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Community day of drumming starts a groove

The rhythm is gonna get you.

January 31, 2008

The rhythm of the drum, like the pulse of a communal heart, draws us together. Its beat entices us to play, to dance, to let loose or just to let go. It heals us by its spirituality and bonds us with its mesmerizing spell.

Lehigh Valley drummer and percussionist Moe Jerant, founder and artistic director of the Lehigh Valley Drum Circle, has recognized the drum's ability to both entertain and heal since she was an eighth-grader. On Saturday, Jerant and multi-platinum recording artist Jim Donovan -- founder of the band Rusted Root -- will celebrate the voice of the drum by presenting the first-ever Lehigh Valley Day of Drumming.

The event features a day of drumming workshops presented by Jerant and Donovan, followed by an evening concert highlighting African rhythms, song and dance. The concert will feature the Jamani drummers, a local women's world percussion ensemble; ''Gathering Soul,'' a dance piece choreographed by Sarah Carlson, associate professor of dance at Muhlenberg College, and performed by Muhlenberg dance students, and a performance featuring Jamani, Donovan and Jerant.

Rock drummer takes his love of rhythm on the road

At its explosive peak, the band Rusted Root could turn any crowd into a dancing mob, all driven by the mad beat of the drum. Drummer, percussionist and founding member Jim Donovan is a multi-platinum artist who has shared the stage with such legends as Santana, The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers.

Donovan left Rusted Root in 2005 and now shares his love of rhythm by presenting drumming workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe. In the fall of 2006 he became a full-time instructor of world music and drumming at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Cambria County. Donovan has held workshops in the Lehigh Valley and will return Saturday to help lead the Day of Drumming.

''I met Moe at a workshop I did in Allentown a couple of years ago,'' says Donovan, a Pittsburgh native. ''We really hit it off.''

Maureen 'Moe' Jerant * (610) 428-0544
Lv Drum Circle  * P.O. Box 541, Bethlehem, PA 18016