On November 9, 2015, the St. Francis World Drumming Ensemble, directed by multi-platinum recording
artist and St. Francis instructor Jim Donovan, gave a high-energy performance at IUP. The
ensemble performance group was comprised of students, faculty, staff, and
members of the local community of Ebensburg and Loretto, Pa.
As the drummers
swiftly moved in to McVitty auditorium with their Djembe drums and accommodated
themselves in an organized cluster on the right side of the auditorium, below
the stage, it was a sight in itself, captivating the spectators’ attention—and
the show had not yet begun. Spectators were finding their way into the auditorium as well.
dance group found their space on the stage. Dressed in black leotards and
colorful scarf-like skirts, they swirled, practicing a few of their moves.
It was time to start—everyone was in their place. A brief introduction to the group, and, as soon as
the last word was pronounced—Bum! Brrum!! Brrrumble!!! The drums rumbled and
shook McVitty. Donovan gave hand signals to start and end the drumming.
Donovan explained that drumming is a group experience.
As an icebreaker to meeting people and bonding, he asked the audience to rub their
hands as if warming them, and then to turn to their back and meet the person
behind them to create a bond of positive energy. The rubbing of the hands was
only the beginning of the interactive, multicultural drum concert.
The St. Francis World Drumming Ensemble gave an
exhilarating, enchanting, and engaging show. The audience was drawn to the
music and visual dance. The infectious energy touched the audience with their
joy, resulting in a truly delightful hour.
The last performance was getting everyone involved to
dance. Though there were shy audience members, the dance group managed to pull a
crowd to join them up front and in the back of the auditorium. Most notable, the St. Francis
World Drumming Ensemble united audience members through the powerful act of
Then, just like that the performance was over. It felt as
though they had only played for 20 minutes when, in fact, an entire hour had
gone by. It was a mesmerizing and incredibly powerful percussive and dance
performance that stunned the audience. Audience members walked out with smiles
on their faces, indicative of a job well done.
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Latin American Studies