A PLACE FOR DRUM, DANCE AND ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE
The North American Rhythmaculture is alive and well. It has been part of our artistic landscape since the Native Americans ran the show, and even through colonization (definitely dipped there) and the slave trade, to the blues and jazz. Rock and roll, hip hop and whatever it is that my daughter listens to now are all forms of drum and dance – the messenger (and message) might be transforming, but the beat has always been there. I mean, really – the banjo is a drum. The “blue notes” are totally West African. And here we are, a nearly 40 year tradition of music and dance in the great state of Michigan. Our people are funky…..some of us dig the fiddle, and some of us dig the drum. A lot of us dig it all.
As unveiled in the 2012 Festival Program, the WMO is working to build a drum, dance, and general acoustic performance venue on its grounds in the near future. Much progress has been made on this effort and plans are moving forward to make this venue a reality. Over the past year, I have been working with board member Paul Sachs to explore the festival’s needs in this area, and we have designed and proposed a venue. Recently, a steering committee has been formed to shepherd the movement forward; a certified architect has been hired to develop the design and provide build-plans and a budget for the project; and we are at the launch of a fundraising campaign to make this a reality.
The site will serve as an alternative venue for main stage performers to offer an intimate acoustic performance in the forest, as well as a venue for drum classes. Combining a workshop space with a stage for music and dance performance allows WMO to greatly expand its lineup of facilities in one gesture. As well, the proposed venue will be an official place to support and foster a positive environment for drum classes and open drum jams. WMO feels that an official venue for the purpose of drumming will nurture and encourage a healthy Wheatland drum milieu. This mixed-use space will be a pleasant counterpoint in the forest to the festival’s other stages, and give the Rhythmaculture in Michigan a flagship home.
If you are interested in more information and / or contributing funds contact the WMO Office at 989-967-8879
The design is the creative work of Ryan Edwards whom is working collaboratively with his colleagues at PhenomenArts Inc. of Boston and WMO Board Member, Paul Sachs.