Tom Hillman’s Beach Shorts: Under the Moon
The night started out with naivety aplenty as I couldn’t help taking in the smoky welcome from various groups of bonfires that were signaling the
beginning of a very fun night. The smoke blended easily into the dusk and gloomy June evening.
It was my first time attending the Full Moon Aliso Beach Drum Circle, and for that I am embarrassed. Community hand-drumming at beaches had evidently began in the 80’s. Where the heck was I? I only went to the disco a couple of times! This current Aliso troupe has been together for 10 years.
I cruised over to the section of the beach park that can handle a big event, and observed a lot of normal, middle-of-life-looking women sitting in the large circle that surrounded the fire pit. I really wasn’t sure if I was at the right spot until I noticed all the drums scattered here and there. It actually looked more like a Tupperware party.
Everybody seemed unconcerned with the fact that the sight of the glowing full moon on this night was pure fantasy. Besides, there were drums to tune, drums to sell, and firewood offerings to be stacked up. As I learned, it is more comfortable to play drums while sitting in a chair. Or if you want to feel really postured, then you use a drum strap and this actually helps you move closer to the groove.
I set out my blanket and was able to manifest a nice drum, lent by this really cool dude. He was a drum teacher and an important member of the drum circle and probably could be the chief if there would be one.
With my blanket spread out, I offered half of my spot to a gal drumming from the bare sand. She was happily grounded. So I then struck up a conversation with another girl sitting next to me, she smiled hard and helped inform me of what she knew about the drumming people. She had purchased a brand new drum and excitedly let me know about a new drumming class.
The sun jumped down from the clouds, briefly dancing exposed for a lucky horizon. The drum sounds escalated, whistles harmony complimented, and the day was a done deal.
This was the place for the best bang for a belief, especially if you’re guided by the moon.
I joined into the community drumming, my timing ability was suspicious, and nobody cared. The pro drummers charge up the pack, the Tupperware ladies lead from the back.
I interviewed a man playing his stand-up double congas, positioned alone behind everyone. He was happy. I asked him what he thought about. He said, “It is beyond thinking, this is a tribal level.”
I could not control myself and tapped in on a guy using one of the biggest drums (base drum). You play them standing, using your leg and abdominal muscles to beat the hell out of those suckers. I suddenly found the community looking to me for leadership—they cheered! My sense of blast erupted for a while, and then I wryly gave the sticks to some beginner drummer.
There were some sexy women dancing in the fire’s light. The whole place seemed of Africa. I was thinking about a National Geographic-type of experience.
Time flew by. A policeman flashed his light as the park needed to close. Just as the drumming stopped, a completely amazing body belonging to a young lady stepped up in front of the fire. Her abdomen lit up the world. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” some hippy guy chimed in.
That’s what I saw.
The evening ended up innocently enough as we packed out the drums and returned to our normal American life.
The core group of founders for the Aliso Beach Drum Circle are:
Greg White, “Laguna Beach Drum teacher”—firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus Tucker, “The Conga Man”—thecongaman.com
Higgy Vasquez, “Drummer”—love2Drum.com
Billy Fried, “La Vida Laguna”—Kayak tours, surfing lesson, bikes, drum
Stephen Dolle, “Drum Circle Facilitation” and “Neuroscience Consulting”
David Hilal, “Drum Teaching and Recording”—soundconnected.net