Under the guidance of percussionist and storyteller, Helen Bond, about 50 Pathway to Living senior residents beat their drums, hit their sticks and shook their shakers to the beat Helen laid down at a super-sized drumming circle. Thumping to the tempo of “Chitty, Chitty, bang-bang; we love you” over and over, the hypnotic rhythm unified the group, as they banged away transfixed in the moment.
“Our heartbeats come into sync when we drum together,” Helen told the percussionists. She also shared the important history drums play in West African culture, how the drums are handcrafted and stories of her many travels to New Guinea.
The drumming circle recently hosted by Aspired Living of Westmont attracted experienced and newbie musicians. Among the group, there was a former bassoonist and a couple piano players. One resident joked that she played the flutophone recorder in the first grade!
“I had a ball today,” said Eileen Tyson of Azpira Place of Lake Zurich, a string bassist who performed with various symphony orchestras for over 30 years and played the piano and church organ. “Music is my life,” added Eileen, who had to quit playing because of hearing loss. YouTube brings Eileen her daily dose of music, including her favorite operas, but her front-row seat to the real-life jam session made her heart pound with joy.
“The drumbeat echoes the heartbeat and connects us to our deeper selves and to life’s deeper rhythm,” said Senior Wellness Consultant Colleen Koziara, CEO of Beyond Bingo, Inc. and event co-sponsor. She touted the following benefits of this unique form of music therapy.
Ten Benefits of Drumming
1. Makes you happy…because it’s so fun!
2. Induces relaxation through a meditative state
3. Provides distraction from pain and worries
4. Creates a sense of connectedness
5. Releases negative feelings
6. Puts you in the present moment
7. Boosts your immune system
8. Aligns your mind and body with the natural world
9. Improves circulation
10. Good for brain health
One of Pathway to Living’s signature programs, the Good Vibrations multi-cultural drumming and rhythm circles earn heart-thumping endorsements from residents who rarely miss a beat! Good Vibrations happens regularly at each community and residents have even jammed el fresco when they brought their drums and sticks along to an outdoor camp-out.
Feeling Like Rock Stars!
Former longtime sting bassist Eileen Tyson of Azpira Place of Lake Zurich knows a thing or two about staying on the beat!
Yuni of Alexian Village marched to the front of the stage to jam closer to the action.
Victory Centre of Riverwoods buddies Morgan and Sylvester form a drumming duet.