Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I did on my Summer Vacation: Rhythm Renewal 2010



(recently published on my other blog, Rhodia Drive, I wanted to share it here as well.)

Each year for the last five, I've been driving to a retreat in central PA located at a small university in the mountains. At first glance, the Summer Rhythm Renewal (under the direction of my friend Jim Donovan) is 4 days of drumming, dancing & spending time with good friends both old and new.

But peel off that glorious layer and there's so much more!

It's about having a safe space in which to express yourself in an uncensored way- you receive permission to make mistakes, to sing off-key and dance with 2 left feet - no judgments, it's all good. It's about discovering who you really are, what you are capable of- all the while feeling supported by a huge community of like minded individuals who will help you move up to that next level of greatness within yourself.

In the end, we discover that by being open to any of these experiences, we gain confidence and strength to take back out to the real world when we drive away from the mountain on that last day.

Workshops by day, concerts & jam sessions by night. This is an amazing event and it sells out well in advance each year.

Here's a taste from one of the mini-concerts last Friday night - this video shows Jim Donovan and PJ Roduta doing a dual drum set piece. They perform with Bryan Fazio & Harry Pepper under the name Quadfectra.



Many of the drummers & dancers in this next video are beginners, but under the expert teachings of Becky Bickford (dance) and Moe Jerant (drums) they pulled off this spectacular display as a prelude to Saturday night's "Night of 1000 Drums" concert with Jim D's band Drum the Ecstatic.



The Summer Rhythm Renewal is actually part of a larger event called Arts in the Mountains. Aside from the drumming retreat, there is also a Guitar and Bass Retreat that runs at the same time. The teachers at that event are Eric Brewer (twice featured in Guitar Player magazine) Dan Murphy, and Bill Burke - a master of the 8 string guitar.

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