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/// ECLECTIC All Free with Love:

West Michigan Drum Circle F

O R G E T T H E stereotype of a dark, incense-filled bungalow and bobbing dreadlocks amidst a steady drum

pulse. Nestled in Shore Acres Park, which is surrounded by Saugatuck Dunes State Park, The West Michigan Drum Circle focuses on community and a broad appeal. The monthly gathering draws folks from all walks of life, from serious musicians to groups of families and even first-time percussionists. “We’re in our seventh year,”

said Bret Wyngarden, the founder of West Michigan Drum Circle. “A lot of people would call me a facilitator. But, I’m primarily an instigator.” A lifelong drummer, Wyn-

garden found himself on a prolonged hiatus through his college years. “I lived on a boat, which

wasn’t very conducive for a drum set,” he said. Later, Wyngarden got back

into drumming and joined a band. “We were doing some recording and

I wanted to lay down some bongo tracks. I thought a neat way would be to go to a drum circle and learn from some bongo players. When I searched around, there weren’t really any good drum circles.” He took it upon himself to fill the void he saw in the community and the West Michigan

Drum Circle has persisted ever since. Held on the second Tuesday of each month, drummers gather May through October. “I get people from all over. We even have

people come from the bed and breakfasts in Saugatuck [and] I’ve had people from as far as Ohio,” Wyngarden said. The amount of participants varies any-

where from around two dozen to almost 60 each time.

Wyngarden’s slogan for the

event is “All Free With Love.” He doesn’t charge for the event and refuses to accept donations. “It’s a way to get some people

with an open mind or looking for some family fun to get away from the TV and go out and experience something unique.” To appeal to all levels, the

drum circle typically begins with a structured percussion activity or game like a call and response session and leads into free-form jamming. Sometimes the group will learn a world beat and use that as a jumping off point, guiding the drummers to experimentation. Each September, as the season winds down, Wyngarden gives away an instrument to each child present so they can keep the spirit of the circle with them as school and sports take over in the fall. “When I had started to learn

more, the drumming after a while almost becomes secondary,” Wyngarden said. “The commu-

nity and friendships forged are more and important.” n


July 12, 6:30-8 p.m.

by Audria Larsen |

Other Eclectic Events | by Audria Larsen

National Baby Food Festival 2011 Downtown Fremont July 20-23 FREE!

Go goo-goo ga-ga this month in the name of the mysteri- ous mush spoon-fed to babies. Each year the denizens of Fremont, otherwise known as “The Baby Food Capital of the World” and home to Gerber Products Company, celebrate with wacky activities like the Bed Race and a Baby Food Cook-Off. One of the highlights is the Baby Photo Contest, á la Gerber Baby style, where winning tots will be crowned the Prince and Princess of the festival.

20 | REVUEWM.COM | JULY 2011

Jumping for Ta-Tas Premier Skydiving, Fremont July 15-17

Jump out of a plane in the name of ta-tas. On July 15, experienced skydivers will attempt to break the national record for “most loads flown from a Cessna 182” in a single day. Hosted by Premier Skydiving, this annual fundraising event benefits Pink Ribbon Riders, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to individuals suffering from breast cancer. The pros will be taking donations on a per-jump basis and students are invited to participate as well. Spectators are welcome.

Deep Sky Objects, Waxing Gibbous,

Nebulae: Astronomical Observation Nights James C. Veen Observatory, Lowell Township July 9 & 30, 9:30 p.m.-Midnight; $2-$3;

Get galactic this summer and spy celestial bodies. Twice this month, the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) will host Public Observation Nights. Provided the night is clear, you can check out cute little Saturn, which looks like a cartoon from afar, get up close and personal with the moon and all its crags and learn about ominous sounding “deep sky objects,” all on Kissing Rock Avenue. Who knew telescopes could be so romantic?


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