BY JOHN USALIS
“Hey, you, play that drum now,” Joseph Ciarvella said Tuesday, inviting everyone to show that the beat goes on during a time of self-distancing.
Using the ZOOM app, Ciarvella led participants in Schuylkill County and beyond in what is called “Virtual Drumming with Joe Ciarvella,” which began on March 26 and continues each Tuesday and Thursday at 1 p.m. through April 16. Using computers, smartphones and tablets, people connected from the comfort and safety of their homes in a jam session in livestreaming format. The project is a team-up with Schuylkill County’s VISION Healthy Schuylkill Communities, Lehigh Valley Health Network-Schuylkill and Ciarvella’s Grateful Drumming.
“As you know, I’ve been doing therapeutic-style drumming for a few years now. This started as part of the coronavirus pandemic,” Ciarvella said. “Jeanne Elberfeld, the executive director of Schuylkill County’s VISION, and I worked together on this project. She got it all together on this project. The whole reason was that everyone is stuck in their house. Jeanne came to me with the idea about doing it online and see how it works for the next few weeks. Let’s give it a shot.”
The project offers free access to the one-hour drumming session twice a week led by Ciarvella, with VISION hosting them through the ZOOM meeting platform. There is no cost to download and use the ZOOM app.
“The first program was great. We had about 30 people participating,” Ciarvella said. “All age groups, young and old. It’s a great idea because people are trying to eat up time during their day. Everybody’s home and the kids are out of school and it’s hard to keep them motivated. It’s a full hour of music interaction through drumming. Afterward, people said they had a great day and everyone felt good.”
Drumming is great for your mind, body and spirit, Ciarvella said. There is no experience or actual drums necessary. Use whatever is available at home or an office, whether it is a drum, a large metal can, any kind of bucket, an oatmeal container, a stool, a chair or a lap. Elberfeld used the top of her desk as her percussion instrument. Sit in a chair or sofa or the floor, whatever is most comfortable.
Everyone can hear Ciarvella as he leads the therapeutic drumming, though the participants microphones are muted not to cause a cacophony of other sounds, such as talking and noises. The microphones are opened when Elberfeld, who hosts the program, asks for input from the participants.
“When we are together in a group, we’re playing together,” Ciarvella said. “We are virtually in the same room. Everybody’s energy is playing off everybody else’s energy. What is nice about this is there are families stuck at home and the whole family can sit in their living room and play along with me, and in essence they’re virtually playing along with everybody. That’s how I made it work. Necessity is the mother of invention here on this whole deal and we’re learning as we go.”
Future sessions are on the following dates at 1 p.m.: April 2, 7, 9, 14 and 16. Ciarvella said the project will be reviewed to decide on extending the dates.
“This is a way to unite us in community,” Ciarvella said. “It’s very important to see each other’s faces. Humans aren’t meant to be isolated, physically or emotionally. We’re trying to connect people with this and learn about music too.”
To find the links to connect with the program, go to Facebook and search “Virtual Drumming w/Joe Ciarvella/VISION/LVHN.” All links will be on the page.
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