OLEAN — The Summer Solstice will be welcomed Friday with an interactive Drum Circle around a bonfire at the Olean Meditation Center, 2275 Dugan Road.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., said Vickie Kearns, director of the Meditation Center.
Kearns said participants are invited to bring drums or other percussion instruments to the event along with a lawn chair. In the event of rain, drumming will be held inside the Meditation Center. It was noted that make-shift or rudimentary percussion instruments are welcome at the gathering.
Kearns said the drumming circle will be led by Moses Howden, who will be joined by Jud Broadman.
She added Howden is a timpanist in the Southern Tier Symphony, and has performed with the Minnesota Opera Company, the Cincinnati Opera Company and the Fifth Dimension.
Dr. Richard Reilly, founding president of the Meditation Center, said the date of the Solstice, which is the longest day of the year, is also International Yoga Day. He said in the past the Meditation Center held yoga celebrations for the Solstice.
“This year, we decided to greet summer in the warm outside air, weather permitting, with a drumming circle that everyone can participate in,” Reilly said. “Moses Howden will help lead this event and I expect it will include traditional African, Native American, Jazz and Celtic, as well as various contemporary, rhythms and sounds.
“All are welcome to communal music-making that manifests the energy and light of our common humanity,” Reilly added.
For his part, Howden said he has led drums circles in the area before, including Drums for Darfur, and a Drum Circle Course at St. Bonaventure University previously in his position as adjunct professor.
“I led a drum circle at the Olean Meditation Center last summer which was a lot of fun and the participants seemed to enjoy the session,” he continued. “I believe some drums will be provided, but those people who have drums should bring them, as I am not sure how many drums will be provided.”
Howden said the benefits of participating in a drum circle include “learning to communicate with others through rhythm, creating original music through hand drumming, improvising on a drum, freely expressing music through a variety of beats that are played by the circle, which will also include African and Latin rhythms, and playing drums together with other people in our community which is uplifting and enjoyable.”