Beacon Drum Circle Returns Again to Long Dock

By Jennifer L. Warren

BEACON – Stephanie Tuck recalls the life-altering moment as something fueled by one thing, “I let my ears lead me.”

Flashback to 2016: Here, Tuck was simply taking a stroll down Beacon’s Main Street, near the Howland Cultural Center. Someone who is attracted to beats, Tuck was allured by the distinct sound of a drum circle across the street; it wasn’t long before her piqued curiosity led her to join in on the rhythmic fun. Her talents and passion for creating drumming beats one year later would result in her taking on an Assistant Facilitator role for the Drum Circle; a year later she moved up to Head facilitator, something she now dubs her life purpose.

“The best part of being a Facilitator is watching people of all ages, backgrounds and levels come together as one,” explained Tuck on a gorgeous evening. “It’s a heart beat that forms music and is a beautiful thing.”

That creative, musical, improvisation community-based Beacon Drum Circle, which delivers traditional as well as pop and rock- “free form” genres and is led for the fifth year by the inspiring Tuck, has once again returned to its “mythical” location: Beacon’s Long Dock Park on Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 this summer-early fall. The tight knit contingent, which includes 10-13 regulars, attracts drummers from all over the east coast. The vibe is catchy, upbeat and above all else: Open to all.

A large crowd enjoyed the weekly Beacon Drum Circle Thursday entertainment at Long Dock amid a gorgeous summer evening.
A large crowd enjoyed the weekly Beacon Drum Circle Thursday entertainment at Long Dock amid a gorgeous summer evening.

“We don’t have any lines- town, city, gender, ethnic, religion, sex orientation, anything,” said Tuck, who also drums with the Beacon Senior Citizens Group at the Beacon Community Center twice a month. “We welcome anyone at all into our Circle with open arms.”

The ever-evolving and growing group has opened their reach up to an impressive 50 plus member playing session. It’s also implemented some unique additions, including putting women drummers at the physical front of the circle, an intentional, needed move by Tuck.
“Women are so overlooked and underestimated in our society,” said Tuck about the purposeful drummer arrangement idea. “I really want to show their strengths, empower them as much as I can.”

Another authentic twist Tuck has added is the special flare of merging drum facilitators- such as regular, veteran, Kevin R. Johnson, who oversees the Woodstock Circle- from all over the East Coast at the weekly drum circles. Carrying the distinction of being the only drum circle of its kind to perform on the Hudson River with facilitators hailing from such states as; New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and others, the Beacon Group has extended its breadth on multiple levels since Tuck’s lead tenure.

“If you get a lot of people who play together, you are going to create some good music, what’s happening here,” said one of those visiting-from New Jersey- Lead Facilitators, Tommy Purple Haze, who runs the Drums from Heaven Charity and has been involved with drum circles for over 30 years. “The views here are just really amazing, and you can really hear those African drumming roots coming alive here.”

Those magical-mystical views could be appreciated in their full bloom Thursday, as a spectacular, sunny, humid-free evening, sprinkled with just the right amount of a breeze enveloped the sparkling waves of the Hudson River. Kayakers, paddle boarders and others dotting the River’s dock could be seen imbibing the uplifting vibrations reverberating from the joyous Circle, just over by the Kayak dock. Here, other groupings of guests, some relaxing on lawn chairs with refreshments, others on blankets, and still others walking by and moving to the beat, completed the priceless summer scene. All the while, right in the center of the circle a tall, lean woman, clad in a snow white summer dress, could be detected, swaying to the beat, interacting with each person she encountered, assisting with the drumming unison, eyes closed, heart open and just so appreciative for what was unfolding in front of her.

“My vision for this group is to really have the community come together, exchange pleasantries, drum together, introduce other facilitators, and continue to broaden it by really getting it out there to the public without any boundaries of travel,” said Tuck, whose Circle is also scheduled to perform for the third year at the Beacon Bonfire Music and Art Festival on November 4 and 5 this year. “The things people have done for me throughout my life to get me here-to this point have been incredible, and now, all I want to do is give back to others-my community; it’s just such a blessing.”

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