(ran PC edition of PASCO TIMES)
They sit in a circle, hands poised before releasing their "intentions" into the wind: Compassion. Forgiveness. Love.
As the first set of fingers strike up a beat on the worn drum skin, music begins to take shape.
In June, when Brooksville resident Ronette Snyder had the idea to begin a monthly drumming circle, she wasn't sure what kind of response she would get.
"I had no idea that this little drumming group would take off the way it has," she said. "The more the word goes out there, the more people seem to show up."
The dynamics of the group are fluid as water, she said, some circles drawing a crowd, others more intimate. But the important differences can't be measured with numbers.
"The complexion is different every time," she said. "Even if you have the same people playing the same instruments, it will never have the same energy. It just doesn't work that way."
A former facilitator for women's study groups, Snyder said she has been so blessed that she can spend her time encouraging others to express themselves and claim their own power.
"Do what makes your heart sing and stop concentrating on every ache and pain," said Snyder, 61. "Step beyond that discomfort into self expression."
At a recent circle, group members switched instruments between rounds, some opting for percussion instruments other than drums, but most keeping their traditional African djembes or American Indian drums.
"The drum connects you with your heart again," said Carna Zacharias-Miller, a writer and drummer recently featured as a leader for one of the circles. "When you play, there is no talk _ just the soul expressing itself."
Zacharias-Miller, a German-born writer, brought her interest in American Indian drumming to Brooksville when she moved from Arizona in 1997.
"The circle is important," she said. "Group energy builds up while people are drumming and it's a lot more powerful than when you sit and drum on your own."
The group will meet Sunday and the first Sunday of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Pines Conference Center, 7029 Cedar Lane in Brooksville.
Anyone is welcome and encouraged to bring drums, percussion and rhythm instruments. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Call 796-4457 or 544-5669.
_ Joy Davis-Platt can be reached at 848-1435. Send e-mail to joysptimes.com.