People in Bath march to their own drum

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Laurie Tossava , Jasper Bergen and Daniel Gebes prepare to drum with their different varieties. Photo by Emerson Wigand.

To Michele Leonard, all people have a sense of rhythm and the heartbeats are the foundation. This is the mantra she uses to promote the Bath Community Drum Circle.

The circle started in September and has happened five times. When they meet they will start with short simple beats that expand further into freestyling. It evolves from a common beat into a unique freestyle creation.

Michele Leonard explains the starting beat to the drum circle’s members. Photo by Emerson Wigand.

“I just really wanted to get a drum circle together, because I used to go to them downstate and I really missed having them,” Leonard said.

Leonard said she fell into drumming at similar events in Metro Detroit, including one drum circle that would meet the Saturday nearest to a full moon and drum all night. She also would participate in drum circles during Yoga Fest here in Michigan.

Leonard said that the event is for all ages, though minors need to be accompanied by an adult. She also said experience is not necessary to join in this family-friendly event.

“I’m no expert, I’m still learning,” Leonard said. “So it’s nice when you get beginners, intermediate and expert players together, it makes it a more dynamic and awesome experience.”

The accessibility is part of its appeal. That’s what brought several people from Haslett, as well as Laurie Tossava from Meridian Township.

“I thought this was cool because it’s indoors and it’s not that far from where I live,” Tossava said. “I think it’s an opportunity for like-minded people when you usually have trouble finding people that want to do the same thing as you.”

This atmosphere attracted Jasper Bergen and Daniel Gebes from Haslett. Both have been drumming since their 20s and had a variety of drums with them.

“It’s something to do that’s free,” Bergen said.

While Leonard has several instruments available, she encourages people to bring their own to the event. This includes all hand drums, like bongos and congas, as well as percussion instruments like shakers, woodblocks and tambourines. Also people are welcome to bring just drumsticks.

“I want people to leave feeling uplifted,” Leonard said. “Like they had a good time and are in a good mood.”The next drum circles are Dec. 1 and 15, and starting Jan. 5, the event will be weekly on Sundays between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.. The drum circle takes place at the Bath Community Center, 5959 Park Lake Road. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.