Posts tagged ‘African Drums’
Drums in Church – Some Concluding Thoughts
My friend Kemi Awosile put me in contact with Steve Okwor, an African drummer who organized the drummers for our Thanksgiving Day service at The Mother Church (TMC). She had sat in and drummed with this group before, and so I asked her how she felt about her experience.
Kemi said, “I am in awe of the communication that occurs when two or more people sit down to drum. The inner and outer rhythms, the call and response back and forth and the pure joy of working together and off of one another all leave me breathless and spell bound. For me, it is miraculous and magical to get to play with these folks.”
Oy! Logistics, Permissions and Switzerland, Oh My!
The week before Thanksgiving, we were able to arrange a one-hour time slot in which everyone could rehearse at The Mother Church. Let me tell you, with all of the drummer/nurses’ on-call schedules, the teaching and performing schedules of the Berklee guys, the scheduling of the church and its musicians, including travel schedules, tech crew and administrative folks, this was no easy feat.
We blazed through that one-hour Friday night rehearsal and got through a lot of things – but we clearly couldn’t cover it all in that amount of time. It went well, but afterward, there was concern about the overall readiness of this endeavor.
Would everyone really know what to do during the service? Would we have enough time to manage the logistics of moving 10 people and the drums into places without causing major traffic jams in a fairly small space – not once, but twice during the service? Would the African drums playing in a reverberant hall be overpowering? Could we solve all of this and more in one final 90-minute rehearsal?
The answers to these questions and more, a number of inquiring minds wanted to know…
The Drummers and Joe
I am grateful for many things, and as I stand facing forward into the New Year, African drumming is one of them! Looking back over 2009, one of the stand-out moments for me was the Thanksgiving Service in Boston at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, (The Mother Church) where I serve as soloist.
This year, we had the distinct privilege of including some truly soulful folks whose lives are given to healing and caring. These folks also happen to be mostly African and drummers and they are Christian Science nurses and they shared their musical gifts with the congregation during the Thanksgiving service.
In my inimitable fashion, I will be telling you some stories and sub-stories of this experience – in 5 parts! It was such a rich, unifying and uplifting endeavor that went way beyond the actual church service (which was wonderful – but more on that later!) So here’s the story, or actually, here are the stories…