, comprised of both young and old, with widely varying levels of musical proficiency. "It proves his mantra that you don't need formal training to make music together," Baker says.
The Everybody Drum Some events feature some of the widest age ranges of any musical ensemble. "It can be hard for parents or grandparents and teens or young kids to find some common ground and find things they like to do together," Baker said; but the participants at the all-ages Murfreesboro community rhythm events may very well be aged 2 or 80.
Sharon Stephens, a recreational therapist at the Murfreesboro VA, has attended and participated in some of the Everybody Drum Some community percussion sessions. "Group drumming helps reduces stress and anxiety, it improves mood, builds camaraderie," she says. "Recreational drumming is very therapeutic. It helps encourage self expression and has many health benefits." It's more than just noisy fun--it's science! While Lester has plenty of rhythmic ideas prior to each community drumming session, each occurrence takes on a unique life and character of its own. "
What's amazing is that from the beginning of the evening to the end of the evening, the whole group really grows together in their ability to communicate musically," Lester said. He and his drum disciples will have the rhythmists calling and responding, crescendoing and decrescendoing, accenting in unison and free-styling.
While collaboration and community are critical to these events, that social and musical framework does allow for some individual self-expression and creativity. "Everybody has something to say, something to contribute.
The drum circle is an opportunity for each person to express themselves as an individual, and yet for all of us to join our voices into one song. It's community communication," according to Lester. All are welcome to come join the community in making some joyful music together.
The Murfreesboro Community Rhythm Event will take place on Make Music Day, Friday, June 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Old Fort Park between the playground and outdoor tennis courts. It's free to participate and those of all ages are invited to come join the session, or to spectate.
Participants can bring drums, shakers, tambourines, wood blocks or percussive instruments of any type, but even those who have no instrument may come out and use one from the extensive Everybody Drum Some collection.
To learn more about Everybody Drum Some, visit everybodydrumsome.com; learn more about Make Music Day at makemusicday.org. Find a Facebook event page for the June 21 event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/505258160013231