Joyful drummers celebrate Seniors Week in Byron
A DOZEN pensioned percussionists made a joyful noise today as a distinctly Byron Bay way of marking Senior's Week.
For many of the participants aged between 65 and 76 years of age, it was their first experience of a drumming circle.
But they picked it up remarkably quickly, banging out an infectious beat over an African tribal rhythm sound-track under the tutelage of drum teacher Gareth Jones.
"If you've got some arthritis in your fingers feel free to use sticks," Gareth advised.
The session at the community centre ended in a noisy crescendo of drums, maracas, tambourines and cowbells and with lots of smiles and laughter.
The novice drummers had such a hoot they are already making plans to stage a regular circle in Railway Park.
Gareth teaches in schools and nursing homes with his oldest student 99 years of age.
"It can get wild. Old ladies get up and have a dance with the maracas," the Pottsville resident said.
"They thought their party years were over but they're just beginning when they discover things like this."
He said his work had proven to him that drumming could be highly therapeutic and energising.
"People have these preconceived notions of drumming as being a bunch of hippies banging and smoking weed but it's so much more than that."
Drum-maker Veet, one of today's participants, said it could be a spiritual practice.
"It gets you in touch with the rhythm of life," Veet said.
"It puts you in touch with spirit.
"It gets you away from thinking; turns the brain off."