EVANS CITY — Resident Patricia Woods recalled a time when the Evans City Drum Circle clanged on coffee cans.
“Anything we could use to make a rhythm with,” said Woods, who has been part of the drum circle for 10 years. “As we got more interested, eventually we purchased regular drums.”
Now she beats on a drum made of special wood from Brazil that her husband gave her for her birthday two years before he died.
“Love forever” was written on the drum by him with a black pen. Since that time, the words have faded, but her passion has not.
Woods was one of eight drummers who pounded lively beats, thumped dynamic rhythms and played “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain” on Wednesday afternoon at the Evans City Senior Center's Ritzert Hall, 417 E. Main St.
“It's a way for us to get together to think of each other,” Woods said. “Even though everyone has problems in their life, it's a way for us to get together, pound our drums and relieve stress, and don't worry about cares or worries — just pound away.”
Sonny and Kitty Aul of Butler have drummed together for 15 of the 56 years they've been married, and have been part of the Evans City Drum Circle for nine years.
When Kitty Aul battled cancer, she and her husband got involved in drumming, she said. The two play a Djembe drum, a rope-tuned, skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands that originated in West Africa. “Your mind goes to that same level if you do whatever rhythm it is,” said Kitty Aul about the meditative state she enters when she drums. “Anything you can say, you can drum.”
The music begins when a drum circle member starts a beat, Sonny Aul said.
“That is when the group picks up and you add to it as long as you stay in the same rhythm,” Aul said. “When you're sitting there concentrating, your mind clears.”
The husband and wife followed the group when it moved from the Tanglewood Center in Butler.
What started as a group of about 21 members has decreased as members have died, said Ron Rishack of Evans City, who has played the drums since he was a child and in the high school marching band.
Rishack, who plays a Djembe drum, started the Evans City Drum Circle when the Tanglewood group disbanded, he said. The drum circle met at another building before it moved to the senior center about 10 years ago.
People who are interested can walk in and join the circle, bringing their own drums or playing another instrument, such as maracas or tambourines, he said.
“Getting together and playing” is the best part of the drum circle, Rishack said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Soup Night
WHEN: 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: 426 E. Main St., Evans City
COST: $8 per person; items include homemade soups, salad, desserts and breads
BENEFITS: Evans City Senior Center