Different Drummers Drum Circle of Santa Fe

Different Drummers Joyful Hearts Club Band

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Our performance troupe...

...at Common Ground Fair, Unity, ME 9/2008


As I mentioned in our history, it is unusual for an open, freestyle community drum circle to be asked to perform publicly. Yet, my Massachusetts drum circle was often invited to perform and now my Yarmouth, Maine circle receives invitations.

At gigs we used to play drum piece after drum piece the way we would at a weekly drum circle. Today, because we have so much diverse talent within the group, we provide structure and interest to the improvised pieces by backing 'featured performers.' Those featured performers within our drum circle include my wife, Judy, who plays flute; Martin Steingesser our poet/storyteller, and Rudy Gabrielson on blues harmonica. In 2008, we incorporated Margaret Williams who sings Scottish Gaelic songs, Rob Lindsay on didgeridoo, Daryne Rockett on Celtic harp and Robin Jellis on cello. As long as creative talent keeps walking through our doors the possibilities are endless.

I used to have to ask for volunteers when we were invited to play a 'gig'. Often, I turned down invitations because of a lack of volunteers. Then, in late 2005, I began running into the problem of having TOO MANY volunteer drummers and having to turn some down. Today we have a core group of drummers who play the performances.

In July, 2006, Different Drummers received a last minute request from the Yarmouth Clam Festival to fill a few time slots. For those of you who aren't familiar, the population of Yarmouth, ME goes from 8,000 to 120,000 during the Clam Festival. On Saturday we took to the main stage and 'rocked the tent!' At first, people had come in out of the rain, but, after the sun came out the audience kept pouring in! All the seats were filled and loads of people were standing! I still get approached from time to time from folks who remember that performance. In July, 2007 we were invited to take the stage as scheduled performers. We were ALSO asked to participate in the Clam Festival Parade... On a float! It was one of the most fun things I did all year. Now, we participate in that parade each year.

In October, 2006 we performed for Women In God's annual conference. It was one of my favorite performances at the time. It was the first time we tried our popular 'featured performer' format where we backup featured performers rather than play one drum piece after another. It is the format we use to this day.

In February, 2007 we were featured in "Drumming and Rumi: A Celebration of Love" which took place in Portland, Maine. Here we played to a capacity audience with readings from the poet Rumi's love poetry between our drum pieces. In September, 2007 we were asked to perform at the Common Ground Fair. They put us in the biggest tent available. So many people gathered to hear us play that there were 30 to 40 people listening at each entrance because there was no more room inside the tent! The following year we were asked to play their Main Stage.

During the winter of 2007 we provided the music for an incredible show that featured the Poet Laureates of Maine and of Portland, Maine.

In 2008, a CATV station in Augusta did a one hour TV special on a small group of us who played in Winslow, ME.

We continue to be asked to provide music for church services of various faiths, festivals, benefits, corporate events, political events, etc. I'm always proud to point out that we receive invitations from the Catholics, the Pagans and everyone in between! (A testimony to the power of drumming as a bridge-builder.) This amazes me because we have no booking agent. I do not contact venues and market us. Every gig, paid or otherwise, happens because someone asks us to play.

One of my favorite gigs was a concert we did for Ferry Beach, a Unitarian retreat in Saco, ME. We play at the Bayside World Market and Fair in Portland each year as well as the American Heart Association's "HeartWalk" and, each year we perform for Portland's Pagan Pride Day Festival. We were the wedding reception band for a wedding that took place on Bailey's Island. And several years ago we played a private concert for a national conference of the Sisters of St. Joseph. At this point, though we are invited to perform year round, we have had as many as 16 bookings in one summer alone.

Below are some video clips to give you a taste of our eclectic 'band' improvising on stage...

"Grand Finale"

From 2013 Yarmouth Clam Festival


"Judy's Beat"

From Private Concert, 6/2/09


"Opening Improvisation"

From Unity Church service October, 2011


"Cello/Didge/Vocal/Prose piece"

From Unity Church service September, 2011


"Todd's solo and Finale"


Short excerpts from 2008 Common Ground Fair


Frank's Improv

From Private Concert, 2009


Judy: Flute Improv


Briana: Vocal Improv

Bayside World Market & Fair, 6/13/09


Different Drummers: Didge-Vocal-Native American Piece

from Ferry Beach Concert, 7/08


Different Drummers: "Judy's Beat"

from Ferry Beach Concert, 7/08


Briana & Will: "Scat Spat"

Unity Church Concert, 11/23/08


Different Drummers: "Jaiyana and the Loon"

from Pagan Pride Day Festival, 8/08


Different Drummers: Rick's Beat

from Yarmouth Clam Festival, 7/06


Different Drummers: Briana

from Unity Church concert


Different Drummers: Judy and Martin

from "Drumming and Rumi", 2/07