By Bettie Seitzer
During the past year, we at the Women’s Drum Center have learned that flexibility has been the key to keeping arts organizations going during this prolonged pandemic.
We closed our doors on March 15 last year for what we hoped would be a few weeks of necessary austerity to join everyone else in attempting to tamp down the virus.
But we soon discovered that we needed to shift gears and march to the dictates of a different drummer: From March 15 to June 7 we conducted limited virtual classes—a great way to keep people connected but an impossible way to drum together.
On June 7, we partially reopened. We now offer a few classes that are limited to no more than 10 people. We have medical grade HEPA air filters and a humidifier in the studio, and we observe Covid protocols so that we keep each other safe while we revel in the delight of drumming together in community.
As we see more participant interest in resuming classes, we will add classes to meet demand.
Our most exciting plan right now is for a “grand re-opening” that we hope will happen later this year. Performances, free classes, unique workshops and a gala concert will all be featured in the months ahead.
Developing wellness rhythms
Meanwhile, we developed some virtual programming for our community. In September of 2020 we launched “Rhythms of Wellness,” a six-part series featuring wellness practitioners leading bi-weekly sessions focused on self-care practices and rhythms to help people through these stressful times. It was tremendously successful and positively received.
A second wellness series will launch in March. This series, “Rhythms of Loving Kindness,” will focus on mental and physical well-being. Our website will provide all information about the series, including the speakers, dates and pricing; more at www.womensdrumcenter.org.
In March and April there will be two more sessions of “Beat Cabin Fever,” a virtual series designed for children ages 8 to 12. Registrants will receive a kit to make a small percussion instrument and the virtual session will guide the children through making the instrument and teach rhythm patterns that can be played on the instrument. Recorded sessions will be available as well. Go to our Facebook page for more information and register at email@example.com.
The Women’s Drum Center also has received grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and the St. Paul Cultural Star program. These grants will fund special programs, community outreach programs (some virtual) and operating expenses. We are humbled and grateful for this wonderful support!
Bettie Seitzer is the executive director of the Women’s Drum Center.