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Earth Day and The Sound of Drums This Weekend

April 20, 2012 - Jim Price
Although thunderstorms might be possible this weekend, they won’t be the only source of thunder you may hear. Drumming will be in the forefront for several events happening in the area through Monday night.

The Bedford Arts Center in downtown Bedford will host a Rhythm Renewal Community Drum Circle with Jim Donovan this Saturday evening, April 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The event will enable audience members and participants to play a variety of hand drums and percussion instruments to create spontaneous, rhythmic music. The effects are therapeutic and empowering; enabling drummers to experience a sense of community as they make music together. The event is open to all ages. Admission is $12 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation for International Community Assistance. International food and refreshments will be provided.

Drums will also be present during Penn State Altoona’s annual Earth Day Celebration, which takes place this Sunday, April 22. Local hand-drumming enthusiast Erro Gutshall will present an African drumming performance beginning at 1 p.m. African drum songs will be performed on several instruments such as djembes, ashikos and djun-djuns (African bass drums), and a dancer will perform with the rhythms as well. The Earth Day Celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature musical performances throughout the day. Solo acoustic performer Jen Bertiaux will perform at 11 a.m., the band Rampart will entertain at 12 noon, The Backyard Rockers will perform at 2 p.m., and Mysterytrain will close out the musical portion of the day starting at 3:30 p.m. There will also be various booths and displays by school and student organizations, local conservation and nonprofit groups, student and faculty canoe races, yoga sessions, a showing of the film “Gasland,” E-waste recycling, local vendors, children’s activities and more. Admission to the Earth Day Celebration is free. In the event of rain, some of the events will be moved inside the campus’ Adler Gymnasium.

And if you still need more drums after these first two events, you are invited to head to St. Francis University on Monday evening, April 23, for the St. Francis University World Drumming Ensemble’s annual Spring Concert. The concert will take place in the campus’ JFK Auditorium beginning at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Directed by former Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan, the St. Francis University World Drumming Ensemble features between 40-50 members comprised of students, faculty, and community members from as far away as Johnstown and Altoona. The concert will feature a variety of West African and other international drumming songs, and audience participation is encouraged.

Fresh from competing in last weekend’s Pittsburgh Blues Challenge, Altoona area blues specialists The Hawks Blues Band celebrate the release of their debut EP this weekend with two performances. On Friday night, April 20, The Hawks perform at Rubine’s in Altoona, and on Saturday night they play at Cresson’s Blue Moon Saloon. Free copies of their EP, “It Ain’t Cherry,” will be available while supplies last.

Here is the listing for live music on area stages this weekend:


The Hawks at Rubine’s, Altoona

2Twenty2 at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

Limited Slip at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Rain Must Fall and Saving Jake at Aldo’s, Altoona

The House Band at The Cantina, Altoona

Felix & the Hurricanes at the Heidelberg, Altoona

kBand at Blue Moon Saloon, Cresson

GhostTown Revelry at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg

Night Train at City Hotel, Northern Cambria

A.X.E. at Sunshine Inn, Coalport

Sylex and NailDriver at The Arena, State College


Samara, Limb By Limb and Disgust In Disguise at Aldo’s, Altoona

R2B2 at Family Pizza, Altoona

Lies, Inc. and Rain Must Fall at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Emily’s Toybox at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

7th Gear at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

The Conniptions at The Heidelberg, Altoona

Jim Donovan Rhythm Renewal Community Drum Circle at Bedford Arts Center, Bedford (starts 7 p.m.)

Michael O’Brian Band at Glenn’s Place, Claysburg

John Fox and the Country Gamblers at Our Lady of Loretto Community Building, Loretto (starts 7 p.m.)

The Hawks at Blue Moon Saloon, Cresson

Rust at Madhatters, St. Boniface

13 Stories at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg

The House Band at Castle Pub, Ebensburg

Rick Ramsey at Jay’s Place, Ebensburg

Saving Jake at the Rockbox, Everett

Ganister at County Line Inn, Mount Union

Sound Of Silence at Hill Valley Inn, Mount Union


Earth Day Celebration with Jen Bertiaux, Rampart, Erro Gutshall, The Backyard Rockers and Mysterytrain at Penn State Altoona (event runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free admission)

John and Joan at Madhatters, St. Boniface (4-7 p.m.)


A.X.E. at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona


St. Francis University World Drumming Ensemble Spring Concert at JFK Auditorium, St. Francis University, Loretto (starts 7 p.m., free admission)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Blue Moon Saloon, Cresson (starts 8 p.m.)

(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)

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Blog Photos

The St. Francis University World Drumming Ensemble, performing during their "Concert for Haiti" benefit in January 2010. The Ensemble presents their annual Spring Concert this Monday night at JFK Auditorium.


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