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Drum circle beats up a new rhythm in Las Vegas

The smiles began with the first drum beat. The giggles showed up about five minutes later. Within the first 15 minutes, someone joked, “All we need are margaritas.”

Welcome to the Music 4 Life Drum Circle, a Meet-up slated for 6 p.m. the third Thursday of every month at 6029 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 17, on the southeast corner of Jones Boulevard, using the entrance facing west. Facilitator Judith Pinkerton named it Happy Hour Drum Circle as it’s only for adults. The cost is $5 per person.

The next Music 4 Life Happy Hour Drum Circle is slated for Thursday.

A Family Drum Circle also is available from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. the third Saturday of each month. Parents are welcome to bring their children to it — even infants.

June 16 was the first Music 4 Life Happy Hour Drum Circle. Ten people showed up, having learned about it online. Chairs were pulled into a circle, and everyone grabbed a drum from the stockpile, supplied by Remo, a drum company.

Rick Poppe cocked one ear as he tested the sound of a number of drums before settling on one.

“I like it subtle,” he said of the sound.

Maggie Manners, a music teacher, led off with a beat. Soon, others picked it up and began playing with her. Some did double time. Others added a flair here and there. One person picked up a shaker and added that sound to the mix. Heads were bobbing slightly, shoulders were moving.

The sound waves rippled through the air, so strong that the drum heads vibrated, even without being struck.

To get to know each other, everyone told their reason for being there. Kathy had wanted to play drums for years and bought bongos a few months ago. Deb was a teacher who had done her master’s degree on a drum circle project. Manners had wanted to play drums as a youngster but opted for a flute instead “because it fit in my backpack.”

Angie Kelly said she wanted to be there because her interest in drum circles was so strong, she had one as part of her wedding celebration.

“I’ve seen how powerful they are,” she said. “But the mystical ones can be a little intimidating. I wanted one that was low-key and fun.”

Music 4 Life opened in December, and the goal is to make it a recreational music center. The 800-square-foot spot’s focus is on therapeutic arts.

Through drum circles, Pinkerton said, people can boost their immune systems .

“There are so many conditions out there,” she said, that could be helped with music therapy. “But for this ‘quick drumming fix,’ people just want to have fun.”

Contact Summerlin and South Summerlin View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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