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Hagerstown church hosts Tri-State Drum Circle

January 06, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Harriett Diller of Chambersburg, Pa., plays a djembe drum Sunday with the Tri State Drum Circle at the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

To move away from analytical thinking to a more creative state.

To relieve stress.

To be in touch with the divine.

To build a community.

Those were among the reasons people gave Sunday night for pursuing the sound of a drum in a collaborative effort known as a drum circle.

Ed Poling, senior pastor at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren at East Washington and Mulberry streets, said he and his wife became interested in drumming and took classes at McDaniel College.

Poling said there have been drum circles in the region, including in Chambersburg, Pa., and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and he and some other people decided to try organizing one locally.

The Tri-State Drum Circle has been held in places like Byron Memorial Park in Williamsport and recently the group settled in at Poling’s church.

A circle of drum players starts out with a beat. With repetition, imagination and creativity often take hold, leading the players on a course that some say can be spiritual.

Sunday’s drum circle started at 6:30 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall. Nine people filed into the room, some carrying their own drums, while others relied on a group of instruments Poling offered in the center of the circle.

One of the drums used — a djembe — is a favorite in drum circles, Poling said. It is a rope-tuned drum with a skin cover. Played with bare hands, its sound can be varied based on how it is tapped.

Poling had a variety of other drums, bells and shakers for people to use.

Poling started the group out on a beat, then the group experimented for about five or six minutes. Then another beat was picked out.

No experience is necessary to join the group, which meets once a month. About a dozen players have been meeting regularly to play, Poling said.

Poling said he likes the circle because it “gets you out of your head.” In other words, it takes a person’s mind from an analytical state to a more creative one, he said.

“For some, this is new territory and they really gravitate toward it,” said Poling, adding it is a way to build a community.

Harriett Diller, who has been drumming for about nine years, said she likes the team approach in drum circles.

“You pick up a lot of energy from other people,” the Chambersburg resident said.

Amy Clipp of Williamsport said she has been drumming for 15 years and has been to the Tri-State Drum Circle a number of times.

“It’s real spiritual,” Clipp said.

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