Keeping the beat

Reed City children become drum circle musicians

REED CITY — The rhythmic and raucous playing of a 40-plus member drum circle echoed throughout the Reed City Area District Library Tuesday afternoon.

Sporting sound shapes, frame drums, bass drums, bells, tambourines, blocks and cabasas, children young and old were welcomed to Drummunity, a drum circle designed to be rhythmic fun for everyone, led by Lori Fithian.

“We all have a lot of fun playing drums or bells, but it’s better to play all of the instruments,” Fithian said as she made the drum circle participants to trade instruments and started with the next fun activity.

The drum circle was the culmination of this year’s summer reading program, and Fithian helped those of all ages to learn about their instruments and how to play with a group.

Fithian, who is based in Ann Arbor and travels around the Midwest and parts of Canada to hold these drum circles, taught children to use their ears to find the beat, take turns to bang their mallets down on the variety of drums or when to strike their bells.

From testing their new instruments to becoming a certified drum circle musician, Fithian kept them guessing on the next beat she would have them play or even encouraged others to put their instruments down to dance to the beat.

Mastering a little bit of it all, the Clementshaw siblings enjoyed the drum circle.

“It was a lot of fun,” Jordan Clementshaw said, after she and her fellow newly-appointed musicians helped Fithian march through the library to take care of the many instruments.