The Women’s Center hosted the first African drum circle on UNA’s campus Sept. 27 in the Gulliot University Center Atrium.
More than 25 participants gathered in the GUC atrium and played various types of drums and percussion instruments, including bongo drums, tambourines, rain sticks, maracas, wooden sticks and pots.
“Drum circles have been shown to have many positive effects on one’s mind, body and soul,” said Emily Horn Kelley, coordinator of the Women’s Center. “Among other benefits, drumming can boost memory, improve concentration, strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and help control chronic pain.”
Vicki Goldston, former pastor of Living Spirit Church, lead the drumming circle.
An African drum circle is just a way to have people come together to harmonize and to ignite the energy of love,” Goldston said.
Goldston lead drumming circles during her ministry at Living Spirit Church and continues playing with a drumming group called Core Drummers.
“Drumming circles have been around for years for use in rituals, celebrations, funerals and any type of festivities,” Goldston said.
To start the drum circle, Goldston wafted sage over each individual. Sage is used to represent a symbolic cleansing of the mind and environment in preparation for spiritual or inner work, according to shamanicdrumming.com
Individuals then selected their instruments and gathered in a circle.
“The theme of the event is a circle of hope and unity,” said senior Rosie McClendon. “This drumming circle is definitely meant for bonding and music brings people together.”
Goldston began the event by explaining the purpose of a drumming circle.
“The theme of this circle is harmony,” Goldston said. “Focus on communicating with your self and telling yourself ‘I am the drummer.”
Participants were encouraged to sing or dance if they felt lead to during the event.
“I figured the drumming circle would be something fun to do and help bring a group of people together to make some noise,” said junior Mazie Snider.
During the event, Goldston used a call and response method. She beat her drum and participants repeated the pattern she played. The event continued with participants playing independently and at a random.
Goldston said she wanted the event to be organic and play whatever came to heart.
“I think it is important we bring some culture to campus, and this is an event that encourages unity and togetherness,” McClendon said.