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It all started in 2006 when on a lark, Mae attended a hand drumming workshop and got totally hooked. Attracted to the sheer joy of it all and the fact that people with no musical background could contribute a simple rhythmic pattern on a drum and together produce a wonderful percussive harmony, she wanted to drum as much as she could. Weekly classes just weren't going to be enough. So over the next few years, there were regular practice sessions with friends, workshops with various teachers and a rigorous learning experience with Mamady Keita in Guinea.
Never intending to become a teacher, but discovering her knack for teaching and facilitating, she nonetheless evolved into a hand drumming instructor through her natural stick-to-it·ive·ness and continued encouragement from friends. Her goal is simply to continue sharing the joy of this music through classes, workshops and performances with other drummers. Mae insists that she is not an authority on this percussion style, and that for serious appreciation of, and proficiency in this music, there is simply no substitute for learning from actual West African Djembe master drummers who were born into, and lived the culture, and who have spent most of their lives playing and teaching. By making the West African percussive tradition more accessible to the casual learner, however, she feels she is helping to honor this musical style and the beautiful instruments it was created to be played on.
The "DrumForFun" name stuck after the first drum gatherings she offered in 2008 where she invited friends and neighbors to do just that. One thing led to another and weekly classes remained continuous for eleven years in Austin, Texas with those early groups evolving into a community of drummers held together by friendship, the love of rhythm and a desire to not only share the joy, but to also use their drums to provide tangible support to those who do good in the community. By the time she left Austin, the community had raised over $56K for charity.
Mae is now living and drumming in Staunton, a jewel of a city in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She is actively building a "sister" community of local rhythm lovers. Classes are held in a very large studio or, weather permitting, in a lovely clearing in the woods. Her goal is to again intertwine the joy of rhythm with giving back to the general community. Fundraising efforts currently support The New Directions Center - a local nonprofit organization. Aside from drumming instruction, Mae also offers customized rhythm events for work teams and community groups.
When she's not attached to a drum, she may be puttering in the garden, lost in contemplation while making some lovely, wire-wrapped pendants, or moving paint around on a canvas - her latest adventure...