Porch Club sets full moon to music

Riverton group offers a drummer’s take on the event.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Deptford resident Tom Campbell leads a group drumming session at The Porch Club of Riverton during a full moon on May 16, sharing ancient tales and spiritual songs with residents.

The Porch Club of Riverton celebrated this month’s full moon, known as the Full Flower Moon, with drummer Tom Campbell, who led a ceremony that featured group drumming, stories and songs.

According to the Farmers Almanac, in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere, flowers are abundant in late spring. Brilliantly colored blossoms burst forth in both trees and meadows, resulting in the name Full Flower Moon.

- Advertisement -

Campbell has studied Native, Indigenous and ancient wisdom and Shamanic traditions to assist a journey that started decades ago.

“About 35 years ago, I was part of (finding) a men’s spiritual group,” he explained. “We would go away on retreat once a year, and the second year, we went away and we started drumming.”

“We liked the sound; we liked the Native culture and their respect for the Earth and each other.”

Campbell said he and his group members drummed together at each other’s homes every three weeks. Eventually, he started leading retreats at different locations such as community centers, yoga studios and now his home.

“Five years ago, (I) bought a home in Deptford with my wife and we started doing, twice a month, drumming at the house,” Campbell recalled. “So we built a labyrinth and a medicine wheel and an angel wheel in the backyard and (we) have kind of a forest.”

Campbell’s experience helped him lead drumming sessions.

“Every year on our men’s group retreat, I would do what we call the ‘Native American session’ for the group,” he noted. “It’s a two-and-a-half-hour group meeting, and each year, I would do something different and I would research.”

“So I got to know Native, Indigenous, all kinds of cultures to help present to the group.”

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: This drum with animals painted on the front is one of 30 that Deptford resident Tom Campbell brought to a drumming session during the full moon.

Through his research, Campbell can help others focus on connecting to their inner selves. He explained how he runs the two-hour sessions at his home.

“ … I incorporate storytelling, some ritual, some movement, some gestures (and) some song, and it makes the time go because you just can’t drum that long,” Campbell noted, “So I do what I call ‘drum segments,’ where we drum for a certain amount of time and then we bring it down and I let the energy move around.”

“ … I might tell a story (and) then we do another segment and we just keep moving through the time period.”

Campbell noted how group drumming benefits others.

“It kind of resonates with people,” he remarked. “I’ll go over some medical studies published on group drumming about reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, producing immune cells … all kinds of things that group drumming does to you physically and emotionally and spiritually.”

Campbell brought 30 hand-held drums to the full moon event for participants to experiment with, some made from animal and fiber skins. He described what he hopes his drumming sessions do for others.

“I look forward to people experiencing the drumming, to having it touch them deep inside so they feel something,” he said. “Sometimes it opens up something for them. Sometimes it’s relaxing, sometimes it’s very energizing.”

“I hope for people to be open enough that they will feel the power of the drumming.”

- Advertisment -