Join Monthly Drum Circle at Murray Grove

Mar 06, 2019

One Sunday each month, Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center in Lanoka Harbor hosts a community drum circle, open to all ages and skill levels of drummers to learn, play, dance or chant along. The next gatherings are scheduled for March 10 and April 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. for a suggested donation of $5.

Organizers Joanie Parks and Roseann DePasquale formed the group about three years ago at the encouragement of Murray Grove Executive Director Louise Ille.

According to Parks, “We were more than willing and excited because we felt that there were many people who would love to drum in Ocean County if they had a venue. We were right!

“We have people come and go in the group – and with every new person, the circle changes, because each of us brings our unique style. Two others who come every month are Pat Daly and Tony Apostolaros.”

Inside the Cone House (or on the porch), players gather with drums and percussion of all kinds, shakers, tambourines or other instruments. They bring their own or select from the many drums provided. The rhythms are spontaneous and improvised, the vibe welcoming, almost spiritual.

“Some people come to dance, chant or just enjoy the music from our drums and rattles,” Parks explained. “The energy in the room is sometimes calming and other times vibrant and energizing. Sometimes we express our feelings, and, more often than not, we are feeling the same energy.”

The description on the organization’s homepage at murraygrove.org sums it up: “The peaceful surroundings of Murray Grove make it the perfect place to detach from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”

Central to the Murray Grove mission is appreciation and support of diversity.

“We offer a radically welcoming environment to individuals and groups of all faiths (or no faith) and embrace use of our facilities for spiritual, business, ritual or social purposes. In addition, as a birthplace of Universalism in America, Murray Grove has a rich history and special importance for Unitarian Universalists.”

“The circle is open to everyone,” Parks said. “We encourage you to give it a try, with or without your drums, cymbals or bells. We have enough of all to share.”  —V.F.

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