There are only a few sessions that remain of the energetic, heart pounding, drum circle hosted at the scout hall in Riverbank. Coordinators Lorie and Julio Avila along with Drum Circle Facilitator Rose Lape have had approximately five sessions with a core group of about 14 participants including siblings and parents.
The group meets every Tuesday and jams for about an hour, helping youth with special needs to increase listening skills, focus, coordination, teamwork and to follow directions. The City of Riverbank provides the drums and Lorie has also added some homemade drums. They have other music makers like shakers, tambourines, maracas, and their voices.
“There is a really neat program we have going on,” said Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick. “It is drum circle for developmentally disabled kids. I got the drums and we will be doing programs for the general population soon at parks too. It’s a pretty fun and therapeutic program.”
Currently there are no fees to participate in this drum circle and all children are welcome to join their siblings and families.
Rose has been working with special needs individuals for a while and has dabbled in other things as well like a Pilates Instructor. Her sister Lorie and husband Julio got her back into this line of work.
“This core group is melding together and it is wonderful to see the students participating,” stated Rose. “I love to see them create and celebrate who they are.”
The drummers sit in a circle following Rose’s instruction as they go through a series of beats using their voices and following a rhythm. The instruments were placed in the center of the floor and then the guests were asked to make their selection of what they wanted to play. Some of the students were helping other students find the beat. There were several melodies flowing from the scout hall during a recent session.
“People come from all over,” added Rose. “Families are always looking for programs to get their children involved with and for those with special needs there are not very many options so people are willing to travel.”
There are only two sessions left for the drum circle in Riverbank; however, Rose expressed that the conversation with Fitzpatrick will continue to possibly bring the drum circle back to offer it to more interested parties in the community.