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Bowman program takes a 'beating'

High school starts a weekly drum circle with help from local instrument manufacturer.

Posted: March 25, 2008 1:54 a.m.
Updated: May 26, 2008 5:01 a.m.

The drums used in the weekly drum circles were donated by Remo Inc., based in Valencia.

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Bowman High School students have a new lunchtime activity: pounding on drums.

A drum circle made up of students and teacher Michael Coombe was recently formed when Bowman received a donations of drums from Remo Inc.

On Thursdays, members of the circle bang on bodhrans from Ireland; dabble in Middle Eastern doumbeks; echo with Afro-Cuban congas and bongos; commune with djembes and talking drums from Africa; and coax song from a Brazilian surdo.

"We have a small campus, but I wanted to have a good mix of drums from around the world," said Coombe, who arranged the donation. "The plan was to teach the different drums and the regions they come from and the rhythms in my music class; then we would have these weekly drum circles to invite all the students to participate."

Students at nearby tables and benches went about their business eating their lunches and talking on cell phones during last Thursday's drum circle, but many could be seen tapping a foot or hand to the beat of the drums.

One of the listeners, Bowman junior Kevin Hoyme, said he likes the drum circle because, as far as he knows, none of the other high schools have anything like it.

"It's relaxing. We've been in class all day listening to lectures, so it's nice to be able to listen to music," Hoyme said.

The drummers took turns playing different types of drums. Antonio Curiel was definitely the most enthusiastic of the group, sometimes chanting along with the rhythm.

"I'm very excited the school got the drums. I look forward to this every Thursday," Antonio said. "I'm, like, waiting for the bell to ring thinking, oh my God, I get to play drums."

In addition to the set of international drums, Valencia-based Remo also donated to Bowman a full five-piece professional drum set, a Remo original sound shape family pack and the shaker fruit collection.

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