Drumming IS the Difference

The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) recently completed a full week of interactive drumming workshops that engaged two population groups: Super Adults over the age of 62 and children who were patients at Texas Children’s Hospital–The Woodlands. These workshops were supported in part by a grant from The Texas Commission on the Arts and our volunteers who provided their gift of time. A special thanks to both!

The workshop goal was to engage each population group in a unique performance/workshop that infuses creative drumming with meaningful discussion, group participation and cultural awareness. Dan Egger-Belandria (aka “Dan the Drummer”) was the chief facilitator of these workshops and custom-tailored the workshops to the participants. Dan incorporated elements of hands-on involvement to stimulate mental, physical, artistic and cultural awareness. Using a visual slide show and percussion instruments from Africa and the Americas, Dan engaged participants in the history, musical folklore and cultural expression that have evolved over the last 500 years of Western development. 

In addition to hosting these workshops in a hospital setting and a community center, residents at multiple assisted living facilities located in Conroe and The Woodlands were beneficiaries of this program and included assisted living, independent living and memory care residents.  

“Our seniors came out of their shell in the drumming circle. Combining music and creativity by closing their eyes to imagine foreign places really opened their minds. I’m proud of them for experiencing a new activity. And the instructor intrigued their interest every second. The community Executive Director even got a chance to get silly with the residents during the chicken and rooster dance! The pictures and videos are priceless! We’ll be anticipating your next visit,” shared Erica Hardin, Life Engagement at Woodhaven Village Senior Living Community.

A statement from the facilitator … “The venues and audiences were diverse — assisted living senior centers to young children fighting for their lives, yet the level of engagement and participation was consistently genuine, playful and at times powerful, evoking tears of joy. Through hard work and soulful dedication, we touched the hearts and inspired the imagination of those who may need it the most.”

“I had the pleasure of being among the volunteers for two of the activities that Dan the Drummer conducted at Texas Children’s Hospital. It was truly amazing to see. Dan brings his passion and talents to each interaction and makes an incredibly strong and noticeable impact on the lives of others,” said Deb Spiess, President of the Board of Directors of TWAC.

“It was truly an amazing experience to watch first-hand how these workshops affected the memory care residents, said Wendy Paynter, Development Director for TWAC.  As the percussion instruments were introduced — and what seemed to be on cue — many of these residents responded by repositioning themselves in their wheelchairs, opening their eyes, and with arms extended, began to engage by tapping their fingers on drums that were held by their caregivers and the TWAC team.”

A special thanks to Interfaith, The Woodlands Children’s Museum, and Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands for your support of Drumming is the Difference. 

Beneficiaries of these workshops included residents of The Conservatory at Alden Bridge; The Woodlands Healthcare Center; The Village at The Woodlands Waterway, Elmcroft of Rivershire; and Woodhaven Village Senior Living Community. Other beneficiaries included South County Community Center and Texas Children’s Hospital–The Woodlands.

 Assisted Living and Memory Care Residents from The Woodlands Healthcare Center. Photo credit: Hello Woodlands

Dan playing the kalimba with a young patient at Texas Children’s Hospital–The Woodlands. Photo credit: Hello Woodlands


Memory care residents from The Village at The Woodlands Waterway engaged in drumming workshop. 

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