According to Connie, Ubaka taught her that learning to drum gives people a powerful voice to express to the world. Connie remains inspired by this teacher’s belief that if we could learn cooperation, we would be amazed at what we could accomplish together. Ubaka says, “If the drum is a woman, do not beat your drum, help her find her voice.”
Connie had never done drumming before, but after that weekend, she not only found her voice but also heard the call to help other women find theirs.
Connie started with other UUs as they founded a women’s drumming group in Norfolk. The core group often performed on stage at local events, but Connie realized the value of drumming for non-performers, as well. She learned the power of drumming with women as a way to promote healing from past struggles, abuses and illnesses.
Connie started a Women’s Drumming Circle at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula (UUFP) that meets every month. It is open to those who identify as women, of all ages, and all religious backgrounds.
A former minister at UUFP held a course on Native American Spirituality—that curriculum and her connection to Earthrising (UUFP’s CUUPS group) added to her experiences in her UU faith.
“One of the most UU experiences I ever had was participating in several yearly Peace Vigils at the foot of the Washington Monument in D.C. Each weekend was filled with songs and music and round-the-clock ceremony with folks from the world’s religions.” She signed up to drum to keep the sacred fire going all night long. Being able to speak up for peace in the Nation’s capital and bring water to the Elders were very meaningful ways to walk her faith.
As a child, Connie had polio and spent two long stints hospitalized. Knowing firsthand how powerless patients can feel, she decided to create her own business that brings drums to residents in care facilities. She watches as the simple act of drumming makes them feel empowered. Through her work with the Living Interfaith Network (LINK) LINK of Hampton Roads, she has also drummed with people without homes, people who suffer from mental illnesses, and people going through 12-step programs. Leading rhythms and chants gives people from all different places and stages in life a chance to find their voice again.