The atmosphere in Turner Valley’s library may be a little more upbeat thanks to its latest additions.
Sheep River Library staff purchased 20 gently-used drums for the facility’s monthly drumming circle with $3,000, collected through a variety of fundraising initiatives, from the Friends of the Sheep River Library Foundation.
The year-old drumming circle program is held the first Friday of each month and draws an average of 20 people to each session.
“Having our own drums allows us to lower the entry fee for the participants,” said Gita Grahame, library assistant manager and certified drumming circle facilitator. “We used to charge a set amount, now we say pay what you can. It will attract more people who otherwise wanted to come and were discouraged by the fee.”
The Sheep River Library previously rented drums or borrowed them from schools in High River and Okotoks, said Grahame.
To help cover the cost of rentals and to raise money to purchase its own drums, the library charged adults $15 and seniors and youth $10 to attend the drumming circle. Those who brought their own drums paid $5 less.
Library staff purchased the drums from a previous drumming circle facilitator. The set includes seven Bahia frame drums, five tubanos, four djembes, three natural frame drums and a bass frame drum, as well as mallets and covers.
Earlier this year, staff used the participation fees to buy seven drums including three tubanos, three small djembes and one frame drum, Grahame said.
Money contributed by participants at future drumming circles, said Grahame, will be used to cover the cost of maintaining the drums.
Grahame said she’s glad the library is continuing to offer community drumming circles.
“It’s a fabulous stress relief,” she said. “There has been studies done that any kind of rhythm increases your brain function. You don’t have to have any musical experience. Each of us has rhythm in our hearts.”
Laura Lagendyk, who regularly facilitates the library’s drumming circles, has enjoyed the experience.
“It’s really helped me become more integrated into the community so when I go to other events I know more people,” she said. “Some of the other spin-offs we are seeing is other people accessing training and wanting to provide that.”
The drumming circle draws a mixture of people each month including those trying it for the first time, those attending regularly and those appearing on occasion, said Lagendyk.
“There’s people who really count on it as a regular community gathering and for other people it’s a fun thing because they don’t come all of the time,” she said.
Lagendyk said she’s glad the drumming circle will be more accessible to the public now that they can pay what they can afford.
“We are really hopeful that expands the reach of people who were hesitant to attend because they couldn’t afford it,” she said.
The drumming circle is held the first Friday of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sheep River Library. The next one will be held Dec. 1.