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Drum circle gathers at Presque Isle Park

June 23, 2012
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The sound of drums, shakers and Native American flutes fills the air of Presque Isle Park during the summer.

Charlotte Key of Inverness, Fla., has been visiting Marquette for the past four years and while in the Upper Peninsula she said she missed one thing about summer in Florida.

"I really missed not participating in a regularly scheduled drum circle," Key said. "So this year, I vowed to start one as soon as I got in town, as I am only here for three months typically."

Article Photos

Marria Formolo, second from left, dances to the music created by Cindy Engle, left, Charlotte Key, second from right, and Laura Nagle, right, during the Marquette Summer Community Drum Circle in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)

Key said she would go to a drum circle that's held once a month in Crystal River, Fla., but with the short summers in the Upper Peninsula, Key said having it only once a month wouldn't be enough.

"What is so critical is having enough people to keep the beat," Key said.

With the drum circle recently starting, only a few people are showing up and participating, she said.

"What is so critical, is having enough people to keep the beat," Key said. "You really get momentum going with more people."

According to Key, drum circles are a really good way to bring community members together and for everyone to meet new people.

"This is a lifetime thing that you can do," she said. "We've had people that are 80 years old walking down the beach to the circle (in Florida)."

Other than being a lifelong pursuit, Key said she wants it to be a family event where parents can bring their children.

"We had a whole bunch of kids come the first time," she said. "So I went out and got a bunch of toys and instruments for the kids to use," Key said.

Key said she had help getting the Marquette Community Summer Drum Circle started.

"I met Cindy Engle at the People's Festival last year and then again at the Outback Art Fair (and) with her help, we started this together," Key said. "She was a key part in getting this circle going."

According to Key, Engle has tried to start a drum circle in the past in Marquette but it just didn't work out.

"I have been interested in drumming for several years and have actually brought in Toby Christensen, a healing drummer, twice during the People's Festival in the last four years," Engle said.

Engle has posted about the drum circle on her Facebook page and has gotten some good feedback about it, Key said.

"Drumming is a tool for better health and well being physically and emotionally, as well as spiritually - and just fun," Engle said.

Key has a similar feeling about community drum circles and said they help people feel connected and is very emotionally healthy.

"To some (drum circles) are somewhat spiritual, to others a means to escape their problems by keeping the constant rhythm of the 'right now' and not think of their issues while drumming," Key said. "For others, it's simply to have fun with the rhythms."

The drum circle meets on the grass next to the Moosewood Nature Center in Presque Isle Park on July 1, 15 and 29, and Aug. 5 and 29. If it rains, the circle will be moved to the pavilion behind and next to the nature center.

It's free to the public and people are asked to bring something to sit on, drums, shakers, rhythm toys and Native American flutes. Dancers, hula hoopers and poi twirlers are encouraged to join as well. No experience is necessary and shakers can be provided to share.

For more information, check out their Facebook page: Djembie Dreamers.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is



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