Newport Community Drum Circle performances return in new online format

The Newport Community Drum Circle will be performing online this summer, in place of gathering together in public venues, to continue the musical tradition while following COVID-19 guidelines. (Courtesy photo)

An iconic harbinger of spring and the coming summer tourist season in Newport for many years has been the sound of primeval drums ringing through historic Nye Beach, but this year there are no drums to be heard and no tourists to hear them.

The drums that signaled the start of the Newport Community Drum Circle’s popular free monthly Second Saturday Summer Celebration outdoor performance series in the courtyard at Cafe Mundo for nearly a decade are silent, as are the drums that would have signaled the Drum Circle’s 13th year of the twice-monthly summer drum circles at Don and Ann Davis Park. But the drum circle’s coordinator, Chandler Davis, said the nonprofit organization has no intention of descending silently into the western horizon anytime soon.

“We’ve been looking into this for some time, along with other drum circle facilitators around the world, and we have come up with an online model for a virtual community rhythm format using the Zoom conferencing platform that will preserve most of the therapeutic and community-building benefits and other joys and benefits of group drumming and music participation,” Davis said.”I believe it’s also the best way for us to preserve the excitement, variety and fun of our large outdoor summer stage shows and other performance events in the safest way possible.”

The platform allows for collaboration among as many as 100 performers, guests, and attendees. Participants can join the event from their home, office or other remote locations anywhere in the world. The drum cricle segments will be family-oriented and will require no musical experience — all ages and skill levels are welcome. Davis said he’ll suggest and demonstrate household items that can be used as percussion instruments for those without drums. Acoustic instruments other than percussion are welcome, but will be expected to follow and accompany the drums.

The premier broadcast of the new, free and family-friendly virtual Global Drum Circle & World Beat Rhythm Celebration from Newport aired on Saturday, May 9. These free performances will be held every Saturday through September in this format, with each week’s unique links and cell phone call-in numbers made available on Davis’s Facebook page and on the “Newport Community Drum Circle” Facebook page.

For more information, contact Davis at [email protected], via Facebook or at 541-272-4615.