As the summer comes to a close, I sat scrolling through my images trying to find the right photo to summer-ize the past few months. I would have rather posted an album, but this format has its limitations. The photo above seemed a good fit; I know that face I'm making...it's my gratitude face.
There are so many people to thank I do not know where to begin. The members of Bele Bele Rhythm Collective, who showed up for months, hell or high water (and there has been a bit of each), to practice for the performance season; My Drumspiration students, who I'm certain are the best on the planet, returning again and again to classes; my Zoom students, who took a grand leap of faith and paid my way out to Northern California to teach them; my parents, without whom I could never had made that trip; my son, who keeps me grounded, keeps me from falling off the edge when despair strikes out, and who is so beautifully becoming himself on a daily basis.
Many others too - those who book me to teach and perform; those who stick around even when times are hard or they're having a hard time (or I am!); the admin staff at my school, who finally decided to pay me a salary appropriate to my experience (and inflation). Those who teach me things everyday (you know who you are), about how to live, how to be a better version of myself, how to plan, and how to temper my tenacity with grace.
Right now, I really want is to give all of you a very quick list of the events I toured this summer, as a teaser since next summer will likely be similar. You can refer back to this email in March or April 2023, when deciding how to integrate drumming into your summer experience:
Memorial Day weekend 2023 - the Virginia women's music festival, Friday - Monday. A wonderful, chill experience, never super crowded. Camping and cabins available, a gorgeous lake for swimming/canoeing, performers of merit. Tickets are inexpensive. Meal plans available. Only drawback is for men - this is a women's only event. Link.
Drum n Splash 2023 - exact dates TBA but always around the last week of June/first week of July. This event provides an alternative to the 4th of July craze. Beautiful setting, good food, multiple outdoor venues to learn different drumming and dance styles from fabulous teachers, downtime for jamming and talking; relationship-building opportunities. Open mics and other performance opportunities, fire circles with drumming and dancing late into the evening. A beautiful river to swim in. Camping or bunkhouse. All ages - great for kids too.
Born To Drum 2023 - exact dates TBD but likely 2nd or 3rd week of July - all-women's drum camp set in gorgeous Bort Meadows in the hills of Oakland California. An education of the spirit as well as of the rhythms. Classes in many different indigenous drumming styles with experienced female instructors known locally to internationally. This event has a culture that has been cultivated for decades, starting with its founders. Attendees do best when walking in with reverence, and with an open mind and spirit. At the end of each day, the mind boggles at having taken in so much. Camping or folks stay off site. Potluck and BYO meals. Link.
The end of the summer looks full of joy, if you take advantage.
Bele Bele Rhythm Collective is performing at the following FREE events, and you're invited:
Thursday August 18th 6:30pm on the lawn of the National Building Museum, 401 F St NW, to open up for Folgers Theatre's production of a Midsummer Night's Dream. Link.
Saturday August 20th 2:30pm our last show of the season at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, 1550 Anacostia Ave NE. These shows are participatory - so bring a drum or other instrument and join us. Link.
Sunday August 21st 10:30am we are playing all the music for services at All Souls Unitarian in DC - 1500 Harvard St NW. Link.
And on deck....
Saturday Sept 18 3:30pm at the Baltimore Rhythm Festival
Zoom drum classes will begin Sept. 20
Drumspiration classes will begin Sept. 25
Thank you all for your time and attention to this belated letter. Much love to you all, and I hope to see you soon.