Mount Airy community beats drums

Community drum circle in Mount Airy

The story, according to Ron Kravitz, goes that some years ago, Elise Rivers of Community Acupuncture of Mount Airy called him from Ashland, North Carolina 9 pm one Saturday night where she was participating in a community drum circle and said, “Ron we got 85 drummers here. We got to do this in Philadelphia.” And so she arranged for a gathering space in the shaded park-like area adjacent to the Lovett Public Library in Mount Airy.  The local drum circle is now in its third year. Along with Kravitz, Bobby Tyrone and Quint Lang, a drum teacher from Collegeville, help lead the sessions, open to novices and experienced drummers alike.

But Kravitz, of Glenside, appears to be the force behind the drum circle. He is well known in the area for his association with or founding of a number of other grass roots music ventures: Music in the Moment, Underground at Ron's, African drum classes and more. He brings a selection from his 1000 plus collection of Bata and djembe drums, bells, and other percussion instruments for anyone to use.

About 25- 30 people participated at the first Sunday of the month July session on a steamy hot afternoon including some kids who just had happened to be passing by.

Among the other attendees were several first-timers like 12-year-old Jacob Slifker who had discovered the existence of the circle while searching online with his parents for somewhere to use his djimbe. During breaks, he got some tips  from the experienced hands on using it.

The afternoon heat and repetitive, shifting drum rhythms induced a hypnotic effect and Kravitz drew the circled drummers into chanting along and some into dancing. The circle next meets on Sunday August 4th from 1-3 pm next to the Lovett Public Library at 6945 Germantown Avenue.

Watch video here.

Chef sculpts Ice New Year's Eve

Chef Sculpts Ice New Year's Eve

I’m done with all the major cuts. It’s all the way through. Now it’s kind of add feature to the snowflake and know that I only have two feet that it’s standing on. This is going to be the tricky part to get all the detail in. We’ll finish the pedestal and we’ll call it a night. ARE YOU WORKING FROM A PATTERN? I am. All my templates I start with a paper pattern. That’s only one-dimensional. You get into the three-dimensional when you start cutting. HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT? I’m a chef by trade so this is part of my education.  You practice with every piece. Every one is very different. They all have their own kind of temperament, their own characteristics. WHAT’S THE TEMPERAMENT OF THIS ONE? This one is a little tougher, it is getting a little colder so it’s a little bit more of a fight than the “2012.” The “2012” cut like butter, it was a little earlier in the evening, this one’s a little tougher which is Okay.

Chef Tim Harris, First Night celebration, Carlisle, PA. [BYSTANDERS: What’s the best thing about ice cutting? Chainsaw!]

Watch video here.

A popular attraction at the 2012 First Night Carlilse celebration were the"Steppinwoofs" a group of ladies and their pet dogs who dance in choreographed routines: see video clip here.


Jason Chuong leads Jenks Bucket Drumming Ensemble

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"So please give a hand for the Jenks Bucket Drumming ensemble!...During the school year I start the kids with learning technique, with learning how to read music, music literacy and at the end of every period I have an enrichment section, lesson. They learn bucket drumming or they learn drum set, improvisation, composition. And basically the kids do bucket drumming. We compose pieces together, we improvise ….. I got an idea from the University of the Arts. I attended the University of the Arts. We started an experimental bucket drumming ensemble there that kind of took off. And now it’s developing all over the city. I have seven ensembles in the city that I started and it’s just taking off! That’s what we do here at Jenks. Each bucket is about two dollars and thirty seven cents. And it’s immediate gratification for the kids. So instead of spending months learning fingering and armature and technique for a saxophone or clarinet, you pick up a pair of sticks and immediately play and you sound OKAY." Philadelhia School District Music teacher with the J.S. Jenks Middle School bucket drumming ensemble at the winter concert.

Watch video here.