Early in the fall of 2012, the Longbranch Improvement Club (LIC) leadership had a grand idea. They wanted to bring back the feel of the former “beyond the borders” event with a one-day drum festival in the summer of 2013.
Jessica Smeall, Key Pen Parks recreation coordinator, said the LIC asked if the park district could be involved in this effort.
“I immediately thought of a PeeWee drum camp during the week prior to the LIC festival, in which the campers could prepare a performance for the festival,” Smeall said.
The two groups spent a year pulling all the details together. The park drum camp is set for August 5-9 with the LIC’s Drum Fest following on Aug 10.
The park camp targets two ages of camper –– PeeWees (ages 4-7) and Park PALS (ages 11-14), who will serve as volunteers during the camp.
According to Smeall, the hope is to pair each PeeWee with a PAL, to create a dynamic learning environment in which participants can learn from each other. The PALS will be led by their own leadership instructor, with lessons and hands-on learning to bring their service to life.
The PeeWee program will be led by Smeall, “with help from some amazing guest instructors,” she said.
On Monday and Friday of the camp, County Bookwalter, a true drum aficionado, will teach the many.
“County’s passion for drums has always been personally inspiring to me, and he credits drumming with helping him through the many ups and downs of life. He is the perfect musician and artist to motivate and inspire these young drummers,” Smeall said.
The main theme of his time at camp will be “sound exploration.”
“They need to feel free to hit it,” Bookwalter said.
He believes the more exploration students feel comfortable with, the more they will feel free to create and explore with other sounds and patterns.
County will perform at the Drum Fest with his drum set and some electronic accompaniment, and also help the children with their performance.
Smeall encourages the community to consider joining the effort by donating a drum, referring a great drum instructor, sending a child to camp or to volunteer, or to come out to the Drum Fest at the LIC on Aug. 10 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (drum campers perform at 10 a.m.).
Other performances for the event are: Clan Gordon Pipe and Drum, Gary Gibson steel drums, Kaze Daiko Taiko, Leif Totusek and Candela, Ollie Klomp and the Malcolm Clark Trio.
“The LIC Drum Fest will be a feast of rhythm with something for everyone, for every age and taste. It’s going to be a full day of beats, claps and taps. Oh, and there’s barbecue and beer garden,” said Tim Heitzman, LIC event chairman.