Beneath Everything Natural at 426 S. State St. in Clarks Summit is a secret buried treasure.
But not the kind that may first come to mind.
This is a treasure of musical rhythm, conversation and community. It is also perhaps one of the Abington area’s best-kept secrets: a drum circle group called The Everything Natural Drummers, which meets in the basement of the natural foods shop about every other week (generally the second and fourth Fridays of the month) from 1 to 4 p.m.
“A lot of times people will hear us and wander down, and are like, ‘Wow’,” said one of the drummers, Dave Krewson, of Clarks Summit. “It’s infectious. And we have fun.”
The group also occasionally holds drum circles at different locations, such as local parks and during various community events. It will be featured during this month’s Open Mic Night at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22 at the Dietrich Theater in downtown Tunkhannock.
The drum circles vary in size from week to week, according to Krewson, but it has been known to surpass 20 drummers at one time. The event starts off with one or two drummers creating a beat, and the rest gradually joining in to add their own interpretations to the rhythm. Krewson described the result as more of a “conversation” than a musical piece.
Sandy Newell, who travels from Dallas to participate, said the drum circles are of a “freestyle” format.
“You come in and someone starts it,” she said, “and it takes off.”
“One of us will just start puttering around and the others just join in,” Krewson said. “It’s fun to listen, fun to play and a little bit of exercise. And it does have a soothing affect to play…it’s a good time to get together and have a few laughs.”
He added the group often continues drumming past its scheduled 4 p.m. ending time, as no one wants to stop.
All are invited to participate, regardless of age and musical knowledge, or lack thereof. Some people bring their own drums and other percussion instruments, while others borrow the various instruments available from other participants. Some even use their own bodies as instruments, clapping their hands, stomping their feet or drumming on their thighs.
People also participate in the drum circles for various reasons. Newell said one of the most common is as a therapeutic or meditative tool.
Everything Natural co-owner Bary Kaplan, who first came up with the idea for The Everything Natural drummers when the shop moved to its current location about 10 years ago, said, “There are people who use it as a meditative tool and people who do different things with drum circles.” But no matter what the purpose, he said it creates a “welcoming and fun atmosphere.”
“It’s very easy going,” said another of the drummers, Keith White, of Factoryville.
Kaplan said the group evolved a lot over the years since it first started and changed leadership a few times until Ed Crawley, of Clarks Summit, “Stepped up and led the beat.” He said the energy of the circles continues to change each time the group meets, sometimes creating an energetic happy atmosphere, sometimes more of a mellow feel, but always encouraging.