St. Mary's County Times August 10, 2017 - Page 14

14 Education The County Times Thursday, August 10, 2017 Re-Creating Yourself, One Beat at a Time Emily Harris, left, and Shirley Steffey work to match rhythms in CSM’s Drum Circle class at the Leonardtown Campus. First, there is a steady beat coming from a single drum. Boom — boom, boom, boom. Other drum- mers gradually join in, each on differently sized and toned drums, as they match the beat created by the leader. Participants in the drum circle focus their eyes on the floor or the ceiling to concentrate on the rhythm. Others grin at their neighbors as the beats match up in a satisfying pulse. Some of the drummers intro- duce variations, which the instructor of the class, Sheila Klotz, calls “layers.” The group speeds up a little and then dissolves into laughter when Klotz stops the class to point out the unwanted speed change. This is a Drum Circle class, a non-credit personal enrichment class at the College of Southern Mary- land (CSM) on the Leonardtown Campus. It is one of approximately 400 personal enrichment class op- tions offered every year at CSM’s campuses. Latin Dancing, Basic Dog Obedience, Backyard Chicken Keeping, numerous cooking classes, Fit Over 40, Build Your Own Drone, The Art of Song- writing, Aqua Zumba, Pottery — the options are wide-ranging, accessible and designed to help area residents find a new skill or hobby or polish old ones, including drum circle skills. Instructors for these courses come with excellent credentials and wealth of knowledge and experience. CSM Program Coordinator Shaunda Holt, who helps develop the programs offered by the college’s personal enrichment department, said she sees learn- ing as a way for people to re-create themselves. “Per- sonal enrichment is just that — living an enriched life creating knowledge, inspiration and passion, no matter what stage of life you are in. Anyone can re- create themselves and CSM’s personal enrichment program helps people to do just that.” This summer is the first time CSM has offered a class on drum circles — an activity growing in popu- larity where a group of people play hand drums and percussion together as an activity as opposed to pre- paring for a performance. Students in CSM’s Drum Circle class take an hour, one evening each week, to focus on the activity for a variety of reasons. Shirley Steffey of Lusby is a member of Daughters of Veda Sereem belly dancers, as are several other members of the Drum Circle class. The belly danc- ers use a doumbek, a drum from the Middle East, in their performance. “We wanted to refine our skills,” Steffey said. “Try new things.” Andrew Mauro of Great Mills, an aspiring writer who cares for his parents during the day, says the class is a break for him. “It’s fun,” he said. “It defi- nitely has a good energy. Makes you want to keep going. Positive vibes.” Grace Calo of California, who kicks off her san- dals and participates in the drum circle barefoot, said she was so exc